Fri, 05 Jun 2020
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Another powerful and authentic session on Race Matters led by Dee Jas of colourfull and facilitated by our Co-Founder Jules, who said “I am delighted that the conclusion of our 3 part workshop has resulted in a commitment from our group to align as a cohort.

Bringing HR leaders from Warner Music, The Mission Group, Spark44, Bonnier Books, Depop, Iris, PaceX, Asos, BT Tech as well as individual HR Consultants operating in the creative industry together.  We will continue discussing progress and challenges in relation to Race Matters.

Impact’s commitment to Future Proofing Talent through Diversity remains at our core.  It’s been a pleasure working with Dee to shape a meaningful series that aims to drive positive change within the industry. To quote one of our group “rather than move the needle, we need to dismantle and crush the system”.

Take a moment to read Dee’s latest blog on our session …

We had our final workshop of the series Race Matters today – with a focus on how to reframe success in the context of breaking down institutional racism. Having been planning these workshops in advance, never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d be holding these sessions against the backdrop of #BlackLivesMatter.

As we concluded the series, it was important to recognise and mark the moment we are in. Truth be told, I felt emotional and have been feeling that way since last week, but coming together with a group who are interested and committed in tackling race in the workplace was a positive way to channel that energy.

We looked at an alternative model to inclusion as the ultimate measure of success. I find ‘inclusion’ problematic. Yes, it’s an important component of belonging and acceptance, but it’s become a way to not talk about diversity and equity in the workplace. Inclusion is an easier word, because it doesn’t require us to talk about lack of diversity or inequities when we use it – hard, crunchy issues that are rooted in the difficult stuff.

Inclusion is defined as the ‘action or state of being included within a group or structure’. But what if the structure is wrong?

Measuring Progress

To measure progress in taking down institutional racism, we have to focus on equity – because that is where it shows up. In the disparities at leadership level, employment gaps, pay gaps and particularly career progression – something that is more important to staff who identify as POC in comparison to their White peers (CIPD, 2017).

In practice, explore the workplace experiences of Women of Colour (WOC) and Black women in your workplace. Using an intersectional lens (read more about intersectionality here), we can re-design workplace structures more effectively. Why this group you may ask? There is a wealth of data that demonstrates this group are hit hardest by disadvantage in society and the workplace because of both gender and race. So it makes sense that if you can create equity and inclusion for this group in your workplace, it will have a multiplier effect in removing the most challenging barriers that affect us all: whether we are men, women or non-binary , whether White or POC.

This is the ‘in’ to creating radically different workplaces that achieve equity, which along with diversity and inclusion, creates acceptance and being valued as an equal.

The final thing we touched upon was moving further in having stronger conversations about race. Specifically, the need for leaders to reflect on their identities and privilege (beyond race) to have more authentic conversations as without doing so, we are unaware which in turn leads to misunderstanding. We also talked through the difference of being non-racist vs. anti-racist (the former being a passive state of affairs where one is not behaving badly, the latter actively leaning in to challenge racism) and finally the need to embrace discomfort that White leaders may feel as it’s not about you, and centring your discomfort to not talk about race cannot be an option. Plus isn’t the whole leadership gig about embracing change, ambiguity and discomfort anyway (so this shouldn’t be a new skill)?

Here’s to great talk, more action and definitive progress in tackling race!