Achieving Racial Equity in the Workplace
Through the Looking Glass
In the past couple of years, we have seen more public conversation and initiatives in the race to achieve racial equity, and organizations are not exempt. Many organizations have taken on a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) agenda; however, the question remains as to whether these are performative actions to build public perception with little impact on building racial equity within the organization.
It is important for organizations to realize that “antiracism lies in the heart of DEI efforts and initiatives that fail to underpin it risk imminent failure.”
Organizations must seek to achieve both cultural and structural change to move the needle from performative solidarity to substantive change. According to Carmen Morris the race equity agenda is not a trend, it must be a wholesome effort to rid organizations of the barriers to inclusion, dismantle systemic inequity, and develop an agenda that provides the best equitable outcomes for ALL employees and customers.
Melaku and Winkler 2022 developed a framework through the series of questions below to get leadership teams to react on their DEI and to move from performative efforts to building true racial equity within their organizations.
- Are we providing equitable access to career opportunities?
- Are we promoting a culture of allyship?
- Have we made a public commitment to DEI with external partners? And are
we prepared for push back?
- Do we know how we’ll measure our progress (or lack thereof?)