In part two of her blog around diversity, Fiona Clarke, a Charity Fast-Track graduate, covers the practical things you can be doing to promote anti-racism in your workplace.
Just take a note of how many People of Colour (POC) are on your leadership team. How many POC are trustees, managers and employees? Start noticing these things that you have perhaps never clocked before.
Catch your assumptions
Check your unconscious bias by noticing what you are assuming about people based on their race. Did that person act in a way you did not expect? Did you assume that the person was not in the position they’re in? Were you surprised by how the person spoke? Now spend some time thinking about the root of that assumption and consider all the ways logically you know it isn’t true.
Get the terms right
Try your best to always learn the words that people identify as and would like to be described as. Understand that different cultures and countries are different, and there’s not one homogeneous black/brown/Asian/Muslim culture.
Start talking to colleagues about race issues
This will improve your racial stress tolerance level – us white people are so bad at talking about race, we get uncomfortable at even the slightest mention of it. Start talking to friends and colleagues about issues to do with race. Discuss things you have read on the news i.e ‘Did you see that only 8% of charity trustees are POC?’. Slowly you will build up your tolerance level and be able to have real conversations, holding yourself and your colleagues accountable to these problems in your own charity.
Ensure people of colour get credit for their ideas
Often POC’s ideas have been ignored. Use your voice to ensure their ideas are heard and that credit for work and ideas goes to the right people. (Make sure yourself and others are using your voice to amplify the voice of POC).
Combat white saviourism
How are images being used in your organisation? If your organisation is working with POC as beneficiaries, how are they portrayed? Are they shown as empowered individuals? Or are white people centred as helping helpless POC?
Influence your hiring process
What measures are in place in your organisation to ensure you are hiring diverse talent? Could job ads be edited to ensure there is no implicit racial coding, or names and identifying features be omitted from CVs? Have you considered hiring in groups? When hiring individually, employers are often looking for conformity (whether they know it or not), but when hiring in groups, employers are looking for people to complement each other. As a result, they hire more diverse workforces.
Assess the issue in your charity
Ask your employer to carry out anonymous yearly surveys to assess how POC and other marginalised groups experience working for your charity. You can’t measure progress without knowing where you are starting.
Talk about pay
Yes I know it’s an awkward topic, but it’s an important one. BAME employees are losing out on £3.2bn per year in the UK. Discuss your pay with different people and speak to your employer if you find differences between the pay grades of people doing the same job.
Suggest an anti-racism book group
See who would be interested and start a monthly book group. I would recommend starting with White Fragility by Robin Diangelo (She is white, but an expert in whiteness & white fragility). She also has a comprehensive book group discussion guide to help you through. Then move onto Why I am No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge.
Combat white saviourism some more
If you work in developing countries and you use volunteers, how are volunteers used? Are the volunteers qualified for the work they are doing, and actually adding value to the project? Do they understand the local community and act with respect? Is the volunteer or the beneficiaries at the centre of the project work? Could a local person be doing just as well/ better?
Ask at interview
A good way to let potential employers know that this is high on the priority of excellent candidates (you!) is to ask them what steps they are taking to improve diversity and promote anti-racism in their organisation.
Feedback to employers
Whenever you are asked your opinion on the work environment (some employers send surveys, some schedule monthly/quarterly chats), use this as an opportunity to promote anti-racism. Do they have a policy in place? A strategy and measurable goals? Is there any training?
It is so important that POC entering the industry see POC in positions of power. Encourage diversity at every level of your charity, from trustees and the board of directors to new interns. Plus diverse teams make better decisions!
When your organisation is hiring or has a conference/ training and getting outside voices in, suggest POC and different voices that would not usually be heard in your setting.
70% of charities have an equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policy, but only 13% have targets in place to measure whether they are achieving anything. Charities with an EDI policy are 3.5 times more likely to require their employees to complete training on the topic.
Let me know what other steps we can take to be anti-racism in the charity sector and in our lives!
To read part 1 of this blog, click here:
Cropped image via Creative Commons and Picpedia.org