You’ve been researching how to be an active anti-racist and ally for BIPOC and the anti-racist action to take in the office.
But when it comes to working, it becomes much more complicated, especially if you work somewhere where you don’t always feel comfortable speaking up.
However, your daily acts, whether structural or interpersonal, make a significant effect on the fight against racism.
In this article, you will get some practical actions you can take in the office.
What is Anti-Racist Action?
According to Wikipedia, Anti-Racist Action (ARA) is a decentralized network of militant far-left political cells in the United States and Canada, commonly known as the Anti-Racist Action Network.
The ARA Network, which began in the 1980s, stopped using the name in 2013. The network’s major goal was to use direct action (including political violence) and doxing against rival political organizations on the hard right to discourage them from participating in political activities.
Anti-Racist Action labeled these organizations racist, fascist, or both. Most of ARA’s members were anarchists, with some Trotskyists and Maoists thrown in for good measure.
What Is Anti-Racism?
Anti-racism is the act of actively recognizing and combating racism. Anti-racism aims to combat racism by actively changing policies, practices, and beliefs that support racist ideas and actions.
This act is based on action. It entails taking actions to end racism on an interpersonal, institutional, and structural level. Although anti-racism is not a new notion, the Black Lives Matter movement has served to bring it to the forefront.
Impact of Anti Racism
So, because anti-racism is a proactive process, it has the capacity to affect individuals, communities, and society.
It’s critical to remember that anti-racism isn’t a one-time or infrequent activity. It’s a lifelong commitment to struggling for racial equality and justice for the rest of one’s life.
The following are some of the possible outcomes:
- Reducing barriers to work
- Improving educational experience and attainment
- Reducing racial inequities in the criminal justice system
- Improving interventions for youth who are at risk
- Expanding community resources
- Encouraging social and political participation
- Reducing bullying, hate crimes, and racially motivated violence
- Electing officials who are devoted to anti-racism to public office.
Consequences of Anti Racist Action
Working to understand how race and racism affect people is also part of anti-racism. Racism has been demonstrated to have far-reaching detrimental consequences for people, families, communities, and even societies, according to research.
Anti-racist action has an impact on sectors like healthcare, education, work, and housing that you may not have considered.
For a variety of reasons, anti-racist action has an impact on economic standing. In terms of educational and job opportunities, racialized people face discrimination. Consider the following scenario:
- White families are 13 times wealthier than Black families on average.
- According to a 2016 study, whereas 72 percent of White households own their homes, only 44 percent of Black households and 45 percent of Latino households do.
- Those with a bachelor’s degree in black earn much less than those with a bachelor’s degree in white. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the median income for White workers in 2022 was nearly 23% more than for Black and Latino workers.
When compared to their White colleagues, ethnic minorities are less likely to be offered jobs. Unemployment is twice as common among Black workers as it is among white people.
According to statistics, Black employees are more likely to be underemployed about their educational and skill levels.
Disparities in Incarceration
Statistics reveal that there are considerable differences in how White and non-White defendants are treated by the criminal justice and legal systems.
People from the same ethnic minorities receive longer and harsher penalties. For example, for the same crimes, Black men got over 20% longer sentences than white offenders.
Inequality in Healthcare
For a variety of reasons, racial discrimination has a negative influence on one’s health. Racism has been demonstrated to have negative consequences on physical and mental health in studies.
BIPOC is also less likely to receive proper healthcare, according to studies, due to limited access to healthcare and bad patient experiences.
Anti-racism requires an understanding of these concerns, as well as how institutional racism contributes to such discrepancies.
One explanation for the enormous discrepancies in homeownership is redlining, which is the systematic denial of services.
Financial services, such as loans and insurance, are less likely to be supplied to racial minorities. They’re also less likely to be shown properties for sale that are currently available.
How to Build an Anti-Racist Workplace
The struggle to end systemic racism, like all organizational imperatives, must be led from the top and informed by your employees, particularly women of color, who have been historically and systemically disenfranchised.
However, keep in mind that the systematic racism that we are currently fighting within our national conversation is NOT new.
For years, racism has eroded the lives of Black people, including your Black leaders, coworkers, and staff.
Consider the larger picture: state-sanctioned racialized violence is killing Black people amid a pandemic that is disproportionately affecting Black and Latinx communities.
All of this is the result of systemic racism and sexism, which determine how we treat individuals in our nation.
Now is the time for leaders all over the world to speak up. If you’re not sure what to say, ask your Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lead or outside advocacy groups for help in crafting a message that’s true to you and your company.
1. Don’t let your fear of saying something inappropriate keep you mute.
If you make a mistake, swiftly apologize and reaffirm your commitment to ending racial and gender prejudice.
2. Recognize that silence in Black communities can feel like violence.
Black folks all around the country are pleading with us to acknowledge the harm that has been done to their communities. Nothing is said in response to these acts of brutality.
3. Be humble about where you’re starting from and commit to backing up public statements with action.
If you haven’t already done so, now is the moment to include anti-racism as one of your core principles and to operationalize it by examining all of your policies and decision-making processes through an anti-racist lens.
4. Examine the demographics of your entire workforce.
Access the demographics of your entire workforce, at all levels and across the wage scale.
5. Create explicit goals
Create explicit goals for establishing an anti-racist workplace and assign owners and success metrics so you can track your company’s progress over time.
6. When attempting to comprehend and improve the experience of your Black employees, use an intersectional analysis.
Recognize the overlapping and interconnected systems of discrimination that some of them may encounter as a result of their ethnicity, gender, sexuality, gender identity, ability, and other essential forms of identification, and put their experiences at the heart of this effort.
7. Invest in initiatives that will improve the lives of Black employees and communities.
Invest in structural improvements that will benefit people of color in the long run.
You can, for example, commit to an anti-racism strategic planning process, hire facilitators who specialize in racial justice and racial healing, or create long-term programs to nurture and retain Black talent.
Set aside large funds for training that educate people of all races and genders on how to recognize and respond to racist conduct, including unconscious bias and microaggressions.
Top 12 Anti Racist Action to Take in The Office
Here are 12 practical actions you can take to be an ally to people of color at your job.
1. Begin with some required reading on how white culture manifests itself in the workplace.
Michelle Saahene, co-founder of From Privilege to Progress, a group dedicated to desegregating race conversations, suggests reading Corporate Tribalism:
White Men/White Women and Cultural Diversity at Work draws on two decades of research by authors Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis to help managers and employees recognize the cultural roots of miscommunication across ethnic groups.
What distinguishes this book from others? It’s jam-packed with tried-and-true tactics for dealing with workplace culture conflict through everyday experiences—everything from office gossip to networking and getting ahead.
“Education is the foundation, and when you put in the effort, it will transform you as a person,” Saahene says. (She also emphasizes the need of remembering that these lessons apply outside of the job.)
2. After that, take some time to reflect on your own actions at work.
It’s critical to assess your own involvement in propagating (or benefiting from) your own racial identity or privilege at work before acting externally.
Who are your confidantes and mentors, and why? How do you get along with your black coworkers? Do you fall prey to stereotypes unintentionally?
Names that are spelled incorrectly? BIPOC coworkers at odds with each other?
This effort (and other ways you can look inwardly at your own behaviors) will be informed by the reading and listening you do, but this type of contemplation is vital to pave the road for a brighter future.
It’s also never a bad idea, according to Saahene, to keep track of your work.
She emphasizes the importance of mindfulness. “I recommend keeping a notebook where you write down ways you’ve practiced anti-racism so you can see your efforts on paper.” (Chronicling is also a good method to remind oneself that small efforts don’t go unnoticed.)
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Request Honest Feedback
Whether you work as a barista or a teacher, it’s fine to ask a trusted coworker if they’ve observed any areas where you can improve as a BIPOC coworker. This does not imply walking over to a Black coworker and assigning duties to them.
To start a dialogue, does require asking for honest criticism from a colleague or mentor you routinely go to for advice and assistance at work (regardless of skin color).
(Also, if they respond with, “You?”) ‘You’re doing a good job!’ doesn’t indicate your task is done; instead, look for other individuals and other ways to evaluate yourself.)
4. Demand that your company be open about the number of black and other minority employees.
This goes hand in hand with maintaining an open dialogue about the goal of creating a multi-cultural workplace that will last forever. “Ask your company what they’re doing to combat unconscious racial bias, particularly among recruiters,” Saahene advises.
Are they investing in proper training for all hiring/recruitment managers on staff? Discussing frequent microaggressions regularly? Or assessing recruiting practices and asking a diverse variety of perspectives to join in the discussion?
These steps are critical in convincing employees to adjust their thinking and go all-in for dealing with diversity challenges.
5. Invite in speakers and trainers to speak to employees on a regular basis.
It’s fine if you aren’t the most knowledgeable internal specialist. Seek out people who are and invite them into the workplace regularly to talk to coworkers.
Having trouble deciding where to begin? This may be as simple as searching for Black activists on Instagram and paying them a fee to speak to your staff.
It’s also fine to reach out to white folks who have already done a similar job in their company and may offer advice and resources.
6. Find out how colleagues/employees of color feel in the workplace.
You want to foster open discourse and secure space for your BIPOC employees to express their feelings, possibly through an anonymous poll so that no one feels pressured.
“Ask them whether they feel secure, heard, seen, respected, appreciated, and treated fairly and equally?” “Do you have language in your employee handbook or on your company website that addresses a commitment to genuine inclusion and anti-racism?
Are the company’s CEO and other leaders completing their internal work? This is how a culture transformation happens.”
#7. Make sure your company doesn’t have any ties to organizations that support prison labor by conducting research.
A mass incarceration is a form of structural oppression that disproportionately affects Black men. Prison labor is promoted as a low-cost alternative to international outsourcing, but in reality, inmates are paid a pittance, and safety restrictions are frequently non-existent.
She says, “This is a huge topic that a lot of people are looking at right now.” (You may learn more about it by clicking here.)
Do your investigation and ask the right individuals your inquiries about the company’s engagement. This is a tiny step you can do that will have a big impact.
Also, you can check this: 40 Tech Publications to Read as a Fast Growth Expert
8. Inform employees about how to report illegal discrimination.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate based on race at work.
That isn’t to say it doesn’t happen, which is why a company must make clear to its employees how they can report acts of prejudice they witness or encounter at work.
This usually begins with ensuring a clear line of communication with HR, as well as an effective system of checks and balances.
(Depending on the seriousness of the incident, you may wish to get legal advice before reporting it to protect yourself.)
9. Always be on the lookout for new talent.
Candidates can come from everywhere, and having an open mind about who might be a good fit for the organization may lead to more individuals of color being considered for positions.
The idea is that a large part of hiring is networking—meeting and getting to know more individuals in your sector who don’t look like you.
Whether you’re an entry-level assistant or a CEO, making a concerted effort to grow your network regularly will enlarge the pool of candidates who will come to mind and whom you can refer whenever there’s an opening.
10: Recognize (and Correct) Your Own Microaggressions
If someone accuses you of using a microaggression, pay attention to what they say and resist the need to defend yourself or minimize what you said, as natural as it may seem.
Apologize, but understand that you can’t expect forgiveness. It’s less about your upset feelings and more about changing your conduct for the future.
#11. Amplify Others.
An audio producer and former presenter of the famous Black-women-hosted podcast Another Round (RIP), Meg Cramer documented her allyship as a white woman to serve as a model for others.
Part of it was to pay attention to Black employees and encourage them to speak up, whether internally or externally.
This can be as simple as promoting your Black colleagues’ work on social media, echoing and boosting their ideas in meetings (with credit, of course), or assisting them in meeting with leaders in your company or sector to whom they might not otherwise have access.
12. Recognize that being an ally is a continuous process.
The fact that systemic racism is so pervasive and pervasive is perhaps the most taxing aspect of it. It’ll take a long time to deconstruct because it’s all over the place.
Because this is a marathon, not a sprint, you must prepare accordingly. It entails keeping your mind open to new information and accepting that you will make mistakes from time to time.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to being an ally, which is why determining the best methods to rise to each occasion necessitates a critical eye inner and outward.
Give yourself some grace because no one can be perfect all of the time. As long as you know this, and make a concerted effort to help and understand others, your actions will speak volumes to your Black and brown colleagues.
Reflection and action are required to combat racism. The process involves examining not only your own beliefs and behaviors, but also fighting racism at the interpersonal, institutional, and structural levels.
Being anti-racist means making choices and acting in a way that supports equality.