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.
Are you ready to explore executing a DEI strategic plan to meet your business goals?