How Do I Talk to My Boss About Diversity and Inclusion?
While there are many resources available, information overload can make it difficult to know how to start the conversation. A good first step is to offer help with building your company’s understanding of the topic systematically. Begin by trying to raise your employer’s awareness and learn what causes discrimination in the workplace.
Denial of the existence of systemic discrimination in the workplace is a barrier that must be addressed and acknowledged before companies move forward in adjusting their policies to be more inclusive.
Although some acts of discrimination in the workplace might take the form of violent hatred and malice, this is not always the case. Microaggressions, when people’s biases against marginalized groups reveal themselves in a way that leaves their victims feeling uncomfortable or insulted, are just as harmful. Ignoring microaggressions, regardless of intent, leads employees and employers alike to believe racism and other forms of prejudice are much less prevalent issues than they really are.
Remedying issues of discriminatory practices also requires an understanding of personal and psychological biases—conscious or subconscious—as well as structural factors that contribute to a toxic organizational culture. In some cases, individuals may be the root of workplace discrimination. More often, however, broader structural factors like institutional practices and cultural norms deeply embedded in our everyday lifestyles are responsible for disparities.
Some companies think day-long shutdowns for diversity training should be enough to teach employees how to interact with customers and their peers more successfully. This is not the case. Anti-racism work is better described as an ongoing process of constant effort and dedication, rather than an individualized issue.
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