An ‘anti-racism checklist’ for Black History Month and Beyond By Charlotte F. Hughes

Employee turnover due to racial inequity in the workplace has cost U.S. organizations up to $172 billion over the past five years, according to new research by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). A new report, The Cost of Racial Injustice, found one-third of Black employees faced unfair treatment at work based on race and ethnicity in 2021-2022, and over 2 in 5 Black workers say they have experienced this in the past five years.

In the workplace, as we conclude Black History Month, anti-racism shouldn’t be a once-a-year focus; it must form part of a long-term strategy to show up for Black colleagues as an ally and advocate in dismantling racism as well as acknowledging Black history itself.

Furthermore, employees who aren’t Black should re-examine their behaviors to see if they are unknowingly perpetuating discrimination against their Black teammates at work.

The checklist below comes from Madison Butler’s bi-weekly newsletter, Unicorn Nuggets, Madison is a fellow DEI practitioner that I follow and respect who regularly offers readers advice on how to dismantle white supremacy:

Things you can do to celebrate Black History Month (and really mean it):

  • Learn to pronounce our names
  • Stop telling us you don’t see color. That in itself is racism
  • Recognize that Queer history is Black history. Watch Paris is Burning
  • Hire Black speakers
  • Research the actual history of our oppressors and colonialism
  • Talk to your kids about anti-racism
  • Have that hard conversation with your relative/partner/friend about why their racism will no longer be tolerated
  • Be self-aware enough to know when your language is harmful. Microaggressions such as telling us we are “articulate”, or saying we’re “aggressive” stem from stereotypes rooted in racism
  • Support Black authors, businesses, creators, and educators
  • Believe our experiences
  • Listen to and read content from Black creators who you haven’t interacted with before
  • Black history month is not a means to ease your conscience. This is not the time to boost your brand, boost your ego or your PR
  • Celebrate all Black people, not just the ones who make you comfortable
  • Be comfortable, or let yourself be uncomfortable, when black men and women take up space
  • CHECK YOUR BIASES. We are not put here to make you comfortable. Only you can cope with your discomfort
  • Be actively anti-racist in all facets of your life- even when it means unlearning the things that have felt comfortable for your entire life
  • Be more than an ally, be an advocate
  • Do this 365 days a year

Challenge yourself to not only commit to dismantling oppressive systems but acknowledge you also uphold them.

Become mindful, curious, and informed.


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