Inclusion & Diversity at Work: Skills for Confident Conversations About Race | Lanre Sulola | Skillshare

Inclusion & Diversity at Work: Skills for Confident Conversations About Race

Lanre Sulola, Leadership and Inclusion Coach

Inclusion & Diversity at Work: Skills for Confident Conversations About Race

Lanre Sulola, Leadership and Inclusion Coach

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18 Lessons (1h 2m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. What Is Racial Inequity?

    • 4. Internalised Beliefs

    • 5. Interpersonal Factors

    • 6. Institutional Factors

    • 7. Structural Factors

    • 8. Privilege

    • 9. Becoming An Anti Racist

    • 10. Fear Zone

    • 11. Learning Zone

    • 12. Growth Zone

    • 13. What Stops Conversation

    • 14. Making The Conversation Happen

    • 15. Holding The Conversation

    • 16. Taking Action

    • 17. Class Close

    • 18. Bonus - Poetic Summary

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About This Class

Have the conversations that matter and create real inclusion in your organisation!

Join Lanre Sulola as he shares key insights into having strong dialogue about race and the role it can play in helping to create racial equity. Lanre has worked with teams and organisations across the globe, supporting them in creating inclusive cultures and helping individuals to bring their authentic best self to work each and every day.

This engaging and informative class will leave you feeling confident, comfortable and ready to hold important conversations about race and systemic inequity. In this class we will:

  • Increase our understanding of race-related issues on a deeper basis and the impact in our organisation
  • Explore how to create space for dialogue about race with colleagues of all races and cultures and develop greater awareness of the importance of diversity and Inclusion.
  • Identify how to talk more openly about systemic racism, address challenges and opportunities faced by colleagues. 
  • Understand the barriers to talking about racial inequity and ways to overcome these

The class will provide key tips and resources to help build your capability to support long term solutions for racial equity, contributing to a thriving, more inclusive working environment

Whether you manage, lead or are part of a team, you will gain greater understanding of the key components of racial inequity, and how to practically play a part in the push against it

The skills learned and knowledge gained can be applied in a variety of working scenarios such as:

  • Holding listening sessions and conversations with colleagues
  • 1-to-1 or team meetings with direct reports 
  • Ensuring Inclusion is a focus when discussing important business factors such as recruitment, retention and performance

Our Conversations About Race worksheet is included in the session so that you can take notes, make inclusive plans and make a difference in your organisation!

Meet Your Teacher

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Lanre Sulola

Leadership and Inclusion Coach


Lanre Sulola is a leadership coach who is passionate about building inclusive cultures to enable teams and individuals to thrive. Lanre’s expertise in the Inclusion and Diversity field has helped organisations drive business performance and employee engagement. He works with organisations to implement key I&D related metrics, practices and initiatives around performance, recruitment, retention and promotion. Lanre runs programs to build diverse representation across all levels, create diverse teams, embrace difference and break unconscious bias. He has vast experience in setting up and growing Culture and Diversity networks to provide peer support to colleagues and leverage diversity to meet overall business objectives.

Lanre conducts Performance and Culture focus groups fo... See full profile

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1. Introduction : Hi. I'm Lanre Sulola, leadership coach and poet. I'm the founder of Inner Ambitions. We work with organizations, teams, and individuals across industry and around the globe. We are specialists in leadership development and creating inclusion. We partner with leaders to harness their skills and experience, to improve performance, increase personal impacts, and create business growth. I welcome organizations to build inclusive behaviors, actions, policies, and processes. My focus is to bring about sustainable culture change and allow individuals to be their authentic selves in a thriving working environment. Though there has been progression in creating inclusion, there are still many inequalities around us today. Our organizations are not diverse or inclusive enough. Many people still feel marginalized. There are disparities between the career trajectory of different racial groups. Bias and discrimination still abound. We are yet to reach true racial equity. This class is for all those who want to see change and play a role in making progress towards greater racial equity. It's for leaders, managers, and individuals who want to build inclusive working environments. By the end of this class, you will have more understanding about what racial inequity is, be clearer on the role you can play in building equity and the tools available to you. You will have greater confidence in holding important conversations about race, where everyone involved is able to listen, share, understand, and contribute. We will also identify ways to overcome common obstacles to holding this conversation. Our key tips and insights will enable you to drive purposeful action in your organization. How we going to do that? By sharing review key insights, resources, examples, and information. There'll be opportunity to reflect on where you are in the journey of building racial equity and understand the steps to increase awareness and drive continuous learning. Each topic will be broken down into small videos for you to clearly understand the key theme around racial equity. Our race conversation worksheet will also assist you in planning your conversation, setting clear objectives, and recording powerful reflection moments to create interesting discussions. Talking about this fills me with passion and a sense that now is the time to act and make a difference. This may be the start of your journey in creating inclusion, or you may have been championing this for a while. Wherever you are, I invite you in to engage and be a part of something crucial to business success. It may not be an overnight change, however, this class will provide the foundations, tools, and resources to make a difference. I'm ready to get right into it, I hope you are too. 2. Class Project: The class project is for you to plan and prepare for a conversation about race with members of your organization or team. I believe the starting point for inclusion and building racial equity is having conversation. The value of this project is that it supports this very premise. Without these conversations, we will miss what different individuals or groups are feeling or experiences. We won't be able to identify common values and goals. We will miss the chance to create actions, initiatives, and solutions to ensure a level playing field for all. Whether that is around recruitment, retention, promotion, or even who is engaged in the social culture and growth of our organization. Our race conversation worksheet will help you with your preparation and ensure that key logistics, themes, and topics are included in your plans. It will give you a framework that will enable focus on key factors and give you the confidence to make for conversation really work. You have the freedom to set the aims of the session. It could be to give the group the opportunity to talk about their experiences around race or feelings about inclusion. It may be to create a space where people feel listened to. As we go through the class together, you can take onboard the many tips and insights to prepare you for setting up your own conversation and ensuring participants get maximum benefits from it. The exciting thing about this project is that you can do it in your own unique way. Also after you've done it once, you'll be able to replicate this and hold further conversations with other colleagues. You could establish a process or format that works for your organization, allowing for deeper, more frequent conversation around race. Imagine if this was something your whole organization did and a positive change it could make. I know that you will learn so much from these conversations, gaining greater understanding of how we can support each other and highlight areas where we can be more inclusive. The project can bring new cultural perspectives and help us to break down silos and any miscommunication we may currently have. Some tips to ensure your project is successful. Keep it simple to begin with. Don't think too hard about trying to over-complicate it. Remember, we will go through the steps in class, take it step-by-step. Having a plan in place is success. Holding the conversation afterwards is success. We are not looking for perfection here. It may feel a little out of your comfort zone, but that is a good thing. I've worked with many organizations who initially found it difficult to talk about race. I recently worked with a team who didn't know how to start the conversation as they were scared, that they might say the wrong things or that people might get upset or conflicts will arise. Despite these fears, we went through the steps, held the conversations and the feedback was incredible. I'm looking forward to hearing how your projects shape up. Please do share your progress in the project gallery. Share your objectives. I would love to hear what you come up with. Share the topics you will cover, the questions you might ask or any reflections you have made. Once you've had the discussion, do share your feedback on how it went. What was it like to share? What did we learn? Are we planning another session soon? Do also feel free to take a photo of your conversation group and if there are any questions on the project or you get stuck at any point or even want some inspiration, please do get in touch. I would love to answer any questions that you have. Now we are all set on our class project. Let's explore what racial inequity actually is. 3. What Is Racial Inequity?: In this video, we are going to introduce the four building blocks of racial inequity. First, let's bring some clarity to determine equity. Inequity is where there is unfairness, injustice, or disparity between different instances, situations, people, or groups. Racial inequity is where that disparity shows up in the treatment of different people based on their race. If there is racial inequity in our organization, some groups are likely to feel unfairly treated or marginalized. The impact of this is wide-ranging. Performance, progression, mental health, business productivity, working relationships can all suffer as a result. Research from Kenji Yoshino, author of Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights, signify that inequities are playing a significant role in how we show up at work and the barriers to us being our true authentic selves. We cover our appearance, our affiliations, our advocacy as what we speak out against, and our associations as we do not feel like we are accepted for who we are. From his research alongside Deloitte, surveying 3,000 employees across different industries, it was found that 61 percent of people cover in some ways. For black employees, that went up to 79 percent. An organization where people cannot be themselves is not an organization functioning to their full potential. Understanding how racial inequity works will allow us to better see the challenges different groups face in our organizations on a daily basis. This understanding will also help us to better address these issues. It will allow us to find ways to create equity. Creating equity will give the right levels of supports to varying groups and individuals based on their various needs, challenges, and requirements. This is slightly different from equality, where everyone is offered the same level of support to provide equal opportunities. While equality is important and helpful, equity goes that extra step further. It acknowledges that different groups of people face different challenges and have varying levels of opportunities. Awareness of what racial inequity is is crucial for us to have relevant and meaningful conversations and know where to focus our energy and actions. Racial inequity is greater than a single act of racism. It has four main dimensions: Internalized beliefs, interpersonal acts, institutional practices, and structural factors. When we layer each of these dimensions on top of each other, we create an environment where some groups receive a boost or push towards prospering and career success, and other groups are held back, marginalized or discriminated against. It creates difficulties as continued presence of these dimensions have ensured that racial inequity has been woven into the fabric of our society and working life. All dimensions need to be addressed to create racial equity. However, it is important to know that this is a journey and the chances of radical changes overnight are slim. So to overcome this will take a great deal of time, efforts, and action. Let's look at each of these dimensions in more detail. We'll start with Internalized beliefs. 4. Internalised Beliefs: Internalized beliefs relate to subtle or overt messages that reinforce our way of thinking. This can be beliefs about other individuals or even about ourselves. In the context of race, it would be the beliefs we hold about different racial groups. These may be negative or positive. I started my life as an accountant at one of the big four accountancy firms. My role allowed me to work with a wide range of FTSE 100 organizations and many different stakeholders. With every client that I worked with, every office floor I walked through, every senior director I converse with, the theme was similar. I was often the only or at least one of very few black people on the client floors, and when I looked internally in my firm, there were very few black senior partners. Experiencing this was a constant subtle message to me. If you're black, you do not get to a senior position. You are not going to be recognized as a leader or be in a position of influence in the corporate world. This message became an internalized belief. This is the first dimension of inequity. This belief causes us to think negatively in our working environment. It can lead us to discriminate against others. If someone held a similar internalized belief to the one I held, when they see a black employee, they might assume he's not the senior. If that black colleague is the senior, they may act surprised. I've heard many stories of black employees being asked if they worked in their actual office or being mistaken for a toilet attendant. This is just one example of how an internalized belief can form. Often, these beliefs become subconsciously ingrained in our psyche to the point where we feel this is objectively how things are. The danger is that these beliefs around race can lead to biases or stereotypes. We begin to hold preconceived ideas about certain groups or individuals solely because of their race. These often subconscious thought impacts our decision-making, our judgment, and ultimately, how we treat others. This might impair decisions we make about who we hire, who we promote, who we choose for an important piece of work, or even who we spend our time with during lunch breaks. We are all biased in some regards. There are scientific and psychological reasons for this. In his book, Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman looks at how our brains work and analyses our two modes of thought. System 1 is fast, instinctive, and emotional. System 2 is slower, more deliberate and more logical. How often do you think we use the fore side of our brain? Ninety-eight percent of the time. However, for system 1 thinking leads to biases. If we need support on a project, we turn to what we've always known, who we've used before, who do we like? Racial bias occurs when we are drawn to a person or group over another because of their race. There have been countless experiments done on resumes and CVs, whereby identical CVs had been sent out to organizations with one difference, the name. Names where most people would assume a white candidate always received higher numbers of callbacks than those with a name that sounded black. Take a moment to reflect on some of the internalized beliefs you have when it comes to race. There is a space in your worksheets to make notes if you wish. It might be a belief you have of your own race or of another race. There may even be biases to address ahead of your race conversation. How may our biases influence who we invite to our discussions or meetings? Whose comments are we likely to take on board more readily? Link to bias or stereotypes. Due to making shortcuts and quick fire judgments, we begin to lazily throw individuals into fixed, over simplified groups based on assumptions and perceptions about who they are instead of taking the time to truly understand them. Racial stereotypes categorize us based on widely or historical views on different races. For example, there are stereotypes that presuppose that all black people act a certain way, hold certain traits, or perform a particular role in society. Psychologist Claude Steele looks at the threats of stereotypes and how it can negatively affect the performance and impact of individuals. In experiments where people have been told before a test that their particular gender or race does not do well with set test, they are more likely to score lower than if they were not told this at all. This shows that stereotypes can even have a negative impact on ourselves if we buy into them. Running many listening sessions, I've heard black female colleagues talk about how they've been readily labeled as aggressive in conversation. While a white colleague, acting in the same way is deemed to be assertive. These labels are often based on stereotypes. This leads to groups and individuals being unfairly treated, overlooked, and discriminated against. In his book, Whistling Vivaldi, Claude Steele tells the story of Brent Staples, an African American man who used to walk the streets of Chicago, Whistling Vivaldi, a classical music piece to diffuse the stereotype that as a black man he was dangerous and to be feared. Stereotypes are all around us and impacts our judgment, choices, and decision-making. Pause for a moment. What are some of the stereotypes that you have fallen faulty? How might this be explored within your race conversation? Internalized beliefs is the starting point of racial inequity. As when beliefs solidify, it comes out in our actions towards others, into personal acts. In the next video, we'll explore this dimension further. 5. Interpersonal Factors: The second dimension on interpersonal acts. These acts often stem from the internal beliefs that we hold. They can be described as discriminatory acts against another individual group because of their race. These may be major, minor, intentional, or unintentional. Interpersonal acts are likely to be an area that we can have more impact on, and really speaks to how we relate to each other in a working environments. For our evident in many areas of the employee life cycle, it could be discriminatory language used towards a certain racial group, or it could be something less of that, such as assuming someone is not approachable because of how they look, or overlooking them for a team project. Researchers even shown that we are more likely to sit next to someone who looks more like us. This may seem innocuous, but on a daily basis our interpersonal acts can exclude and marginalize others. Understanding and managing the interpersonal factors can be a great step in making our organizations more inclusive. It is also important to know how they might impact our race conversations. These interpersonal acts are more widely referred to as microaggressions. Microaggressions is a term coined by Harvard professor Chester M. Pierce in 1970 to describe insults and dismissals to African Americans. As described by psychologists Derald Wing Sue, it is the brief everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their associated group. It is said that each day we receive thousands of micro-messages. It might be a raised eyebrow when we make a comment, or may be mispronounced or interruptions while we are speaking. These microaggressions hurt, they may seem small and trivial but the emotional psychological pain triggers the same sensors in the brain as when we experience physical pain. As a black male, I've experienced numerous microaggressions in my work. I was at a conference a few years ago with a number of other leadership coaches. On more than one occasion, I was complimented and told how well I've done to make it as a black coach. This may have been said with good intentions but the impacts was totally different. The micro-message here was that black people were not successful in this field or are different, or have exceeded their station. Microaggressions have the real power to exclude and make individuals feel isolated alone and unwelcome. This recent clip from PBS shows Harvard educated lawyer Bryan Stevenson give another example of the microaggressions that people of color often face. Finally, another in our brief but spectacular series, tonight attorney Bryan Stevenson a long-time advocate for criminal justice reform shares his thoughts on race and the legal system. I was doing a hearing in the Midwest. I had my suit and tie on. I was there early. It was the first time I'd been in that courtroom. I sat down at defense council's table as I always do and the judge walked in, and the judge said "Hey, you get back out there and you wait out there in the hallway until your lawyer gets here. I don't want any defendant sitting in my courtroom without their lawyer." I stood up and I said, "I'm sorry your honor, I didn't introduce myself. My name is Bryan Stevenson, I'm the lawyer." The judge started laughing, and the prosecutor started laughing and I made myself laugh because I didn't want to disadvantage my client. But afterwards I was thinking, what is it that when this judge saw a middle aged black man, it didn't even occur to him that man sitting at defense council's table was the lawyer. I worry about that Judge, I worry that he's sentencing defendant of color more harshly. I worried that he doesn't value and accept the testimony of black and brown witnesses the way he does other people. I worry that a narrative of racial difference compromises his ability to provide fair and just treatment of all people. All in all, awareness of these interpersonal factors are key if we are going to create a level playing field for all. Later on in the class, we will look at how we can counteract this in order to confidently and comfortably hold conversations about race. Interpersonal issues are likely to be an important topic to address in your conversations. It could be a great chance to allow people to reflect on microaggressions and how these can be eliminated in organizations. We're now going to look at the next dimension, institutional factors. 6. Institutional Factors: We are now going to look at the third dimension, institutional factors. These are the practices and policies that govern and set the culture for organizations. These practices allow behaviors that may be discriminatory to become accepted normal behavior. Institutional factors may show up in different processes, attitudes and behaviors. This may create discrimination through prejudice, ignorance, falseness, or racist stereotyping which disadvantage people of color. This is another layer on top of the interpersonal acts which we looked at earlier, which are based on person-to-person interactions. I recently worked with an organization who called me in to talk about their diversity and inclusion strategy. Through our conversation, they began to realize that their processes and procedures were not reflecting anything around inclusion, and they saw how this could potentially be a big reason why the organization was not very diverse. As we begin to look at this in more detail, it was clear that active action was needed to create equity as opposed to leaving things as they were and hoping that inclusion inequality would naturally happen. The impact of institutional factors may show up in many different ways. It made mean that hiring or promotion processes are not inclusive and create barriers for diverse talent. It could be that the institution penalizes individuals for not conforming to a dominant culture, often a Western-centric one, leading to individuals being or feeling excluded or passed over for career opportunities. The workforce is just one example of where institutional factors can create discrimination. Statistics from the Equality and Human Rights Commission show a grave picture around race inequality in a variety of different areas. It is apparent from V-stats that people of color have less access and benefits of education, health care, and living standards as well as employment. They are also disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. It can be difficult to unpick institutional factors. Many of the policies or structures that might create exclusion or division may not be overt or intentional. In the current age where we have regulation and laws to protect equality, it is easier to call out explicit discrimination. Where things are subtle or implicit, it is often hard for people to call out or drive change. They have arisen because of a system in place that has not always factored in the various rights, needs and challenges of different groups. The result of this is disparity in how different people are treated, supported, and impacted by how organizations work. The fact that this inequity is interwoven into the fabric of our institutions can lead to many people dismissing that it exists. For those who are successful over their organization or have not witnessed barriers related to race personally may feel that there is a fair playing field for all. However, if we were to explore and see the real impacts of various institutional procedures, it may become clearer that true equity does not always naturally appear. When planning for your race discussions, it may be interesting to explore how your organization policies are helping to create inclusion, and wherever there may still be policies creating barriers for different groups. In our next video, we will look at the final dimension of racial inequity, structural factors. 7. Structural Factors: The last dimension is for structural factors. This is where the effects of multiple institutions collectively holding discriminatory policies impacts society as a whole. These factors creates a system where there is clear disparity but no simple way or steps to fix it. Research on race and equity shows that one of the many mistakes we make in trying to solve it is thinking we can solve it on an individual basis. Structural factors are bigger than interpersonal acts or behaviors. They are policies and rules that a society are governed and bound by. They have been built on centuries of beliefs and actions, that have become embedded in how we see the world and how it actually works. These traditions and cultures stem deep into our history and have created inequality in living standards, access to opportunities, and affected the positions of different races, classes, and groups of people. We talked about institutional factors impacting employment, education, criminal justice, and health care. Put all of these together and the collective barriers, restrictions, inequities is what keeps the inequitable structures in place in society. Unless by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, for example, shows a disproportionate number of black people detained under the Mental Health Legislation Act, black employees earn 23.1 percent less on average than whites employees. Black people have a lot higher chance of being stopped and searched. In the UK, it's 40 times more. These are all examples of the impact of structural factors at play. For true equity to take place, the structural factors, the systems holding laws and rules in place need to be addressed. While we can't change this ourselves, awareness of it is crucial to understand the scale of what we're facing and work together as a whole to really make a change. There is a great image of what looks like a family watching a game over a fence to convey the impact of structural factors. The first section of the image shows everyone given the same box to see over a fence, even though it is not needed by all. This represents how equality addresses structural issues. Second section sees each person given a box relative to their size. This captures how equity addresses the structural factors. The next section shows the actual fence being removed rather than people being given boxes. This acknowledges the fact of the main issue being the structures in place, and until these are given focused attention, we will not have true equality and equity. Structural factors are like the fence that needs to be taken out. If you can see over the fence, you may not be aware of it being an obstacle, but if you can't see over it, it can be in your way in every aspect of your life, it's structural and fixed, and though there may be some workarounds to see over it, ultimately, we need to get to the real root and foundations to take it away. Again, take a moment to reflect on this and the impact this has on equity and inclusion. This too, could be a good conversational point when you hold your own discussion. Where were you seeing the impacts to structural factors? What impact does it have for us in getting to a fair and equitable working environment? Some groups or individuals may benefit from structural factors, while others will be held back. We will explore this in more detail in the next video as we look at the concept of privilege. 8. Privilege: Going through the different dimensions, it is clear to see how some groups have benefited from racial inequities, and others have been held back by it. This brings us to speak on the concepts of privilege. What is privilege? What makes it important for our discussions? Privilege can be defined as a special right, advantage, or immunity granted to, or available only to a particular person or group. A privileged group will likely not see or feel the inconvenience, impediments, or challenges that other groups may regularly face. The central point is, that when you have privilege, you really don't notice it, but when it's absent, it affects everything that you do. When planning for our race conversations, how we handle the message of privilege can be key. If not discussed in the right way, it can likely cause defensiveness, or extreme unease where people feel they are blamed for who they are. To help us have these conversations in a productive and non-judgmental environment, it is important to understand privilege and its impacts. Firstly, it's important to know that privilege can come in many different shapes and forms. Some of these privileges, may carry more weight than others. Also, a privilege in one type of environment may not necessarily mean it is a universal privilege. Take myself, I'm a black, heterosexual, cis-gendered, non-neurodivergent able-bodied male. I will have privilege because of some of these attributes, and also face discrimination due to some of these attributes. This might even change in different scenarios and environments. Other privileges we have, some might be earned through our work, talents, ability, or knowledge. While others have been bestowed to us just by being in a certain group. Peggy McIntosh, respected author an IND consultant, calls it the distinction between earn strength and honor and power. Also, being privileged does not mean that you do not have your own challenges or struggles. Even with privilege, we will have different obstacles that we face in our lives and careers. Privilege just means that you will face a challenge by virtue of being part of an associated group. Being privileged does not mean you are uncaring, or to blame for the misfortune of others. Is not something to feel guilt or shame about. It is about understanding what it is, where it shows up and the impact it can have on us in our organizations. In a context of racial inequity, having white privilege simply means that you will not face challenges or obstacles because of the color of your skin. It may be because of white privilege you have never been impacted negatively by the dimensions of racial inequity. In his book, Born a crime, Trevor Noah speaks about his life growing up in apartheid South Africa. At the time, everyone was clearly classified as either white, colored, or black. Based on your classification, you had clear privileges, whether it was what parts of town you can live in, schools you went to, or jobs you held. Meaning that different people of different races were all at very different starting points in life. We do not have classifications like this now, however, those privileges attributed to different groups still subtly linger. There may be circumstances where some groups enjoy an advantage over others. These privileges may show up at different parts in our organizations. If we are not aware of where and how privileged resides, it can have a skewed influence on many of our business decisions and processes. This includes retention, decisions, hiring, promotion, well-being, or even social interactions. In workshops I run, I will often read out a list of statements and ask if the group has experienced this or not. This could range from whether anyone has been stopped or searched, asked where they are really from, where they've been assumed to be more junior than they really are. It is always interesting to see the difference in responses between white employees and people of color. For those who had not noticed the differences before, see that there are distinct experiences being faced by colleagues simply because of the color of their skin. This might be an interesting exercise to try a new dialogue discussion, to see the various experiences people face, and where privilege shows up in our society and organizations. Awareness of this may allow you to understand and empathize with other colleagues who don't have these privileges. It may allow you to reflect more on how privilege is helping specific groups in your organization, and what we can do to ensure everyone gets for support and boost to succeed in their careers. It might be you don't have white privilege, and you have experienced discrimination or exclusion. This may be an important discussion topic for you to share the obstacles you have faced or are still facing. It could help shine a light on institutional, structural, or interpersonal acts still prevalent in your business or area. Understanding the concept of privilege can help us build confidence in talking more about race. We should look at it from a place of understanding, what it is, and where it shows up, taking a non-defensive, non-judgmental starts. This understanding can lead to better conversations, and give space to truly see how our colleagues are impacted by racial inequities. A key thing to think about with privilege, is how can we use our privilege to create a fairer working environment? This links to our next session. How do we play a role in creating racial equity? We're going to look at the role we can play and a journey from being a non-racist to an anti-racist. 9. Becoming An Anti Racist: We now have greater understanding of what racial inequity is and the impact it can have in our working environment. It's important to have this understanding to know what we have to do to push against it. In this video, we're going to look at the role we play in building equity and the journey to being an anti-racist. Firstly, let's define anti-racist. This is taking an active role in creating inclusion and equity. This is different from being a non-racist. As a non-racist, we're not necessarily making the discriminatory acts. We may not hold racist beliefs. However, we are doing nothing to stop this from happening around us. We don't call out those discriminatory actions or behaviors. Anti-racism is saying that we won't keep silent, that we will make a conscious effort to understand the racial issues and discrimination, and work to do something about it. It's not saying we will change everyone on our own, but it's acknowledging that silence or doing nothing is complicit with racial discrimination. The journey we embark on will enable us to become more confident in talking about race, build connection with others, and help us create an inclusive environment. In the next few videos, we will go through each zone of the anti-racist journey. These are the fear zone, learning zone, and the growth zone. As we go through each zone, be sure to reflect on which zone you are in. Think about the zone your team or organization might be in as well. Reflect on what steps may be needed in order to move forward in your journey. Wherever we are on a journey, there will always be an opportunity for greater growth and learning. Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to Be an Anti-racist, talks about an anti-racist needing to have persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination. This may also be an interesting discussion in your organization, finding out how people feel and the support they need based on the zone they are currently in. In the next video, we're going to explore the fear zone. 10. Fear Zone: In this video, we're going to explore a little bit more on what the fear zone looks like. Firstly, acknowledgment of being in the fear zone can be a real sign of strength. The starting point for moving forward in our journey is recognizing some of the feelings we have around the topic and the impact it is having on us. There have been many times in my career when I have been in the fear zone, where I've seen instances of inequity or bias but not addressed it. Sometimes for not knowing how to deal with it, other times for fear of what the consequences of addressing it might be. There are different aspects of being in the fear zone. This will look different to different people. It will also affect us in different ways. It may be that we are comfortable with the status quo remaining, though we might want to make a change or take a stance. The potential discomfort of making this change is a bigger worry for us. It may mean that as a result, we avoid difficult questions or conversations about racism. It may be that we are someone who denies that racism is a problem. The impact of being in the fear zone is that we do not make any steps for change. We become complicit in the racial discrimination taking place, whether that is directly towards us or others around us. The fear zone can stop us taking action. Do reflect on what the impact of being in the fear zone might have on your organization. Also, think about whether your organization might be in this zone and what the impact this might be having on inclusion, equity, and overall performance. In the next video, we will look at how we can move from the fear zone to the learning zone. 11. Learning Zone: In this video, we will look at the learning zone and how we can move into it from the fear zone. I was recently working with an organization where a senior member of a team did not feel that racism was a problem, they were firmly in the fear zone. However, through dialogue with other colleagues, reflection and gaining a deeper understanding of what systemic racism is, they have changed their initial stand. They're now looking at where they need to learn more and how they can help build initiatives that make a positive difference. In the learning zone, we recognize that racism is a current and present problem even if we don't feel it or see it for ourselves, well, even avoid the difficult conversation and questions, we begin to seek them out. In this zone, we are likely to begin to understand our privileges and see how they may be barriers for different groups based on their race. In the learning zone, we're finding resources that allow us to educate ourselves about structural racism. We are more aware of our biases and are open to listen to others who think and look differently to us in this zone. We are likely to uncover new insights and appreciate the different lived experiences of those around us. This zone may feel uncomfortable at times, we may be more aware of our gaps in knowledge, mistakes we have made in the past, or even become conscious of how far we still need to travel towards anti-racism. All of this is normal and to be expected. In our organization, there may be many areas where we will have to learn, unlearn, and relearn in terms of the role we can play to push for equity and to be aware of the barriers in our organization. It could be gaining greater awareness of our interactions at work with different groups of people while identifying where the business processes such as around hiring or promotion are inclusive. There are a lot of great resources available to help move us through the learning zone. It could be books, articles, podcasts, films, or talks. As we said at the start of this video, holding conversation with others and being around different people, ideas, and thoughts is a great way to increase our learning. The learning zone is a place for exploration and is key towards our journey to the growth zone. The growth zone is a zone we're going to be looking at next. 12. Growth Zone: In this video, we are going to look at the growth zone. In the growth zone, we are moving from the place of being silent or non-racist to taking action and being a real advocate for equity and anti-racist. In this zone, we have a greater awareness of ourselves and the environment we are working in. We are able to identify where we may have unknowingly benefited or been disadvantaged by racism. We promote an advocate for policies, leaderships, and initiatives that are anti-racist. We are able to have the uncomfortable conversations that racism can bring. We speak out when see see racism in action, and also educate those around us as to how racism can harm our industry and profession. We are well aware that we might make mistakes in the journey, however we do not allow this to stop ourselves from continued growth and learning. We create space for marginalized voices, but also not being afraid to share our own voice. In the growth zone, we surround ourselves with others who think and look differently to us. As there are always new opportunities for growth, there will never be a point where we should be saying we have made it. There's always an opportunity to have more impacts, advocate more, or create space for others, it is a continuous journey. I was recently working with a director of a medium-sized company, he spoke about how he has always supported inclusive initiatives. However, upon greater reflection he realized that there was more that he could do to push for equity and gain greater understanding of the issues people of color faced by connecting with groups and individuals different to him. As he done this, he began to see greater ways in which to create equity and challenge areas of the business which are not as inclusive as they could be. Holding conversations around race with different people is a key facet of the growth zone. It will build up our confidence and understanding and also create connection points with different people in our organization. It will help others to move into the growth zone as well. However, it is clear that many of us still find it difficult to have these conversations. In the next video, we'll look at the things that get in the way of having conversations about race and racial equity. 13. What Stops Conversation: We're now going to look at the things that might get in the way of us having a conversation about race. It is important to be aware of what might be blocking us, so we can manage our way through it appropriately. There are four main factors, why we tend to not have conversations about race. The first factor is fear. This maybe a fear of conflict, fear of saying the wrong thing or fear that a conversation may have an adverse effect on our relationship. The second factor that can stop us is the uncertainty around the outcome of a conversation, for example, around the different expectations in the room or the very reactions or behaviors we might receive from others. The third factor is our knowledge gaps on the topic. These gaps maybe real or perceived. This can cause concern for people on how to start the conversation, what to say, how to manage the conversation or move the group towards action. The fourth factor is unwillingness. This could be our unwillingness to engage, to be vulnerable, to hear other views, or share our own. It may be that just one of these factors are at play or many of them. The common theme for all of this is that race conversations bring about a threat to our identity. We all see ourselves as good people, knowledgeable people, wanting to do the right thing. This conversation can be difficult as we feel the potential risk of being in a space where we may get it wrong, where we might say the wrong thing, where we may come across as confrontational, uneducated, or even racist. There is the likelihood that polarized views and high emotions in these settings will exacerbate the real and perceived fears we often have. For a long time, race has being seen as a taboo subject to discuss in our organizations. Surveys have shown that in the past, people of all races have been uncomfortable talking about race. Early in my career, I had not felt comfortable talking about it either. I preferred to overlook issues, inequities, or areas of contention. I know firsthand the emotional and mental difficulty that comes with starting these conversations. I spent time working with an organization, where elements of these blockers were at play. Important issues were swept under the carpet and it had a negative impact on the working environment, energy, and productivity in the organization. There is clearly a long-term drawback of not having these conversations. It is perfectly normal for these conversations to feel uncomfortable. We shouldn't feel bad or guilty about this. However, it is important to understand the consequence of not pushing through that discomfort and talking about race and racial inequity. The inability to speak up and have conversations can lead to long-term issues, grievances, and conflicts. Black Box Thinking, a book by Matthew Syed, looks at situations where employees have not spoken up in such an important moment and shown the issues and complications that silence has led to. It is the same with race conversations. The starting point for true inclusion is dialogue. If we're not able to have this dialogue, the opportunity for growth, greater understanding, and connections are lost. This is a reason why the class project could be of great value for building confidence around having the conversation. Do reflect on your planning and how you can overcome any barriers for your conversation and how to get people comfortable discussing. Awareness of these barriers can be helpful in putting in place the right support or tools to help us through this. In the next video, we'll look at how we can overcome barriers and get to a position where we're comfortable having these conversations. This could range from a formerly managed race conversation to an informal conversation with colleagues in the office. 14. Making The Conversation Happen: In the last video, we acknowledged the difficulties in having conversations about race and racial inequity. However, the blockers cannot be enough to stop us from having them. We may not always get it right, as it's part of the learning and the growing. Great conversations are complicated, they are nuanced, and may need support and collaboration. In this video, we'll go through four simple keys to enable us to make the conversation happen, and overcome these challenges. For four keys we're going to touch on now are: making space, openness to learning, accountability, and role modeling. Making space acknowledges that race has had impact in your organization and society as a whole. It shows that we see the importance of allowing everyone to have a voice and contribute to playing a role in creating equity. Making space is not about forcing people to talk, it's also not about having a solution, it's creating an environment where people have an opportunity to discuss, listen, learn, and share. It is important as a leader to facilitate this space, creating opportunity for discussion, without putting a burden on anyone to share. Accountability is key as it goes back to the main point that we all have a role to play. We want everyone to take ownership and responsibility for their actions. When we do this, our conversations cease to be judgmental and instead enables collaboration and partnership, and a mindset of a need to work together and support each other. Openness to learn is about being open to different views, experiences, and resources that will give us greater understanding and awareness. When we're open, the worry about having knowledge gaps disappear and we see opportunity to move forward in our journey. I've worked with countless leaders and teams who have embraced their knowledge gaps, moved into this discomfort of new surroundings and new conversations. This helped them to deepen connections, perspectives, and sharpen tools for greater action. The fourth key, role modeling, is important in showing the right values and behaviors to help others along the journey. As we role model courage, vulnerability, and empathy, we set an example for others to follow. We want to display these characteristics, not just informal conversations, but in every aspect of our work. These four keys will help to build trust among colleagues and enable greater sharing and learning. It is not about having all the solutions, it's understanding that the conversation is a key part of the solution, and bringing people together, amplifying the voices that have been marginalized, and breaking down the internalized beliefs into personal acts, and institutional factors that are creating barriers for people. I facilitate to the wide range of race conversations when these four things are present, true learning and insights can be gained. It might not always be a smooth ride. I was in a session where a participant was visibly upset by something said in a room. Rather than gloss over it, this person was given space to share what had upset them. Afterwards, the person who had made the comment was given a chance to reflect and acknowledge another point of view. Powerfully, they shared the learning they had taken from this interaction. While you reflect on this, do think about your class project and how we can use these keys to help make the conversation happen. There is space in the workbook for any notes you may have on this. So we are in a position to have the conversation. The next video, we'll look at how we can hold the conversation, and ensure that it is an experience that allows for listening, learning, and action. 15. Holding The Conversation: In this video, we're going to look at how we can make great impact towards creating equity through our conversations on race. As we have said before, conversation is the starting point for creating equity and for building inclusion. The challenge of getting started is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. So if you are now in a position to hold this conversation, you have already made great strides. To hold a good conversation around race, it is important to clearly set the scene, encourage listening and learning, and have an action minded focus. It is important to set the scene so people are clear on the context and the objectives. We want this to be a safe, non-judgmental space for learning and sharing. Personalizing the situation for the specific group can also be helpful in doing this. Setting a scene could give us clarity and focus on the direction of travel. This helps to draw everyone towards the topic at hand. When I start these sessions, I may set the scene as to what I have been hearing around a business, what has been happening in the team or further afield. I also find out what everyone would like to get from the session in terms of outcome. Furthermore, I frame it as a space where everyone's views are welcomed and beneficial for the conversation. Do use this as an opportunity to think about your class project. There is space in your workbook for you to think about how you will set the scene for the conversation and any key objectives you may have for it. To get the most from these conversations, it is crucial that we actively listen to the views and experiences being shared around us. This is not just about listening to the content of what is said, but also the tone, body language, the emotions, the silences. This can be an emotive subject. There'll be many cues that will provide insight as to how people are feeling, places of challenge or opportunity, and how we can move forward to make a tangible difference. What we hear from others in this space can be pivotal. To draw from the experiences of the group, the questions we ask are going to be extremely important. Asking open-ended questions is a great way to do this. It might be questions such as, how are you feeling? How inclusive do you feel the organization is? How can we better support each other? Where are there opportunities for change? What are the main challenges we need to overcome? We want to be in a space where we are simply seeking to understand experiences, perspectives, and insights from around the room. In the workbook, there is space to put down questions you want to ask in this conversation. You may want to use some of the questions I have used or form your own remarks, or even use a mix of them. Through listening, we learn, through sharing, we learn. This is a learning environment. To really learn, there will be a need to show vulnerability and empathy to step forward, to give honest views and reflections, and also step back to allow other space to do so. There shouldn't be a burden on a particular individual or group to share. However, we do want to let the group understand that the more open we all are and the more views we hear, the greater the understanding we will have. I was working with a team who had never taken the time in the past to think about how their language alienated others. In this team, a conversation was held and members spoke about the impact of a language used on colleague connections, morale, and productivity. Team members learn not only how people felt, but the drivers and reasons for those feelings. The final thing to be aware of in holding a conversation is that we want to move towards action. This is different to finding a solution. When we are just thinking about a solution, we often cut off the opportunity, explore, and share. We just want a quick fix. Focus on action is about giving space for these important conversations while acknowledging that we want to take ownership and responsibility, and make steps towards change. If we only spend our time talking, at some point, things would seem meaningless as we are seeing no change. In the next video, we will spend more time focusing on taking action and how we can make a greater push for a change. 16. Taking Action: In this video, we are going to look at how we can keep our conversations going and ensure that our discussions lead to action to build racial equity in our organization. We are not going to be able to build equity overnight. Many of the issues we have looked at in this class, have been present as a result of years and decades of inequities being in place. While there has been work done to date to address this, there is still more to be done. Of course, the conversations we have on race is a form of action, where they're helpful in building understanding, awareness, connection, and alignment amongst colleagues. We can more readily see where we are on a journey to anti-racism, and as an organization as a whole. If we create space for regular conversations, we will gain more insights, learn more, and have access to more tools to make an impact and change. If we manage these conversations in the right way, we can naturally move from having structured race related dialogue to these conversations becoming a natural part of our working culture and communications. We want it to become organically woven into the fabric of our environment. That might be wherever we are discussing barriers, calling out interpersonal acts or ensuring that we are being inclusive, we're making various decisions involving our people. As you go through your planning, it may be helpful to think about if there have been any actions or initiatives in your organization that are helping to build equity. This could be a good reflection or talking point for your group. If it has not been much, it could be beneficial to think about allocating time for brainstorming ideas on what can be done to build inclusion, and how as individuals and a collective, we can play a greater role. For real action to take place, it is paramount that as an organization we all work together with everyone understanding the role they can play. Seth Godin in his book Tribes, talks about the power of having a collective focused on the same goal and objective. Where we have shared purpose, values, identity in energy, we can more readily implement changes to processes, policies, and behaviors in the organization. There are a number of initiatives that can work in building equity. Having regular conversation groups is a great starting action step. From here, we might create equity champions who have responsibility for driving change or keeping others to task around meeting set objectives around inclusion. It may be for initiatives, such as reverse mentoring or hiring panels to ensure bias is not impairing hiring decisions. It could be greater guidance around calling out microaggressions or plans to better use data to make fairer decisions. I have seen companies introduce new sponsorship programs for individuals who have not had access to these previously. It could just be actioning open door policies, so more people in the organization have access to senior leadership. This action could be ensuring that we involve a greater variety of people in significant work activities. Regular conversations can be a great way of checking in on progress and new initiatives and getting a sense of the impact they are having. It can also provide a forum where we can make personal and collective commitments to making a push for equity. It can be a constant place for supporting others in holding conversations of their own and challenging each other to look for new opportunities for conversations about race. There is a great opportunity for new learning, unlearning and relearning. Taking action is an important part of the process. However, it should not feel like a burden for you or those around you, rather a great opportunity to make a difference, to create an environment that allows everyone to thrive. Knowing that everyone in your organization can play a part in making positive change is a powerful thing. Bear in mind that this is a complex topic and we are all on a journey, it is likely that we may hit roadblocks, make mistakes, or experience tension or conflicts along the way. This is normal and a part of a learning and growth phase. Spending time to reflect on the challenges and using these as learning moments are crucial to getting to our eventual success. An exciting journey is ahead. If you are committed to action, steps towards greater equity can definitely be made. 17. Class Close: We have come to the end of our class. It has been a real pleasure working with you and going through the journey to push for greater equity in your organization. We've had the opportunity to go through the full building blocks of racial inequity and the impact this may have on our working environment. We have spent time looking at the role we can play in making positive change and going through the fear, learning, and growth zones in order to become an anti-racist. I also hope that you are more confident and comfortable in having conversations around race. This is a starting point for inclusion, and so many ideas, actions, and steps are likely to come from our conversations. Having looked at the things that might stop us having conversations, I hope we will more readily spot them if they arise and have strategies in place to overcome this. Go out and take those steps and have the conversation. We have covered several tools to help us to hold this successfully. Use your workbook as a guide and framework. It should now be full of great ideas, questions, and topical points which will engage, unite, support, and challenge your group. Creates space for listening, learning, and action. Please do post your projects to the project gallery. I would love to see the topics you'll be discussing, what you want to get from them, and the questions that you are planning on asking your group. Also, do feedback on how the sessions go and whether you are planning anymore. As a group, we can learn from each other and increase the value and power of our conversations. I wish you all the best with your continued planning for actual conversations and with the resultant actions. I'm sure we will take great strength in pushing for greater equity. I look forward to seeing you all in another class soon. Until then, take care. 18. Bonus - Poetic Summary: We've come to the end of the class. We've had the chance to focus on holding race conversations and building equity, and now we'll go over the key points with a poetic summary. So you feel ready to go full of energy, making a difference in many areas of your company. We've outlined the definition of racial inequity, where this is present we will always have tension, challenge, and disparity. The four building blocks are firm and hard to move. We've shone a light on them, uncovered some truth. The internalized beliefs affecting the choices we make, coloring the decisions we take. Bias is in us all, that's factually. No use denying it. We need to find the tools to solve for it. Be aware of the stereotypes that do not tell the whole story. Limiting the potential of individuals and groups when they ought to be given the same opportunities as everyone. Inter-personalized acts, the daily microaggressions, these lessons are important for us to learn so we can turn these behaviors around, change the policies, processes, and practices, creating institutional and structural inequity. It is clear to see that more needs to be done. We've understood what privilege really means. We know it's a subject to treat with care as privilege can show up anywhere. We debunk the myth, sharpen the focus. We can use our privilege to hold doors open for others to drive change and create advantage for all, however small, it can make a difference. We have reflected on where we are on our anti-racism journey, moving through the different zones, sphere, learning, growth, more aware of what might get in the way of having greater conversations. The hesitations that come from fear and uncertainty can be overcome. We can plug our knowledge gaps if we are willing, filling our industries with opportunity, building bridges and connection without apprehension. We can move closer if we want to to create space for marginalized voices. Openness is key. Accountability for our individual choices. Role model what we say and believe. When we can do these, the conversation will flow. We can set the scene, listen, learn, share, and grow. We have the tools in place, our conversation workbooks filled with inspiration, go out there and take action, and create inclusion in your organization.