Racism in the workplace? Not our problem, not our burden

Racism in the workplace…

There is power in identity“!

Bryan Stevenson… Thank you for the inspiration brother.

“When we create the right kind of identity, we can say things to the world around us that they don’t actually believe makes sense. We can get them to do things that they don’t think they can do…

In poor communities, in communities of colour, there is despair, there is this hopelessness, that being shaped by these outcomes. One of three black men between the age of 18 and 30 is in jail, in prison, on probation or parole. In urban communities across this country, 50 to 60 percent of all young men of colour are in jail or prison or on probation or parole…

Our system isn’t just being shaped in these ways that seem to be distorting around race, they’re also distorted by poverty. We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. Wealth, not culpability shapes outcomes…

And yet, we seem to be very comfortable. The politics of fear and anger have made us believe that these are problems that are not our problems. We’ve been disconnected…

And there is this stunning silence…

But somehow, we can insulate ourselves from this problem. It’s not our problem. It’s not our burden. It’s not our struggle.

… Segregation, decades of racial subordination and apartheid. And yet, we have in this country this dynamic where we really don’t like to talk about our problems. We don’t like to talk about our history… We have a hard time talking about race and I believe it’s because we are unwilling to commit ourselves to a process of truth and reconciliation…

Because ultimately we are talking about a need to be more helpful, more committed, more dedicated to the basic challenge of living in a complex world…

And for me that means spending time thinking and talking about the poor, the disadvantaged… But thinking about them in a way that is integrated in our own lives…

There is no disconnect around technology and design that will allow us to be fully human until we pay attention to suffering, to poverty, to exclusion, to unfairness, to injustice…

Now, I will warn you that this kind of identity is a much more challenging identity that one that don’t pay attention to this. It will get to you

We need to find ways to embrace these challenges, these problems, the suffering. Because ultimately, our humanity depends on everyone’s humanity…

And finally I believe that… we will ultimately not be judged by our technology, we won’t be judged by our design, we won’t be judged by our intellect and reason. Ultimately, you judge the character of a society, not by how they treat their rich and the powerful and the privileged, but by how they treat the poor, the condemned, the incarcerated… Because it’s in that nexus that we actually begin to understand truly profound things about who we are…”

Then, he finishes with this belief about connecting deeply about identity, about the capacity of every person to contribute to a community, to a perspective that is hopeful.

“All of our survival is tied to the survival of everyone.”


Video link:  We need to talk about an injustice | Bryan Stevenson


“Humanity has no race”


#Identity – #Justice – #Racism – #Discrimination

The author

Grégory Luaba Déome

Growing inclusive workplaces

Follow: Twitter @cvs_congo | Blogs: LinkedIn and Talent Has No Race

More from me on Ethnostratification and Talent Advancement:

People Analytics when the N is too small

Multiculturalism in Europe failed?

What makes a great team?

Delivering through diversity

Born in Congo, I am committed to developing more inclusive workplaces. My passion is to enable others to achieve their potential and to advance equity in corporate Brussels.

About eight years ago, a friend told me something like “in my company, they consider me as a high potential. I participated to the annual event of our industry, 500 people – la crème de la crème – and I was the only non-white in the room. A journalist even came to me and discreetly asked “what about upward mobility”? The problem is that in our industry, the majority of the workers at the bottom of the pyramid are non-whites. The higher you go in the hierarchy, the whiter it becomes.”

How to increase racial diversity at the top of corporate Brussels?

What is the diverse makeup or diversity demographics of your team overall? And of your management and board teams?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *