Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Friday, December 31, 2021

Dear White People: Here Are 5 Uncomfortable Truths Black Colleagues Need You To Know

Dana Brownlee
Originally posted 16 June 2020

While no one has a precise prescription for how to eradicate racial injustice in the workplace, I firmly believe that a critical first step is embracing the difficult conversations and uncomfortable truths that we’ve become too accustomed to avoiding. The baseline uncomfortable truth is that blacks and whites in corporate America often maintain their own subcultures – including very different informal conversations in the workplace - with surprisingly little overlap at times. To be perfectly honest, as a black woman who has worked in and around corporate America for nearly 30 years, I’ve typically only been privy to the black side of the conversation, but I think in this moment where everyone is looking for opportunities to either teach, learn or grow, it’s instructive if not necessary to break down the traditional siloes and speak the unspeakable. So in this vein I’m sharing five critical “truths” that I feel many black people in corporate settings would vehemently discuss in “private” but not necessarily assert in “public.”

Here are the 5, plus a bonus.

Truth #1 - Racism doesn’t just show up in its most extreme form. There is indeed a continuum (of racist thoughts and behaviors), and you may be on it.

Truth #2 – Even if you personally haven’t offended anyone (that you know of), you may indeed be part of the problem.

Truth #3 – Every black person on your team is not your “friend.”

Truth #4 – Gender and race discrimination are not “essentially the same.”

Truth #5 – Even though there may be one or two black faces in leadership, your organization may indeed have a rampant racial injustice problem.

Bonus Truth #6: You can absolutely be part of the solution.

As workplaces tackle racism with a renewed sense of urgency amidst the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, it’s imperative that they approach the problem of racism as they would any other serious business problem – methodically, intensely and with a sense of urgency and conviction.