Steps To Creating Racial Unity in the Organization
As the issue of racial divisiveness takes center stage in our discourse in private and public conversations, the fact that we cannot dodge is that racial and ethnic diversity in this country is growing exponentially, no matter where we live. It is predicted that in the next 25 years that the minority populations that make up about 40% of the overall population will become the majority by 2050. That being said, organizations will need to go beyond acknowledging that they have diversity, and be proactive in ensuring that diverse groups of employees are treated equitably and given the same opportunities to excel as their white counterparts. While this sounds doable, it is very hard to achieve because there is no easy solution or silver bullet to creating racial unity in a vacuum primarily because ethnic divisions have existed in this country for over three centuries. So how do we move forward in building a bridge of unity and trust between racial groups that have harbored a sense of distrust between each other? I believe that in order to take major steps to achieve something, a better approach is to take baby steps toward this ideal of pulling down barriers that exist in our hearts and minds.
What I have come to realize is that in order for us to gain more trust between others of another race, we have to examine carefully our beliefs and find out what are our implicit biases from the small to the large. What is an implicit bias? It is a belief that we learned or was instilled with at a young impressionable age about another racial group that is not based on fact, but we have accepted as fact because of what we believed to be true because it came from our parents, friends, and society. One of the things I highly recommend is for executive leaders to take an Implicit Bias survey – which can be used to evaluate what biases people have against others of another race or ethnicity. After taking this survey, the information can be used to discern what people think of others and then through careful reflection, steps can be taken by the user to strip away harmful beliefs that can be viewed as discriminatory and racially motivated. Normally, when people harbor implicit biases against another ethnic group, verbal statements can take the form or microaggressions, harmful comments that are threatening and traumatizing to the listener. While microaggessions can be viewed as racially disparaging messages coming from white co-workers, implicit bias itself is a universal phenomena that applies to everyone. If companies want to establish racial unity among their employees, a good place to start is using implicit bias surveys to get people thinking about their beliefs towards people who are different from them. One online resource is the Harvard Implicit Bias Association Test. More to follow on this topic.