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This Black History Month, create an anti-racist business

October is Black History Month, and we’ve been looking into how you can create an anti-racist business.

Throughout this article we’ll be using the term ‘global majority’. This term refers to people who are, ‘Black, Asian, Brown, dual-heritage, indigenous to the global south, and or have been racialised as ‘ethnic minorities’. It was coined by Rosemary Cambell-Stephens (MBE), who states that these groups, ‘currently represent approximately 80% of the world’s population.’ You can find more information on the global majority here.

What does it mean to be anti-racist?

According to Inclusive Employers, ‘Anti-racism is a focus on transforming the unequal social and workplace relations that shape our interactions between black, Asian and other ethnic minorities and white people.’

‘Anti-racism is the change that makes these experiences and interactions equal or egalitarian. Anti-racism is a change in our perspective. It is understanding all that has gone before us, the impact of white supremacy and its impact on how we think, act and engage with different races.’

Anti-racist activists and advocates state that being anti-racism is not the same as not being racist; it’s a commitment to understanding the privilege of whiteness, how you have benefited from it, and what you can do to eliminate racial discrimination against the global majority. 

What does being anti-racist mean for businesses?

Being anti-racist means more than having an anti-racism statement on your website; it means an active, continual and concerted effort to build an anti-racism strategy and anti-racist behaviours in your organisation.

Committing to be an anti-racist business means looking critically at the privilege that you hold as an individual, and how that privilege manifests within your institution. It includes anti-racism education for those inside the business at all levels, and welcoming open conflict and discomfort.

It starts with education

Just like any business strategy, developing an anti-racist business starts with education. This means educating yourself on white privilege and anti-racism at a broad, structural level, but also educating yourself on the experience of those within the global majority at an institutional level. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, How to Be an AntiracistThe Antiracist Business Book and The Business of Race are good starting points.

For managers and directors, it is essential to know what it is like for people from the global majority within your business. Start by opening up a line of communication and making space for people from the global majority to share their honest experiences. This shouldn’t be limited to experiences of direct discrimination; it should include the lived experience, the opportunities and the access that those from the global majority have, or have not experienced within the organisation. This will help you to identify where the issues and road blocks are for folk from the global majority.

If your business doesn’t have any people from the global majority at any level, it is essential to identify where you are losing these candidates, rather than making the assumption that these candidates don’t exist. Do people from the global majority respond to your job advertisements? Do they receive an interview? If so, how far along the hiring process do they get? The focus then needs to be on your hiring process; and what you can do to make this process anti-racist.

Moving forward as an antiracist organisation

Being an anti-racist organisation is a lifelong commitment, and the scope of this work can often feel overwhelming. However, Inclusive Employers has a full toolkit for businesses, ‘Building anti-racist cultures: a toolkit for your workplace’ to help you navigate this process.

The toolkit includes education on the myths in anti-racism work, intersectionality, the barriers to anti-racism and the subtle acts of exclusion and gaslighting, as well as a number of how-to documents detailing how to write an anti-racism strategy, an ethnicity pay gap report, taking an anti-racist approach to recruitment and more. 

Find out more about ‘Building anti-racist cultures: a toolkit for your workplace’

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