Author: Holly Noon, M.S.
Please understand that it is a movement, not a moment, and to defeat racism everyone in America needs to come together in a united front to combat the issue head-on. The leadership of the United States sets the tone of the people’s actions and the political climate towards race. The President’s job is to ensure that they are the president of all the people, to do what is best for everyone.
I want you as the reader to walk away having a more holistic view of what makes up not only the Black experience in America but understanding that when these issues are being discussed it’s not a personal attack on you as a person, it’s more of an approach to open your eyes that your comradery is needed and vital to eradicating racism.
I want to provide lists, actions, and recommendations on ways to better inform yourself of the topics related to racism and people of color. The main objective of this book is to raise awareness of the behaviors and thinking that contribute to racism in America.
Here are recommendations on how we can combat the systemic issues that have plagued our society:
From a personal perspective
- Understand the definition of racist
- Learn about microaggressions
- Stop saying “I’m not racist” and perhaps try to understand why someone could perceive you as a racist
- Being anti-racist means learning about and identifying inequities and disparities that give White people, or any racial group, material advantages over people of color
- Confront the racist ideas you have held or continue to hold
- It is imperative to use an intersectional approach when being anti-racist because race intersects with multiple aspects of people’s identities, including their gender, sexuality, and ethnicity
- Champion antiracist ideas and policies
From a Corporate/Organizational perspective
- Define your values, prioritize humanity
- Think beyond diversity, to inclusivity
- Acknowledging there is a problem
- Use your brand for impact I.e. Organizations like Nike, Bank of America, Old Navy donating money and/or creating marketing ads around the Black Lives Matter movement and promoting the importance of diversity.
- Education and awareness
- Clear and concise code of conduct
- Checks and balances in place to make sure any initiatives put in place are being worked toward or assessed to determine what resources are needed to reach the goal. For example, if the company plans to have more people of color in management within the next 3 years, what steps have been taken? What still needs to happen?
- Businesses, in general, must take meaningful action against racism and promote anti-racism
- Research to fully understand events, using data from reliable sources
- Take the initiative to search beyond social media
- Do give your Black and brown employees the space to be angry, afraid, disenchanted, or even disengaged from work.
- Do seek out support from your human resources team or office of diversity and inclusion.
- Review free resources such as the “Talking about Race” web portal from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
- Do not rely on Black and brown people to educate you about what happened to justify their hurt and outrage or counter “colorblind” rhetoric.
- Do not ask your Black and brown leaders or employees to comfort or advocate for colleagues or justice initiatives.
From a community perspective
- Focus on Initiatives that Change Root Causes
- Get involved in the political process at all levels
- Ensure that decision-makers look like and come from the community where you work, at every decision-making level.
- Organizational boards should have representatives from the neighborhood
- Hire diverse program staff. Make sure those staffs have the authority to guide the direction of organizational initiatives.
- Let the Community Identify “Success.”
- Use Organization Activities to Benefit Minority-Owned Establishments (I.E. the community supporting minority-owned business ventures)
- Take Complaints & Feedback Seriously
- Donate to organizations already making an impact in the local community. For example, The Divine Nine sororities and fraternities welcome financial support or resources to further community initiatives that help people of color.
- Donate does not always mean money, consider donating resources such as time and expertise to educate or consult people in the community. There is an educational and wealth gap among people of color, so helping bridge that gap in providing free knowledge is beneficial for all.
- Vote and hold your elected officials accountable for the issues they campaign for and ensure they follow through with the change