Are you currently “contemplating internally” how to address the issue of racial injustice in you company or community? (No, this is not another white woman telling you how to deal with racism.)
As a strategist, and researcher with feminist roots, empowerment and inclusion have been part of my work ever since. There is one, and only one, advice I give to clients who wish to address inequality of any kind in their organisations:
1. If you want to address a group’s situation, include members of said group in your conversation.
While this sounds pretty obvious, you’d be surprised (or not) how many meetings I’ve attended where white men were wondering why there were no female leaders in their organisations, or where white, middle class educators were wondering why they had trouble addressing certain problems in class. If you talk about a group of people and none of you belongs to that group, put more effort in! Reach out. You will not magically make your team more diverse by wishing well, and it may take time. But that shouldn’t stop you from including experts and members of a certain group in your conversation. If you want to tackle racism, start with why your company is all white, not with a community project on educating someone else.
And as we are on it, there is a 1.a) to my only rule:
1.a) Compensate people for contributing to your development.
While your lower level staff may be happy to help simply because you listen, don’t expect people to educate you for free. If you have no budget, go to DuckDuckGo and (do you still say google it when you use another search engine?) look for blogs on the topic. There are tons of free resources out there on EVERYTHING! If you have 10 bucks, buy a book. If you want an expert in their field to come coach you and your team, expect them to charge. Give credits to the people who helped you by naming them. Give them visibility as the experts they are, not so much as members of a disadvantaged group.
Here at Soulskin, we are happy to help you with identifying stakeholders to include, moderating conversations, and consulting you on how your structures and processes can be adapted in order to decrease the risk of unintended discrimination. Because that is what we assume: That you don’t discriminate (whomever) deliberately. If you do, we are not the right consultancy for you.
Natalie Junge, Owner