7 Articles to Send to Your HR Department
There's no excuse. We all have to do more to confront racism at a systemic level.
When you try to step back and see the whole of systemic racism in every part of life, as many of us have been doing lately, it can feel insurmountable. Step one is to educate yourself. But step two is mostly about keeping the momentum in a way that is sustainable for you and your own mental health. For my own part, I've been working my way through Rachel Cargle's #DoTheWork 30day Course (that link also includes countless other resources).
Today part of my work is taking some of the undue burden of educating white people off of Black people. Because that's the last thing they should have to do.
I've collected, with the help of many recommendations, this list of articles we need to read. As the title suggests, these are also a great resource if you want to just set up an automatic series of emails to send one per week to your HR department and CEO. Fifteen minutes of work today and you'll be set to keep doing the work for months.
Is Your Company Actually Fighting Racism, or Just Talking About It? by Kira Hudson Banks and Richard Harvey
"We have spent the past week listening to Black employees within several different companies. A common theme that emerged from these conversations was the disconnect between a company’s statement or commitment of resources externally and the daily employee experience. This disconnect is not new, but the awareness of its depth is novel for some."
How to Begin Talking About Race in the Workplace by Stephanie Creary
"Many managers feel ill-equipped to offer sage advice on ‘what to do’ when it comes to diversity and inclusion (D&I) in their organizations. As a result, D&I initiatives often never make it past the C-suite. Thus, below I have adapted the RACE framework for use by middle managers in corporate environments who would like to begin talking about race in the workplace."
Getting Over Your Fear of Talking About Diversity by Daisy Auger-Dominguez
"It is critical that leaders not put this work on employees of color but rather be visible doing this work themselves. When they don’t, they lose their teams’ trust and belief in their willingness to lead fairly — and they also set a poor example."
How Organizations Can Support the Mental Health of Black Employees by Angela Neal-Barnett
"Provide Black employees with that safe place and bring in a skilled expert in racial trauma to help them process what they are experiencing and feeling. Senior management may have mixed feelings about creating a separate space, as doing so is not inclusive. When faced with this argument, it is important to underscore that the issue is not inclusion, but racial trauma. The time will come when you can bring all employees together to talk about racism, but now is not that time."
Why We're Too Afraid to Report Racism to HR by Binna Kandola
"We need to change the culture that allows racism and the fear of tackling it to exist. We must create psychologically-safe working environments; where people feel that they can challenge racist behaviour without the risk of repercussions, particularly those from an ethnic minority background. HR representatives and senior leaders must be clear and outspoken in their opposition to racism, setting an example that shows staff they will be supported if they speak out."
How to Reduce Personal Bias When Hiring by Ruchika Tulshyan
"Affinity bias— having a more favorable opinion of someone like us — is one of the most common. In hiring this often means referring or selecting a candidate who shares our same race or gender, or who went to the same school, speaks the same language, or reminds us of our younger selves."
Why Diversity Programs Fail by Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev
"Firms have long relied on diversity training to reduce bias on the job, hiring tests and performance ratings to limit it in recruitment and promotions, and grievance systems to give employees a way to challenge managers. Those tools are designed to preempt lawsuits by policing managers’ thoughts and actions. Yet laboratory studies show that this kind of force-feeding can activate bias rather than stamp it out."
Finally, if you want to kick-off your email campaign to HR with a real bang, I'd highly recommend this template Rachel Cargle developed for holding your employer accountable for racial justice.
Doing the long-term work to fight systemic racism is not going to be easy. It's not going to be a blackout Instagram post. It's not going to be any simple action. This is going to be a long slog through deeply ingrained systems and behaviors. So I want to end with a reminder that you're allowed to take breaks and you're allowed to unplug. When you've refueled, restart the fight.