Working to End Racism One Step at a Time
In this issueEngage - Volume 12, Issue 1, Fall 2021
Cultural AreasCultural Industries
While many organizations are speaking out and taking actions against racism, others still find it difficult to truly integrate these actions into their workplace.
To work to end racism, it is important to take a systematic approach: understand the issues; be able to identify it when you see it; deepen personal awareness; learn to accept and celebrate cultural differences; and step up to stop racism when it appears.
Racism can be embedded in many different policies, relationships and operations, and may not always be obvious. This is why organizational leaders must be intentional about what they are doing to tackle the issue systematically. Change requires commitment from leaders and engagement of all team members. An article on Harvard Business School’s website, written by Becca Carnhan, recommends some actionable steps to support antiracism within an organization.
Have conversations about anti-racism: Build understanding of what racism is and what it looks like in an organization. Learn more about different cultures and support increased understanding. These conversations should not be a onetime thing. Be consistent. Be intentional. Set up regular meetings to have conversations around antiracism with your team.
Audit your policies: Some organizations’ policies are still reinforcing the marginalization of some groups. Go over your policies, audit and access how the decisions your organization has made years ago could be impacting some of your staff members.
Find ways to hold your organization accountable: Be an antiracist organization in action, not just in words. Include Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) in your organization’s key goals and attach metrics that will define its success.
Set the tone as leaders: It is never going to be easy. You are going to make mistakes.
Ensure you hold yourself accountable and learn from those mistakes.
Building an antiracist organization and creating racial equity is ongoing work. It never really ends. Not every step you take for your organization will be successful. You’ll make mistakes but that’s okay, it’s part of the learning process. Like the Saskatchewan History & Folklore Society, organizations can also engage staff and board in antiracism training – this training is aimed at teaching people and organizations to recognize ways that white privilege and implicit bias are a part of their behaviors and organizations. There are many antiracism training programs available to help individuals and organizations address the changes needed.
The Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan offers resources and workshops designed to help organizations take necessary steps to be part of the change needed to end racism.