Racial discrimination has been around for centuries. Though there has been progress in ending racism it is still very much alive. Sadly, many who experience racism don’t speak up, fearing it will get worse. This not only impacts their sense of self but translates into the workplace (e.g., toxic work environment, loss of job or not being hired at all).
Racial discrimination refers to the practice of treating people differently or unjustly because of their race, ethnic origin, skin colour, language or religion. It can also be systemic, meaning that the discrimination has been built into the structures and institutions of society. This type of discrimination is often more subtle and harder to identify, but it can have significant impacts on the lives of Indigenous peoples and racialized and religious minority communities.Government of Canada
3 Ways to End Racial Discrimination at Work
Work is where many individuals spend most of their day. It needs to be a safe place that includes everyone. Racism often starts with one incident that is ignored. However, it can quickly escalate to multiple incidents and soon becomes the company norm.
Here are three ways that you can help end racial discrimination in your workplace.
Speak Up Against Racial Discrimination
There may already be racial discrimination at your workplace to battle. Speaking up is the first step, signifying that you know it exists and you won’t stand for it.
- If you see something, say something. It could be to the offending individual or a manager.
- Conduct discussions and training for employees.
- How to identify racial discrimination
- How to speak up
Make it a Company Value
Create a culture that is inclusive and values diversity. For more information check out 5 Tips to Create Culture Change in your Workplace.
- Hold anti-racism trainings
- Create policies for handling complaints about racism within the workplace
- Express the company policies to all employees
- Outline the consequences of racial discrimination
- Hold trainings to understand other cultures (BIPOC, Indigenous, etc.)
- Hire based on merit
Saying that you will be more inclusive is not enough, action is what makes an impact.
- Provide physical resources to your staff
- Brochures, booklets, etc.
- Follow up on complaints of racism and take disciplinary action
- Blind hire, focusing on skills and experience
- Do not look at information that can cause a bias (e.g., name)
Holding yourself and your staff accountable will create a safe and inclusive workplace. “Seeing is believing” and your staff need to see management taking racism and discrimination seriously.
If you need help designing policies or trainings SH Consulting is here to help.