Do you live in a city like Vancouver that is 50% white but find yourself working in an environment that’s two thirds white or more? It’s possible your company has a culture that isn’t as friendly or accepting of non-White folks as it might think it is. There may be implicitly racist hiring practices.

Anti-oppression consulting can increase productivity and profitability. By creating a space where the best minorities feel safe to work, we gain access to wider talent pools and diverse problem solving strategies informed by different cultures, family environments, and upbringings. There are lots of strategies for meaningful anti-oppression at work, but often the best ones are found by asking the experts: minorities at your work (or minorities who have quit). Do you conduct exit interviews?

There are a lot of focus groups and discussion groups that could be created. Typically creating a discussion group around Racism works best only letting racial minorities speak without white peers explaining away or erasing their experience.

If when asking racial minorities about the process they prefer to organize solutions in private, sometimes the best groups are Caucus groups that only admit racial minorities. These exclusive spaces are not segregation and in fact encourage healing as well as supporting the following goals:

1. to discuss issues that uniquely or disproportionately affect racially marginalized people without holding space for Whiteness,

2. to educate about these issues, and

3. to strategize on how to reduce harm due to these issues.

This works best if some experience or leadership is present at those meetings, and consultants such as myself are available to do that kind of work to promote a shift in culture.

Ask yourself: are your competitors gaining an edge on you by having a more diverse culture than your company?

Inclusion Criteria

If you meet any one of the below criteria, you are invited to participate at CKV events (subject to your consenting to the Code of Conduct). You…

…are racialized (PoCs); and/or

…have at least one racialized parent; and/or

…have the lived experience of systemic oppression based on race, ethnicity, culture, mother tongue, place of origin, or heritage (have experienced sociologically defined Racism).

Here’s a series of diagrams discussing the inclusion of a small group into a large one.
Here are resources from the BCTF including a video on how microaggressions are like mosquito bites and one on if micro aggressions happened to white people.

The purpose of these standards is to set expectations of respectful conduct to facilitate a functional exchange of useful, progressive ideas at a discussion group.

I agree to…

  • practice honesty, accuracy, integrity and truth in all dealings here. I will not be knowingly false or misleading. I agree to be forthcoming about conflicts of interest.
  • give credit for ideas and words not my own and recognize original content creators.
  • only share my own experiences and keep private the stories of others unless they consent to my sharing them.
  • avoid deliberately insulting or inflammatory speech or comments. I will not troll or bully.
  • not deliberately defame someone other than as part of sharing my own lived experience or voicing concern over harmful behaviour.
  • do my best to practice courage and own my mistakes and my part of conflict in the spirit of resolution.
  • voluntarily withdraw from participation if the community decides it is not in its best interest that I continue to attend.

I acknowledge breaching this code of conduct may result in my having to leave the group and not return.

Sources Cited:
http://chrismacdonald.ca/resources/writing-a-confli…
http://www.cprs.ca/aboutus/code_ethic.aspx
http://juicystudio.com/services/readability.php
The MVK Code of Professional Standards

There are many different lived experiences of racialization, and I can only speak for myself as a lighter-skinned, mixed-race POC.

White Supremacy
the ideas that white culture is better than other culture or that white skin is better or more attractive than other skin – these ideas are White Supremacy. 

Tied into white supremacy are often stereotypes about the inferiority of non white peoples. This inferiority is communicated in many ways including racist jokes that aim to trivialize and humiliate people of colour.

Shadism / Colourism
visible and immediate othering the further one is away from passing as white. White-passing privilege exists and is different from white privilege.

Language Accents
audible and immediate othering occurs the further one is from sounding like a native-language, local speaker with matching class speech markers.

Language Learner
use of complex words or written words can pose an accessibility barrier.

Culture
a dominant group may assume itself to be the default and has an “expectation of difference,” othering people based on their culture of origin, behaviours, holidays, traditions, rituals, or religions.

Mixed: A Note

All Black, Indigenous, Mixed-Race, and People of Colour (BIMPOC) do not share the same extreme levels of marginalization familiar especially to many Black and Indigenous folks.

white-passing person may experience privilege in the absence of immediate visibility – police response, employment, and other types of discrimination may be avoided; however they may experience a lot of Racism or implied Racism (microaggressions) in other ways: perhaps a language barrier or cultural othering. Police interactions or employment prospects may look great until they are heard speaking or until they mention Ramadan. Thus language and culture may meaningfully impact them in similar significant ways.

Silencing language when talking about it (“but you’re basically white” or “you’re only half a poc” etc). The “too white to be other” while also “too other to be white” rhetoric is exhausting.

If you’re struggling with this, it’s worth doing some research and hearing mixed race people hash this out online. There are funny videos on microaggressions mixed race individuals experience and other videos about being ethnically ambiguous. There are also individual stories available by video.

Sophie, a mixed race English Chinese woman

Buzzfeed on ethnic ambiguity

Liza, an ambiguous mixed race woman (internalized racism warning)

 

I offer consulting services to help implement solutions. Some ideas that might help are below. Keep in mind that every workplace needs custom solutions built to suit its culture for maximum effectiveness.
  • A regular caucus discussion group (for POC only) to discuss, educate, and strategize for less Racism and more participation
  • A panel discussion / Q&A led by the POC caucus group to answer questions from the rest of the staff submitting on paper (not verbal)
  • A post campaign to raise awareness of Implicit Racism in the workplace
  • Written hiring policies and procedures
  • An oversight group to review policies, procedures, and compliance