There is a strong focus on learning how we can be more inclusive.
Hundreds of articles and many challenges for digging in to gain an understanding on how to be more equitable have been published. And yet, there is still a statement I hear: “Tell us what to do.” This is a statement I heard after a program on building awareness with tips on changing behaviors that are not inclusive. You can read every article, watch every video, attend multiple training classes, and still think you do not know what to do. Why is that? It is because what you know or have learned has not been put into practice. And isn’t practice what makes a “training” effective?
Now, more than ever, the need to do something different, to take action is a Must. This requires behaviors that are more than saying “hello” to someone you have never paid attention to before. It requires looking inside to see where you are complicit with racist ideas, policies, procedures; where sexism is operating full-on; where homophobia lurks in inward thoughts and outward behaviors; where xenophobia is a byproduct of the religious norm; where differently-abled are marginalized?
Both the individuals and the company must go through this investigative process.
We start with getting into the weeds to understand “what is it your organization wants.” I mean really wants. Is it to look, good on paper? Or do you really want to change? If we really intend to transform the organization into one that walks the talk, we delve deep into policies, procedures, and practices that maintain the status quo and we find the holes.
From there, we build a strategy of actions and changes that will shift the environment, that will create change. However, it takes the individuals (you) to implement the changes in behaviors necessitated by the policies. New practices rely on individual responsibility and accountability.
Ibram X. Kendi states in his essay: “Is this the Beginning of the End of American Racism” (The Atlantic, September 2020) that “A nation is what it does, not what it originally claimed it would be.”
Try replacing the word “nation” with “organization” and then with “person” and the challenge is personal. An organization is what it does, not what it originally claimed it would be. A person is what he or she does, not what he/she originally claimed they would be.
If you think it is a challenge for us to unpack racism and dismantle the old ways of doing things, my question is, “Why is it a challenge?” What are we afraid of losing? One’s position, self-esteem, idealized self-image? Does it feel chaotic?
Chaos can be a call to reorder things.
Isn’t it time to dig into the weeds to discover and create a new structure and way of being that is supported by honesty, integrity, courage, intention, commitment, and accountability?