Top 10 Anti-racist action to take in the Office - NewBalancejobs
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Top 10 Anti-racist action to take in the Office

  Words have power, but actions tell the true story and so do anti racist action.  The rising racial justice movement has made companies across the United States and Canada take a public stand against racism, but how many will support these statements with concrete action?

  Even well-intentioned companies face centuries-old systematic hurdles, and interactive solutions require resources that favor large, well-funded, often white-majority companies.  But the inclusive economy that certified B companies seek to create will not become a reality without taking concrete steps to address the fundamental inequity, injustice and violence that disproportionately affects people of color.

  As with all organizational imperatives, the fight to end systemic racism must be led from above and informed by your employees, especially women of color who have been historically and systematically marginalized.  But as you do this work, realize that the systemic racism we are grappling with now in our national dialogue is not new.


Top 10 anti racist action to take in the Office

1.    Be prepared to report overt or unlawful discrimination

  Admittedly, this step is difficult.  Who enjoys dealing with conflict?  But if you want to be an ally of your fellow classmates of color, this is crucial.

  The Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits outright racial discrimination in the workplace.  And in most cases, an anti racist action you should take is report anything really racist or biased (like the hiring manager overriding a candidate because he’s specifically black or someone who uses slanders about people of color) to your HR department, if your company has one.  You can also help by acting as a witness if someone else makes a complaint, to repeat what happened.  Either way, you may want to talk to someone with a legal background about what you have seen or experienced to understand the possible paths of work and what the process might look like.

2.    Educate employees on exactly how to report unlawful discrimination

   Racial discrimination is prohibited at work thanks to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This does not mean that it does not exist, which is why it is important for the company to explain to its employees exactly how they report acts of discrimination they face or witness at work.  This usually starts with making sure that there is a clear channel for human resources, but also an effective system of checks and balances.  (Depending on the severity, keep in mind that you may want to hire an outside attorney before reporting an accident to protect yourself.)

3.    Call out Micro aggressions

  Then there are the more common subtle assaults, which are “brief insults, whether intentional or unintended, that convey race, gender, sexual orientation, religious insults, or hostile, insulting or negative insults to the person or target group.”  They are, for example, comments like, “You talk so good about a black guy,” or see above about fried chicken.

  These aren’t instances of, necessarily, of getting someone fired, eliminated, and shot with a cannon, but over time these little acts add up to create a terrible work environment for your fellow-people of color.  In a Deloitte 2019 survey of employees at large companies, 64% said they experienced work bias in the previous year – 83% of those people said the bias was subtle, versus 32% who said it was blatant or obvious.  When you consider that these subtle behaviors are the most insidious and can be the least harmful – and hurt employee morale and retention – there’s a lot of room for change. This is where anti racist action comes in to save the day.

4.    Join a diversity committee. 

  If you’ve been struggling to get out of your comfort zone, this is an easy way to take action.  It doesn’t take much effort to join the diversity committee in your workplace, but it does send a signal to those around you that you have a certain level of compassion and attention.  Participating in a diversity committee does not only create opportunities to meet new people;  It also provides an opportunity to learn a lot and start seeing the issues from a different perspective.

5.    Encourage objective selection processes

  Subjectivity is often the death knell for people of color.  Often times when selection processes or other decisions are made without clear objective criteria, people of color end up having the short end of the stick.  In fact, unconscious bias often encourages decision-makers to favor one candidate over another.  Reducing unconscious bias by insisting on blind review processes and clearly defined objective criteria that are confirmed before options are presented.

6.    Speak out

  Subtle assaults and disparities are pervasive in the workplace, and it is very important for whites to speak up when they happen.  The simple truth is that most companies have little to no institutional class system, and when those in positions of power remain silent, the changes are minor.  So when you see something, say something.  Don Lemon has been widely praised on social media for using his platform to invite celebrities who have contacted him privately in the wake of these racist-laden events but apparently took no action or expressed their anger publicly, and he is right.

7.    Summon diverse workers with grievances, and summon those who create toxic work environments.

  Full participation, specifically from black workers and other workers of color, is critical to understanding the levels – and spectrum – of racism, subtle and toxic violence that employees may encounter on a daily basis.

  In newsrooms across the country, journalists of color often face cultural incompetence and micro-assaults, as white managers act as guardians of decision-making and fail to understand the importance of ideas, stories, and services that speak to black and brown communities.


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