Given the state of race relations, it’s natural for you to try everything you can to address injustice. If you’re a business leader, you have the capacity to do great good in this area. To help you thoughtfully engage this tough topic in the workplace, here are three ways companies can address racial justice issues.
Listen, Learn, and Elevate Marginalized Voices
Before you do anything, you need to listen and learn from others. People of color who’ve lived with racial injustice for decades can provide great wisdom and perspective that you should absorb first.
Too often, business leaders go straight into fixing the problem without properly comprehending the scope of it. One well-meaning mistake involves “inviting people of color to the (proverbial) table,” which still supposes you own the table, and they don’t. This results from misunderstanding how majority privilege works. That said, it’s avoidable if you immerse yourself in your employees’ experiences and those of other people of color.
Be aware, though, that the people of color you uplift may not want to be talking about this traumatic topic constantly. Show sensitivity as you elevate their voices.
Match Employee Charitable Donations
One practical way companies can address racial justice issues is by providing matching donations to charities that specialize in race-based human rights initiatives. Matching donations is an incredibly effective tool for boosting donation totals and promoting employee involvement. In the end, you can redirect money into the hands of trusted organizations with decades-long histories of advocating for racial justice.
Don’t Ask About Past Convictions on Job Applications
To combat a modern form of racial injustice—the mass incarceration of black and brown individuals for non-violent drug crimes—don’t ask about prior convictions on job applications. While certain sensitive positions may require it, by eliminating these questions, you take a step toward fair hiring practices. This way, you don’t exclude minority applicants who may have been mistreated by the criminal justice system.
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