written by
Michele Heyward

Are You An Anti-Racist Company?

Anti-racism 3 min read

Many companies in the United States have promoted diversity, equity, and inclusion over the years. Considering the events of 2020, now more than ever, organizations have explicitly started to be vocal about their anti-racist policies. But that does not mean that every company which claims that its policies are anti-racist, actually is.

The case of being anti-racist or not isn’t obvious all the time. In most cases, it is either manifested through stringent policies or norms, routines, and bias against the various employees of color, especially black employees. Leaders and C-suite Executives have to take critical assessments to ensure there is no systemic racism in their workplace.

So, the big question is – how do I know if my company culture is anti-racist or not? Answer the questions below, and you will know!

Do You Own Up To Systemic Racism?

The simple yet the most profound question of all. Do you talk about racial inequality in the workplace in a hush-hush tone or are you loud & clear about it? Do you own up that diversity and inclusion in your company were at an alarming level the past years? If yes, know that you are on your way to becoming an anti-racist company. These questions and conversations are important if you wish to see your company culture.

Leaders should know and acknowledge if there is any inequity in their organization. Own it. Numbers speak volumes, so your company data can prove otherwise if you are not accepting reality. Call out your executives and managers if there are bias and discrimination within the workplace. It is a strength and not a weakness to accept that there is systemic racism within your company. Black people and other people of color know that this is a history worth centuries old and will not hold you accountable if you accept it and do your best to bring change. They will hold you accountable when you deny it even when the data says otherwise.

Do You Know What Being Anti-Racist In Workplace Means?

Are you aware of the difference between not being racist and anti-racist? The most important step toward becoming an anti-racist company is knowing what being anti-racist in the workplace means. It is not discriminating against your employees of color. It is being conscious of your bias against others. It is making an effort to gauge the diversity, equity, and inclusion rate of your company and working to make the changes in them. It is accepting the retention rate and employee engagement of your black employees are drastically different. It is acknowledging that you and your employees never actively partake in hiring black people and other people of color as per their qualification and experience. It is about not letting white men & women decide if they should be superior.

Finally, it is analyzing who in the company is making decisions? It is inspecting your policies and procedures to see if they are diversity-friendly or not. This is a good place to start. If you can answer these questions, know that you are trying to become an anti-racist company. Otherwise, unfortunately, all your efforts are more show than go!

Are You Trying To Train Your Employees In Anti-racism?

The decades of ingrained history of bias and discrimination won’t go away easily. But you have to make efforts to ensure that you are doing your best to get rid of them. Are you trying to train yourself, your C-suite, managers, and employees in workplace racism and anti-racism strategies? You must now move beyond the awareness of the issue. Long gone are the days when we talked about making people aware of racism. Everyone is aware of it already. Now is the time to act against it.

If your organization hosts a diversity program, a workshop on identifying bias, recruiting & retaining diverse employees, and equity trainings, etc. then you can accept that you are trying to be an anti-racist company. You are not going to fix bias or discrimination in workshops or trainings worth a few hours. But you are going to plant seeds, which will grow into trees bearing fruits. More importantly, are you making a conscious effort to become anti-racist as a leader? It’s imperative you study, obtain training, and practice anti-racism. Build these events on measurable outcomes, so everyone can be held accountable. This way, you will be able to not only get results but make data-informed decisions moving forward.

“Now that you know what it entails to initially start on the path of anti-racism, can you answer the question? Are you an anti-racist company?”
Diversity and Inclusion Workplace DEI Inclusive