Some Do’s and Don’ts for White People Who Want to Discuss Racism at Work
This should be required reading for all workplace ‘allies’
As many of us prepare to go back to work, physically or remotely (and for those who already have), the day may already be feeling incredibly exhausting and traumatizing before it has even really begun.
For Black people, we can turn off social media for a few days, but we often can’t turn off work. We are preparing to be re-burdened at work in an unnecessary way. And for White people and people of color, the need to say something is real. But it’s important that it is approached in a way that isn’t burdensome, traumatizing, or re-triggering.
I wanted to share a quick guide of do’s and don’ts and ideas on how to approach every day at work during this time. As a reminder before you read:
I do not speak for all Black people. I am speaking from personal reflection and observation. Please continue to invest and support those who have been carrying the burden of this work on their shoulders. And yes, entrepreneurs, coaches, fitness leaders: These same tips are applicable for you, too.
DO: Be mindful of opening up meetings and interactions with questions like “How are you?” or “How was your weekend?”
Recognize that by doing so, you can potentially be re-triggering what your Black colleagues are experiencing or dismissing their experience by pretending all is normal. It’s not and hasn’t been for a long time.
DO: Acknowledge what is happening and share your empathy.
This is an important one because to fail to acknowledge what is happening sends a message that it does not matter nor do Black people’s emotions matter. There are too many organizations that are not planning to say anything. Do not let that be yours.
DO: Ask Black colleagues if they would like to make space to discuss first before making space.
In organization-wide meetings, team meetings, and even individual conversations, once you’ve acknowledged…