There are many people who think that a topic like racism only exists today in history books and in the painful memories of those who experience it frequently.
Since the Nazi holocaust, the Kukuxklan, and the apartheid of Mandela’s land, racism has been social cancer that has sicked mentally a large part of the population and that sadly continues to do so.
George Floy’s death on May 25, 2020 in the neighborhood of Powderhorn, in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, as a result of his arrest by four local police officers, was only the trigger that revealed the inequities that continue to be day-to-day in North American society, where ethnic prejudices continue to promote gaps in different areas.
For these reasons, in this blog I want to call on all business leaders to be pioneers in putting into motion a real change that promotes the detachment of beliefs that perpetuate power structures that lack empathy and respect for what the “other represents”.
Racism, according to the Oxford dictionary, is the exacerbation of the racial meaning of an ethnic group that usually motivates discrimination or persecution of another or others with whom it lives, and that usually causes discrimination or persecution against other ethnic groups.
In a Harvard Business Review article titled: How to Promote Racial Equity in the Workplace? The fact is mentioned that many whites deny the existence of racism against people of color because they assume that racism is defined by deliberate actions motivated by malice and hatred.
Nevertheless, racism is so ingrained, it occurs without conscience or intention, the issue of racism and discriminatory practices in the workplace can be addressed in a more effective way than is believed. In effect, the companies are autonomous social organizations, they are the ideal setting for their directors to establish, control and put racial equity into practice.
For this reason, we suggest 5 stages or ideas recommended by Harvard Business Review for you to put into practice with your company and that will allow you to be successful in your business relationships and decide to start a construction path in favor of inclusion and building work teams more efficient supported by the differences of all their employees and say bye, bye racism!
1. Awareness of the problem: Leaders and their work teams must accept racism as a serious problem that can deteriorate the company from its core and avoid any practice that alludes to it, at all costs. This implies preparing to receive the fury of those who for perhaps years have been discriminated against, and from there, take the next step, which is to start building together.
On the other hand, the North American portal NPR says that companies in the United States lose around 16 trillion dollars annually, yes 16 Trillion dollars, a monumental figure!
So, the second step is to put everyone on the same page about what reality is and why it is a problem for the organization. To think that we are all the same or that “we do not see color”, is to turn our back on a reality that is present in our day-to-day lives and that attitude does not solve the problem.
2. Identify the root cause: Racism can have many psychological sources: cognitive biases, personality characteristics, ideological worldviews, psychological insecurity, perceived threat or the need to empower and improve the ego or simply the belief of superiority in itself. Most racism is the result of structural factors: established laws, institutional practices, and cultural norms. Taking the time and doing the exercise of identifying within your company what promotes the repetition of these schemes will allow them to be adequately managed within the business structure, without those involved feeling singled out by them and will help to relieve tensions as people seek solutions and through mutual agreements find paths that unify them around the goals of the company.
3. Empathy or level of concern for the problem and the people who afflict it: There are at least four ways to respond to racism: join in and compound the hurt, ignore it and take care of your own business, experience sympathy and bake cookies for the victim, or experiences empathic outrage and takes steps to promote equal justice. We invite you to “take the bull by the horns”, identify the causes and support the transformation process at the hands of those who are being discriminated.
4. Strategies to address the problem: Give yourself the opportunity to discover the real barrier to diversity is not to find out “What can we do?” but rather “Are we willing to do it?” it is a crucial decision. Unquestionably, actionable strategies for change address three distinct but interconnected and necessary categories that must be applied: personal attitudes, informal cultural norms, and formal institutional policies.
5. Invest the time, energy and resources necessary for the implementation of the strategy: Big changes are the results of constant efforts, sharing and developing ideas, sacrifices and investment of time. Do not let this last factor stop you, because if your objective is the progress of your company and your employees, looking for the right space won’t be an obstacle.
Let’s keep in touch and let me design a much more personalized strategy where you feel an important part of its development, contributing with your ideas and sharing life experiences that can trigger necessary and surprising changes, visit me at: https: //rociolifecoach.com/contact or on my YouTube channel and be part of the change.