Apr 14, 2023


April 14, 2023

The topic of race and racial discrimination continues to remain a pressing issue in modern society particularly in the workplace. As discussions surrounding racism and microaggressions become more prevalent, it is crucial for white people to not only participate in these conversations but also to be comfortable with the inevitable discomfort that comes with them. 


It’s time to have some “real talk” about embracing discomfort and empowering white allies in the fight against racism in our schools and districts.  


In today’s episode, we will explore the importance of white people embracing this discomfort when discussing microaggressions, racism, and discrimination against Black people in the workplace. We will also provide resources and tips for white allies to build their understanding of the Black experience and take concrete actions to create a truly inclusive work environment.

Join me as we navigate these critical conversations, and together, learn how we can break down barriers and champion change in our schools for both our amazing educators, leaders and ultimately, our students.


Let's get started!


The Importance of Discomfort

Addressing racism and microaggressions requires an openness to uncomfortable conversations. White people must understand that these conversations are not meant to elicit guilt or shame but are necessary for fostering understanding and empathy. Engaging in these discussions helps white people recognize their own biases, privileges, and complicity in perpetuating racial inequality. It is through this recognition that real change can occur, as white allies can then actively work to dismantle systemic racism and promote equality in the workplace.


Resources for Understanding the Black Experience:

  1. Books:
    • "How to Be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi
    • "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism" by Robin DiAngelo
    • "Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America" by Ibram X. Kendi
  2. Podcasts:
    • "Code Switch" by NPR
    • "About Race" by Reni Eddo-Lodge
    • "The Diversity Gap" by Bethaney Wilkinson
  3. Online Courses and Workshops:
    • "Confronting Racism: A Journey to Understanding" by Project Implicit
    • "Talking About Race" by the National Museum of African American History and Culture


Tips for White Allies to Build Their Knowledge of the Black Experience:

Educate Yourself

Make a conscious effort to read books, listen to podcasts, and attend workshops or webinars that focus on the history and experiences of Black people. Don't rely on your Black colleagues to educate you on these topics, as this can place an undue burden on them. Instead, take the initiative to learn and grow.

Engage in Conversations

Seek out conversations with Black colleagues or friends who are willing to share their experiences and perspectives on race. Listen actively and empathetically, asking questions and seeking clarification when needed. Remember, the goal is to learn and expand your understanding, not to debate or defend your own viewpoints.

Reflect on Your Privilege

Consider how your race and background have afforded you certain privileges and advantages throughout your life. Recognize the ways in which these privileges may have contributed to the marginalization of Black individuals in your personal and professional networks. Reflecting on your privilege is a vital step in dismantling unconscious biases and fostering empathy.


Actions White Allies Can Take to Create an Inclusive Work Environment:

Challenge Microaggressions:

Microaggressions are subtle, often unintentional, acts of discrimination that can have a significant impact on the well-being of Black colleagues. If you witness or overhear a microaggression in the workplace, address it directly and respectfully. This sends a clear message that discriminatory behavior is not tolerated and helps create a safer environment for Black employees.

Advocate for Diversity and Inclusion:

Actively participate in company initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion. Offer suggestions for improvement, volunteer for committees or task forces, and encourage your employer to invest in diversity training and education

Amplify Black Voices and Talent:

Make a conscious effort to support and uplift the work of your Black colleagues. Share their ideas and accomplishments in team meetings, recommend them for projects or promotions, and acknowledge their contributions publicly. By amplifying Black voices and talent, you help to break down barriers and promote a more equitable workplace where everyone's skills and perspectives are valued.

Take a screenshot of the podcast episode and tag us on social media at @edugladiators with your next steps! Also, be sure to subscribe to the Real Talk Education podcast and never miss a new episode. 

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