The horrific events in recent weeks in which George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery were senselessly murdered in cold-blooded fashion have led to activist protests worldwide. They’ve also sparked conversations about racism and prejudice, which remain rampant today.
In the workplace, conversations are being focused on diversity and inclusion, and how more can be done to support marginalized groups, including people of all races and backgrounds. Many white people and non-black people of color are seeking to grow and become a better ally to black friends and colleagues.
Here are a 4 ways we can do that:
1. Acknowledge and Understand Your Privilege
If you are a white person, it is important to recognize how you have benefited from a systemically racist society. Here are just a few recent statistics outlining white privilege:
- Black men are given prison sentences that are an average of 20% longer than white men found guilty of the same crime. – Demographic Differences in Sentencing
- Police are twice as likely to use or threaten physical force against a black or Hispanic person than a white person – Bureau of Justice Statistics
- White Job applicants receive 36% more callbacks for positions than equally qualified black applicants – Northwestern University, Harvard, & institute for Social Research, Norway
- In 2016, the median wealth of a white family was 10X that of a black family – McKinsey & Company
Part of this means having uncomfortable conversations with other white people to also educate them and help them in recognizing privilege they are oblivious to. Understand that to be silent is to be complicit. Non-black colleagues also need to speak up when they witness bias and racism in their workplace. There needs to be zero tolerance.
2. Educate Yourself
It is not the duty of your black friends or colleagues to educate you on racism and white privilege. Do the work yourself to be a better advocate. Seek out educational literature and resources. Also, put aside defensive barriers and accept there are things you have thought, done, or been complicit in which have contributed to racism. Being a good advocate doesn’t happen over night. As you gather new information, it’s okay to change your stance or admit you were wrong. Personal growth is a good thing, and needed now more than ever.
3. Check In
There is no perfect thing to say to your black colleagues right now, but silence hurts. Show your black coworkers that you are aware of what is going on and you care about it. Recognize this could potentially be a very tough time for them. For leaders, it is important to reach out to your entire team. Show your people that you are aware of the situation and be there to provide support. Just knowing that you’re there is a meaningful step, rather than needing to say the perfect thing as a leader.
4. Hire & Promote Black Professionals
In corporate America, black professionals hold only 3.2% of senior and executive management positions. Less than 1% of Fortune 500 spots belong to black CEOs, none of which are women. There is an apparent opportunity gap in our society. It is up to companies to prioritize hiring and promoting black professionals to work towards bridging this gap.
Original Source – CNBC