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Date posted: 10th July 2020

10th July 2020

How to speak up against racism in the workplace

How to speak up against racism in the workplace

At Inspiring Workplaces we wholeheartedly believe in the importance of speaking up against racism and being anti-racist. This means we all need to be active in calling out racism and injustice when we see it. But calling out racism is often one of the aspects that people find most difficult. I know that when myself, Matt and Stefan filmed our responses to black lives matter it took us many attempts to express ourselves in an articulate way. When calling out racism in real life you don’t get to delete and go again which is daunting, especially when navigating subjects as important as discrimination and bias.

But, fear of not articulating ourselves perfectly should not stop us speaking up. In fact, there are some very simple ways you can intervene when witnessing discrimination in the workplace that don’t involve you having to articulate the perfect argument. This interview with Kelly Charles-Collins provides employee guidance on how to speak up and take action when you witness discrimination, bullying, and harassment.

From the Article: 

As far as speaking up in the workplace, one of the things my mom has always taught me is time and place. You have to make sure that it’s the right place to stand up. If you’re in a meeting and someone is speaking over another person, and that someone that’s speaking over another person is a CEO, it might not be the right time. However, what you can do is make eye contact with [the victim]. Later you may go and speak to your supervisor or if you have a relationship with the CEO you may go to the CEO and say, ‘hey, I don’t know if you realized you did this but during the meeting when Mary was speaking, every time she spoke you would interrupt her and speak over her. That would be one way to understand time and place. Another way is if you see, for example, a supervisor is harassing one of the employees, and you don’t want to say ‘stop harassing them,’ you can say ‘supervisor A: I have a question over here, can you come help me?’

The thing about bystander intervention and what I want people to understand is, your job is not to be the hero. You don’t have to swoop in and save the whole thing. [You can help by] de-escalating or disrupting the whole situation. You want to take the person who is being attacked or victimized in some way […] out of that situation.

I always tell people silence is not an option.

Read the full interview online: How Do You Intervene When You Witness Racism, Bias And Bigotry In The Workplace? 

Make sure to explore Inspiring Workplace’s other content and insights about Diversity and Inclusion.