We, white business owners and colleagues, need to do better. Even if we've been working toward an anti-racist world this whole time, we need to work harder now.
"Racism isn’t just Black people’s problem; it’s everyone’s problem because it erodes the fabric of society. Leaders at every level must use their power, platforms, and resources to help employees and communities overcome these challenges and build a better world for us all."-- Drs. Laura Morgan Roberts and Ella F. Washington
How to be an anti-racist business
Drs. Roberts and Washington shared a detailed playbook in HBR, U.S. Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism, which offers actionable advice for advancing anti-racism. Read and operationalize.
Last year, I made a personal pledge to be a better ally and shortly turned it into a corporate policy. I have since added an obvious omission -- partnering with vendors and suppliers of color. I picked up a few more ideas from the HBR article. What can your enterprise do?
How to deepen your understanding of the Black experience
It's also important to acknowledge how much we don't know about the Black experience, institutional racism, bias and white supremacy in America. I don't care how "woke" you think you are, there is likely more you need to know. Here are some books from my library that I recommend highly. Two of them re YA texts: Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi and Lifting as We Climb: Black Women's Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne. I include them because they're extremely well done, of course, and because after you read them, you can share them with the young people in your life.
Further expand your perspective by following and connecting with Black people via social media. Be deliberate about it. For example, last year I used Twitter and LinkedIn to identify a handful of Black PR professionals working in our practice areas. I reached out explaining that I was diversifying my source list and asking if we could connect. We now have a broader network for sourcing.
I'm not telling you all this for a pat on the back. The things I'm doing shouldn't be considered special or noteworthy. Rather, I'm showing you what's possible even for a small business with a virtual team, even for a solopreneur. Each action has an impact.
Please email me if you want to talk about what we do here, why we do it, or how we can help you be more anti-racist. Now is the time. And share this post or the resources with one or more white colleagues. This is our moment to step up.
Check out our curated collection of anti-racist business and brand resources on Flipboard -- updated regularly.