Equity Challenge Day 20

Day 20: Workplace Culture

Monday, January 31

“Diversity, or the state of being different, isn't the same as inclusion. One is a description of what is, while the other describes a style of interaction essential to effective teams and organizations." - Bill Crawford

“Systems that are failing people of color are actually failing all of us.”

Racism is not only statistics. It can be seen and felt in gentrification and displacement, the exploitation of Native land, clutched purses, unreasonable fears, towns and cities avoided by white people, underfunded public schools, the social need for movements such as #SayTheirNames, and redlining, to name a few of racism's manifestations. However, it is often thanks to the efforts of historically oppressed communities that we are all able to exercise rights such as voting, fair employment, and fair housing among many more.

While the main focus throughout this 21-Day Challenge has been on racial equity, it is important to acknowledge that people from various marginalized identities and experiences are negatively impacted by inequitable processes and policies. When equitable systems and policies are created, everyone is lifted up, ensuring our collective success.

There are various reasons to participate in this challenge. One may be to transform your workplace from a culture rooted in white dominant norms and standards to a culture rooted in equity.

You may be looking for ways to increase representation from marginalized groups, strengthen your culture to be more inclusive, and look through a racial equity lens to see more clearly how your organizational operations and programs are impacting its diversity. The information and resources included in today's challenge will help you get to the next level.

Another reason to participate in this challenge may be to learn about inequities in our community and reflect on your own experiences, attitudes, and actions.

Ibram X. Kendi, Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Anti-Racist Research and author of How to be an Anti-Racist, notes that one can be racist one moment and anti-racist the next. Racism is something we all carry within ourselves. As a result, we must unlearn biased and racist ideas to replace them with tools and actions that are centered around equity, empathy, and solidarity. 

As you prepare to complete the 21-Day Equity Challenge, we encourage you to consider the question: What two to three shifts, changes, or actions, can I take to create a more inclusive and equitable environment in my home, workplace, and community? Then, write down a goal you have moving forward. Research shows that when you write down your goals, you are more likely to commit to them and achieve them.

Did you know?

  • Native American women are typically paid just 57 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. (National Partnership for Women and Families, 2020)
  • Transgender women earn far less than white, non-Hispanic men. Transgender women earn even less than their transgender male counterparts. (Center for American Progress, 2020)
  • Despite Black Americans making up only 13% of the total U.S. workforce, racial discrimination against Black workers accounts for 26% of all claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and its partner agencies. (Vox, 2019)
  • When voting is constrained for Black and brown voters as a result of voter I.D. laws, limited polling availability, lifelong bans for people who have been incarcerated, and other barriers, many low-income white voters are also left out of the voting process. (GARE, Why Working for Racial Equity Benefits Everyone, 2020).

Today’s Challenge: Do one or more of the following…

OPTION 1: Read Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture from Equity in the Center which outlines ways that organizations can dismantle structural racism and inequities both inside and outside their organizations. (Agree to their license agreement to download the report.)

OPTION 2: Enjoy this #InclusionStartsWithI video about the importance of a positive, inclusive work environment. The video demonstrates that bias can appear in both expected and unexpected ways—and that each of us has the power to make a difference. (3:27)

As you watch, consider:

  • Is there someone you need to know better so you can see them as more than a stereotype?
  • How might you forge a friendship with them that is authentic, respectful, and inclusive?

OPTION 3: Review Racial Equity Tools’ new Glossary of Racial Equity Terms, with over 60 terms and definitions. The words and language we use hold significant meaning. Staying educated on these terms can help us engage in more inclusive and respectful dialogue.

OPTION 4: How might your organization's norms embody dominant culture approaches over other options that would be more inclusive and equitable? Read Tools for Addressing White Dominant Culture, a worksheet that breaks down the differences and suggests some useful pivot points.

OPTION 5: Watch Just Belonging: Finding the Courage to Interrupt Bias (19:16) to better understand the emotional fatigue experienced by people of color when discussing race with their white counterparts, so you can minimize harm to others as you work to become anti-racist.

OPTION 6: Journal on your own. Consider the prompts:

  • What are your identities and in what ways have these identities impacted your life? Are there identities that have provided you higher social capital or privilege in certain environments, or vice versa?
  • What were some of your assumptions about race and racial inequity before you started this 21-Day Challenge? In what ways have these assumptions been challenged? In what ways have they been reinforced?
  • What assumptions do you make about certain colleagues? Who do you need to know better so you can see them as more than a stereotype?
  • What two to three shifts, changes, or actions, can you take to create a more inclusive and equitable environment in your home, workplace, and community?

← Day 19: Justice System

→ Day 21: Next Steps

Equity Challenge Main Page