It’s no secret that we are currently in the middle of a race war. A war that Black people have continuously fought for several years, decades and generations. A war where equality and justice seems to be unfamiliar when referencing Black people. A war that takes place every single day: in schools, in libraries, in restaurants, in parks, and in the workplace.
Black Americans continuously deal with the traumatizing acts of the injustices of racism throughout the country, and it has continuously caused outrage, uproar and emotional and mental tolls on them, and sadly—this is still nothing new. So now, more than ever, as an ally to Black people in the workplace, how are you being a stronger ally to your Black coworkers? Here are six ways you can be a stronger ally to your Black coworkers as you stand in support of the Black community.
6 Ways You Can be a Stronger Ally to Your Black Coworkers
Understand that you are privileged
The first step into becoming a stronger ally to your Black coworkers is to recognize and accept that you are in fact privileged. What does it mean to be privileged? It means that because of the color of your skin, you don’t have to work nearly as hard as your Black coworker to prove that you are capable of successfully completing your job.
Being able to understand your privilege as a white person in the workplace (and America) is so critical in understanding how racism can have such a huge impact on the trajectory of a Black person’s life. The sooner you recognize that you are privileged, the sooner you will be able to practice being a stronger ally to your Black coworkers.
Educate yourself and your circle on racial injustices
Once you’ve recognized your privilege as a White coworker in the workplace, it’s important that you begin to educate yourself and your circle on all of the things you will need to learn and unlearn about racial injustices in order to be a better ally. What does this mean? Well, if there’s one thing you can do, you can never know too much about the racial injustices Black people experience every single day simply for the color of their skin.
Find out why Black people have to work 10x harder than their White coworkers, find out why Black people are labeled as angry when they speak up for themselves, find out why there aren’t a lot of Black people in leadership roles in your company. These are all things you should educate yourself on in order to become a stronger ally to your Black coworkers.
Actively Speak up and Speak out
So now what? You’ve recognized your privilege, you’ve educated yourself now it’s time for you to speak up and speak out. During these times where many of your Black coworkers are protesting, checking in with them, and standing side-by-side with them in these protests to show that you genuinely care and are aware about what’s going on to do your part in making a difference is important.
There are several companies that have taken the time to acknowledge the racial injustices inflicted on Black people, and then there are those that have turned the cheek and haven’t thought twice about sending out any form of acknowledgement—don’t be those people. Learn how to speak up and speak out for your Black coworkers, even if you don’t feel like it’s the “right thing to say” there isn’t truly a right thing to say in these situations because everyone is handling it differently. Simply do your part to be there for your Black coworkers.
Hire Black professionals
How many times have you truly stopped and realized there you don’t work with many Black people? Whether it’s in regular roles or leadership roles, you just don’t see them as often as you do your White coworkers. If you’re leading a company that doesn’t have the act of hiring and promoting black workers as a priority for them, then they aren’t doing their part.
Very few qualified Black professionals hold leadership, management and executive roles in Corporate America, and whether you choose to believe it or not—it’s solely due to the color of their skin. As a white ally, doing your part to hire and promote qualified Black professionals is an absolute must.
Understanding that no message is also a message
During these times, silence can be one of the most deafening acts. If you aren’t doing your part to adhere to the environment around you by simply reading the room, then that too is a message. It’s so important that non-black coworkers are vocal and expressive about the things they are witnessing on bias, racism and injustice in the workplace and world.
For example, if you are in a situation where an insensitive comment is made towards a Black coworker, turning a blind eye should not be what you resort to. Addressing these issues instead of being silent on the matter is the most important thing to do because whether you realize it or not, the role of an ally is truly all about speaking up when others are unable to or aren’t being listened to.
Challenge your own stereotypical thoughts
Learning how to be a stronger ally to your Black coworkers starts with your thoughts. Change your thoughts and challenge yourself to create your own perspective of your Black coworkers, and not those stereotypical ones passed down from your family or friends.
Being a stronger ally to your Black coworkers begins with you. It begins with you recognizing your privilege, educating yourself, speaking up and not being silent during this time. Let us know some ways you are being proactive in being a stronger ally to your Black coworkers in the comments below.