The year 2020 has become the year of unveiling our shortcomings as a society. This conversation started with the realization that a virus, smaller than most microscopes can see, derailed the course of everyone’s lives in a matter of months, and created the need for immediate action. Now, we are in the midst of another realization that also necessitates immediate action. As opposed to fighting an unfamiliar species, we are faced with the challenge of overcoming our previously established ideologies, and must rewire our brains.
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer on May 25, 2020, has raised awareness about the depth of racism across the world. This event has shown discrimination to be beyond blatant acts of bigotry and hatred, and prevalent in those who, in fact, believe that they are practicing racial equality. The protests that followed the killing have expanded into an international movement, with hopes of abolishing such acts.
One would assume that after years of vocalizing the importance of diversity and inclusion, racial stereotypes would not exist; however, unfortunately, this is not the case. More often than not, discrimination occurs without racist intentions, and is impacted by stereotypes that have been previously ingrained in our mindsets. As an example, one might delegate tasks to certain ethnic groups, and exclude numerous competent groups, without even thinking about it. This is unconscious bias. Not realizing our discriminatory actions is a problem, as we must escape the dominance of formerly-planted ideas in our minds and take control of our thoughts and actions.
Although unconscious biases form in our implicit thoughts, and we do not actively think about them, we are not excused from changing them. Accidental discrimination is still discrimination, and must be addressed. Recent events have highlighted the importance of growing awareness about our unconscious thoughts, and addressing the biases in an effort to alleviate discriminatory acts, whether intentional or not. Tremendous efforts by activists and people working for change have proven that the only way to achieve this is through educating ourselves and the people around us.
In addition to this high level of understanding being a necessity for social morale, organizations must ensure full awareness about these issues among their stakeholders in order to thrive in this new equality-seeking world.
The colossal unconscious biases throughout society, combined with the institutional structure of systemic racism, create disastrous consequences for minority groups. Thus, in order to simultaneously address these flaws, our narrative about racism has to change. The statement of “I see no color” is diminishing in value because, in fact, we must see the color, and recognize what it represents. In addition to merely accepting people of all races and ethnicities as equals, we must acknowledge the unequal hardships they went through as a community, recognize the obstacles they face and provide additional opportunities to help minority groups take control over their own paths in life.
At CoreAxis, we recognize the importance of diversity, and how it impacts the workplace. We want to help our clients acknowledge their unconscious biases, and actively overcome them. To that end, we provide an engaging course on Diversity and Inclusion that demonstrates its value, and offers solutions as to how businesses can recognize the abundant benefits of having diverse teams, as well as instructions on how to effectively manage a diverse and inclusive work environment.