what are you doing to advance racial justice? (plus win a free copy of Authentic Diversity)

Last week we talked about how companies can build more racially equitable workplaces — including an excerpt from Authentic Diversity: How to Change the Workplace for Good and an interview with the book’s author, Michelle Silverthorn.

Michelle and her publisher are giving away two copies of the audiobook version of the book to Ask a Manager readers.

To enter to win a free copy: Share in the comments one commitment you are making as an individual or as part of your company to advance racial justice.

Giveaway rules: Two winners will be selected at random. All entries must be posted below by Friday, February 5, at 11:59 p.m. ET. To win, you must fill out the email address section of the comment form so I can contact you if you win.

* I make a commission if you use that link.

{ 302 comments… read them below }

  1. MH HR Gal*

    I’m participating in a staff group at my company for systemic oppression and anti-racism, and will be reviewing our P&P to update old policies to make them more inclusive and equitable

  2. prickly_pear*

    I asked my company to stop asking for applicants’ full salary history (starting salary, ending salary, and bonuses at each job), since that perpetuates underpaying women and POC.

  3. Sci*

    I’m heading a new outreach project to highlight the accomplishments of BIPOC science workers & encouraging BIPOC youth to pursue STEM careers!

    1. Self Employed*

      Cool! One of the “green flags” about my thesis advisor was that he pursued grants and gave internships to BIPOC students interested in biology. I think his work is part of why my old campus is now kind of a “magnet campus” for BIPOC students in STEM. Thank you for doing this major outreach project–I’m sure a lot of those BIPOC science workers didn’t get credit because some white dude took credit for their discoveries/inventions.

      1. tiny angry mouse*

        Awesome to hear about your thesis advisor! Where was your old campus, if you don’t mind sharing?

  4. Justin*

    Well, I actually (as a side hustle) teach courses about decentering whiteness in organizations and my doctoral research is about decentering/dismantling whiteness in language teaching so this is sort of my whole thing. :)

          1. Justin*

            I commented with links to my work below, but, taking the risk of opening up a flame war, most organizations are racialized and center whiteness (either in personnel or epistemology/knowledge/thinking), so any anti-racism effort that vaguely fights an amorphous issue without focusing on centering/giving power to oppressed groups is likely to leave the status quo intact.

            It’s far more nuanced than that (and please, if people want to argue with me, follow the link to my website below and send me an email or tweet rather than having Opinions on Alison’s page), but this is the research and writing and (side)work I do.

          2. c_g2*

            Decentering Whiteness in a MultiracialSociety By Stephanie M. Patterson is one place to start (it suggests resources beyond that too).
            As I understand it decentering whiteness means not treating it as default. Sometimes that means acknowledging whiteness — i.e. “this medical research has been white focused/these policies have protected whiteness” so on. Other times it means specifically finding resources and viewpoints by POC. It means in conversations about race the priority should be listening and supporting POC — not centering white people feeling weird about it.
            I’m not sure that fully covers it but hope it gets you started.

          3. Abyssal*

            As a really shorthand example:

            Saying “Columbus discovered the Americas” (or even the slightly less egregiously wrong “the Vikings discovered the Americas”) centers whiteness — ie, the white experience of not knowing the Americas existed, and then finding out about them via white people arriving and talking about them.

            Decentering whiteness, in this example, means recognizing and teaching that neither Columbus nor the Vikings “discovered” a land that had already been occupied for millennia and hosted its own plethora of peoples and cultures, and additionally focusing the same kind of attention on those peoples and cultures that we give to studying the peoples and cultures of Europe.

            1. SyFyGeek*

              …”the white experience of not knowing the Americas existed, and then finding out about them via white people arriving and talking about them”…

              I am being serious, no sarcasm intended, but this has blown my mind. It’s as if the people living in North America – or anywhere- didn’t exist until a random white man and his ship full of random white men showed up on the shores.

                1. allathian*

                  And European ones, too. Although I guess an Eurocentric view is slightly more understandable if not acceptable here, given that we are Europeans. That said, I’m glad that schools here in the Nordic countries are at least recognizing the damage that the colonists did to indigenous cultures and people. I’m not sure if the same thing applies in countries like Spain and Portugal, where they celebrate the conquistadors as national heroes to this day. That said, even when I was in school in the 80s, we learned more about the lost civilizations in Central and South America than we did about our own indigenous Sami people. This is changing, though, and I’m glad.

            2. Self Employed*

              I was pleasantly surprised that a PBS documentary about Laura Ingalls Wilder spelled out how her books centered the white settler experience — of course it was OK for Pa Ingalls to just drive his covered wagon out of the designated US territory and make a farm in the middle of Indigenous territory, then be shocked, SHOCKED that the Indigenous people wanted the white folks to eff right off. The “antiquated language” about “savage Indians” and blackface minstrel shows that most people heard about when a children’s literature award was renamed is just the racist icing on the colonizers’ cake. Sure, let’s raise our children on warmhearted family memoirs about rugged individualism and manifest destiny.


              1. June First*

                I somehow did not know about this documentary, and now I really want to watch it for the “white settler experience” explanation! Little Town on the Prairie was my favorite growing up, and I believe that is the book with the blackface scene, complete with illustration.

                Oh, how we learn.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          The snark is not helpful.
          Please remember that Alison’s readers include many who do not use English as their first language. There are going to be people who have never had the need to consider some issues we discuss here. And, frankly, this website is likely to last long enough that somebody can use it to document how long ago a term came into common usage. Today a couple of readers did not know this use of the verb centering. Several people were able to answer off the bat. Much more helpful.

          1. Lies, damn lies and...*

            In Aquawoman’s defense, there is a persistent problem of white fold questioning bipoc fold who are doing the work, thus shifting the burden to them, instead of doing their own research. So while the comment may seem glib, this response is not inappropriate.

            1. Tix*

              It was an appropriate response to a needlessly snarky comment. Firstly we don’t even know what that commenter identifies as. Secondly, if someone asks what a term means, maybe they want to know what it means to that person. A google search wouldn’t answer that.

              1. Tinker*

                To tie this back to the general subject:

                The categorization here of what is an “appropriate response” and what is “needlessly snarky” implicitly rests on a model something akin to:

                — It’s a reasonable miscue for someone to come into a D&I conversation not knowing that asking questions that seem like they’re asking for basic definitions of concepts can, depending on the context, come off as reflecting passivity or passive-aggression regarding the concept. It is part of the normal experience to not know that, and one needs to be understanding that people do not always phrase things optimally in this matter. Being short with someone who does this is “needless”.

                — It is less of a reasonable miscue for someone to come into a D&I conversation with an extended and emotionally complex history with that sort of passive or passive-aggressive behavior and speak in a way that is not concerned for the feelings of someone who is genuinely unaware or bystanders whose inclination is to be understanding of unawareness. It is not part of the normal experience to have that history, and one does not need to be understanding that people do not always phrase things optimally in this matter. Scolding someone who does this is “appropriate”.

                That isn’t a universal truth, though — it’s one perspective, and it happens to be one that is implicitly reflective of non-marginalized experiences. From the marginalized perspective, it’s pretty common to frame this exchange in a way that the question is ‘needless’ and the snark is ‘appropriate’. Obviously there’s a bit of a conflict there. How do we resolve it?

                — We take the non-marginalized experience as the default. We’re *having* a D&I conversation but we’re not going to make changes in how we actually prioritize voices and experiences. Here’s your D&I T-shirt — available in unisex sizes!
                — We take the marginalized experience as the default. If you come into the conversation from a non-marginalized perspective, you need to be acting like a good student who is showing initiative, listening to the teacher, and doing the homework.
                — We see both of these experiences as being within the range of what we reasonably expect to encounter and accommodate. People who come into the conversation apparently ignorant of some or another point are better received with patience (the work here is the responsibility of allies) — people who come into the conversation with accumulated salt are better received in an understanding way as well.

                I’d suggest that when we’re not doing the middle option for some reason, we probably want to go more in the direction of the last than the first one.

              2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

                Yes, and also, “center” is a rather common word and research that’s obscure enough that not everybody is half-way familiar with the core jargon might get elbowed out by medical centers, leisure centers and goodness knows what .

          2. littledoctor*

            I mean, English is also not my first language, or indeed my second or third, and yet I am able to Google phrases. If one googles “decentering whiteness”, one finds a large number of articles explaining what that is.

            I can’t blame someone for being hesitant to answer questions that do come across as sealioning, especially given what a shitshow discussion of this book has been on here.

        2. ...Or Not*

          It might be worth noting here that Google doesn’t always return the same results to everyone. Depending on my search history, what I get as results for an issue like “decentering whiteness” could lean for or against. Asking direct questions about someone’s work is going to be a much more reliable source of correct information than Google results, which could contain a lot of nuance and bias.

      1. ThatGirl*

        It means what it sounds like? not assuming “white” = “normal” — which, the more you see it, and the more you investigate it, is freaking everywhere. It means listening to BIPOC and not talking over them or assuming you know more than they do about their own experiences. It means … a lot of things in practicality, but the big overarching one is exactly that: not centering whiteness.

      2. JSPA*

        To “center” something is to treat it as the norm. And to speak from the viewpoint that it’s as close to universal experience as we’re going to get, so it might as well be used as a reference point. Other ways of being, doing, seeing are then described as if the descriptor came from a “neutral” viewpoint.

        Result: Non-white experiences and facts of life are presented as exotic, or challenging, or refreshing, or different, or threatening–but not as normal things that normal people normally deal with.

        Note that the opinion can be positive, negative or neutral. The commonality is, the narrative voice (the “implied we”) is always pointing out that this is outside everyday experience. And that “people who experience this unusual thing as normal” are not part of “we.”

        For example, say there’s a policy change to allow short beards, to reduce the misery of Pseudofolliculitis barbae (razor bumps) within your workforce.

        If your message goes out as, “as people start to recognize the medical problems caused by a strict ‘no beards’ requirement,”


        it’s still good you’re making the change in policy.

        But here’s the real context:
        SOME people come from groups where they could be unaware of this issue.
        SOME people come from groups where there’s no mystery to this fact of life (except for the mystery of why workplaces continue to equate “presentable” with a form of grooming that’s medically problematic in ways that correlate strongly with the tight curl / kink factor of one’s hair.)

        It’s not great that “people” here effectively means, “people who were not already aware that this is an incredibly common problem among groups with tightly curled or kinked facial hair, as well as a more sporadic problem among other groups.”

        What’s coded in the grammar of this message is, “the in-group that I speak for and write for has been unaware of things that black people know about. But we now want to be welcoming to people who are DIFFERENT! We recently found out about the shaving thing, and we’re so excited to make things easier for you people. Managers, I know some of you don’t get this, because why would you, but it’s a real thing (honestly ,who knew?), and we need you to be on board.”

        And, why? You don’t need to assure people who don’t know that it’s OK that they didn’t know–or assume that they didn’t know–to let them know what’s up.

        Anything that states or grammatically implies that managers / average people / normal people / we ] would of course not normally know about [topic in question*] centers a very specific sort of “we”–and that “we,” in corporate America, has traditionally been white, male (with exceptions for specific jobs), het, cis, Protestant (with exceptions for certain regions).

        Same for “Hanukkah, it’s the Jewish Christmas!” or any other, “I’m explaining a thing in terms of what it resembles in my frame of reference, plus including the assumption that this is a neutral, normal and universally understood frame of reference.”

        *Literally anything. Holidays and Holy days: Kwanzaa, Holi, Eid, Saint’s days, Dia de los muertos, Yom Kippur, Chinese New Year. Hair: hair oil, locs, braids, rows, picks, frizz, wigs, extensions (or even the differing implications of getting one’s hair wet or muddy or otherwise dirty in a team-building exercise). Cultural, religious and personal clothing preferences and needs: level of body coverage vs exposure, cling vs. shapelessness in clothing, chest binders, having a chest that’s visibly female, Temple Garments, Tzitzit, Janeu.

          1. JSPA*

            Eh, call it penance work.

            At least some of the shorthand for these issues didn’t exist when I was in HS and College (nor did the internet). I’m drawing, here, on too long a list of my own past patterns and assumptions that nobody, back then (roommates, friends, friends of roommates, roommates of friends) could free me of. Not until I was ready to hear their “who’s this ‘we’ you’re talking about?” in retrospect (with full retroactive remorse).

            Having terminology and a philosophical framework really does help, especially for those of us who are [Aspie enough, sheltered enough, entitled enough or some combination thereof] to assume that most people’s philosophical grounding, rational processes and situational awareness are roughly carbon copies of our own, plus or minus some details that don’t really matter (because hey, we’re all human).

        1. MsPepper*

          The concrete example here is so helpful.

          How would you suggest rewording the example (beard policy)? Or will it depend on circumstance or some other factor?

          1. Self Employed*

            I am not an equity expert, but perhaps a more neutral framing would simply be “The dress code prohibition against beards is being updated to permit short, well-groomed beards because those are equally professional by today’s standards.”

    1. Justin*

      Since people are asking, all my work (both these classes and my writing) are at https://jpbgerald.com/public-scholarship/, which includes the podcast and the articles and so forth, all of which are related to these themes.

      For info about whiteness/racism/language teaching, aside from my own work, please do check out the work of Nelson Flores, Jonathan Rosa, Ryuko Kubota (who I presented just before) at a conference two weeks ago), etc.

    2. Philly Redhead*

      That’s awesome. There’s a group of parents at my son’s school who are pushing the Board to reevaluate the curriculum to decenter whiteness.

      1. The Original K.*

        I had a (white) English teacher who expressly structured and taught her classes with that goal in mind. She was excellent.

      2. Lana Kane*

        I’m a parent representative for my school district’s initiative to choose a new social studies curriculum that decenters whiteness and teaches with a decolonization mindset. I am so excited that this is starting to happen in this country.

  5. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

    This happened to me a while ago at work, maybe this example works:

    I was showing a coworker a few of my matches on Bumble while we were idling at the coffee machine. One of them was a Japanese-American man. The following exchange occurs:

    Racist Moron: I just don’t think Asians [ie Asian men] are attractive.
    Me: …that’s very racist, unless you’ve met every single Asian man in the world, which I’m guessing you haven’t?
    RM: That’s not what I meant!
    Me: It’s what you said, though. It was racist, please don’t say something like that again, and particularly not around me.

    I then go back to my desk thinking much less of RM. RM has a temper tantrum and goes to HR. We’re both called into a meeting… with a POC HR rep. The look on RM’s face as we both walked in was… *chef’s kiss* HR rep hears both sides, tells RM that she did in fact say something very racist, and that I had not done anything wrong or cruel to her by saying so. RM gets a note in her file, mine stays clean.

    All of which is to say: don’t try to make racist morons comfortable when they say racist things. Tell them they are wrong, do not give them an inch. Actual consequences and scorn work WONDERS.

    1. AndersonDarling*

      I’m imagining RM running to HR like he was running to mommy, arms waving in a meltdown.
      “But she told me I said something racist when I only meant to say something mean! Make her apologize! Waaaaah!”

      1. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

        “I put my racism in a more socially acceptable wrapper, doesn’t that count for ANYTHING??” *cries*

    2. DriverB*

      It’s the generalized disapproval of ‘Asians’ and the trope that Asian men are unattractive/less masculine that makes RM’s statement racist, not anything to do with women offering themselves sexually. I’m confused as to what you are trying to say here.

      1. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

        It’s just “all Asians look alike!” placed in a slightly more socially acceptable wrapper.

  6. Aquawoman*

    I suggested that we consider paid legal work as possibly equivalent to law journal experience because people who need to support themselves through law school may not have time to participate in a law journal.

    1. Nerdgal*

      Yes! Years ago I interviewed a college grad who had basically no extracurricular. Turns out she was caring for her younger brother so their mother could work the swing shift. I alerted HR, we hired her, she was a good employee.

  7. Zoom*

    Our last hire to our team was more diverse and we’re working with recruiting to expand our applicant pool and reach out with a wider net for our next one. Also continuing to ask more and more pressing questions at our all hands (I’m at a very very legacy type of place. Things move incredibly slow here)

    1. Observer*

      May I suggest not calling a PERSON “diverse”? Diverse is not a word that should be used for individuals. And when it’s used in this context it can be quite dehumanizing. At best, it comes off as treating DEI issues are mere check boxes.

      I don’t want to nitpick language, but this one is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

      Here is the Merrim Webster definition of “diverse”
      Definition of diverse

      1 : differing from one another : unlike people with diverse interests
      2 : composed of distinct or unlike elements or qualities a diverse population

      1. Tom*

        Nitpicking language is not really the way to go here. This person is making a good faith effort to combat racism and your only takeaway is his grammar considering current events and the rise of racism. Round and round we go with the circular firing squad.

        1. Who moved my cheese?*

          Hello! Is there room to say:

          -You are making an awesome effort to combat racism, keep up the good work!
          -Going forward, try not to call individual people “diverse” – they’re not diverse, but your team is more diverse now!

          ie, both?

          1. Boof*

            This is the best way; assume good faith and then offer further suggestions with the stated goal of furthering anti-racism in the workplace

        2. Observer*

          No, it’s not “just”.

          The use of language is powerful. When you use language that diminishes someone’s personhood, that IS a problem. I get that @zoom is making a good faith effort. But if they are serious about it, the work needs to be done in a way that actually supports people. And that includes not treating people like “exotic specimen” vs “regular staff member with different experiences that shapes their worldview.”

          I do know that I’ve heard / seen a number ber of BIPOC people make the same complaint. The first time I heard someone complain about being called “diverse” it really resonated.

        3. Tinker*

          The person you’re responding to, as well, is making a good faith effort to combat racism, and your only takeaway, as well, is uniformly critical. Unlike the comment that you’re responding to, though, rather than using a softening phrase — disclaiming their criticism as partly a personal quirk — the phrasing here rather has the reverse tone, characterizing the conduct you’re criticizing in an explicitly derogatory way.

          I think calling for niceness can be useful, but given the existing implicit skew of how people perceive things it’s easy in practice to fall into the trap of expecting the people who are “asking for a favor” (that isn’t actually a favor) to be more deferential and judging them more harshly than equivalently-behaving peers.

  8. Student Affairs Sally*

    I work in higher ed at a small, predominantly white college in a very rural area. One of my main projects is developing a First-year Experience course for our campus, and we need to cover a lot in only 2 credit hours, but one of the biggest things I want to focus on are the concepts of identity, intersectionality, and privilege. Many of our students are low-income so they may struggle with the idea of having “privilege”, so I really want to approach it from the perspective of intersectionality. We will be reading an excerpt from How to Be an Anti-Racist (I wish we could do the whole book but there just isn’t time) and some other really powerful readings on these topics. The course is generally going to be discussion-heavy and we will be doing a lot of work in the beginning of (and throughout) the semester around norms for respectful discussion and dissension. I’m hoping that this course can be a “primer” on diversity and inclusion issues (as well as all the other things we’ll be covering) that they can build on throughout the rest of their educational career and lives.

    1. Captain Raymond Holt*

      My background is very similar to the students you likely teach. First generation, low income, rural college student and I attended a rural SLAC. I can definitely see how students would be resistant to the idea of having privilege, especially if they’ve been poor all their lives. One book I’d recommend you read is “The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker” by Cathy Kramer. It gives a good theory of rural resentment and how rural identity plays out in politics. I think it could help your students understand themselves more.

      1. Student Affairs Sally*

        Thanks, I will definitely look into this!

        Also I love your username. Can I call you Velvet Thunder?

    2. Nesprin*

      I highly suggest John Scalzi’s lowest difficulty setting- it’s a great short piece on privilege using the language of video games. It’s helped me get thru to some of the most recalcitrant sorts.

  9. LTL*

    “To enter to win a free copy: Share in the comments one commitment you are making as an individual or as part of your company to advance racial justice.”

    I understand the intention, but is this a fair ask of POC? Not all AAM commentators are white.

    1. Pop*

      As a biracial person, I would also have no problem answering something like “I will continue to have difficult conversations about race and identity as part of my daily existence because it is necessary for my survival.” A lot of us are forced to do this work all of the time, and sometimes highlighting that we truly have no choice in it is eye-opening for white people. I obviously don’t speak for all POC (and don’t really identify with that label myself – I’m pretty light skinned) but this doesn’t feel like a burdensome question to me.

    2. Pop*

      Additionally, LTL, may I ask if you identify as a POC? Given the topic, I suspect if you were you may have noted that in your comment. If you’re not, this is a great example of how to not coming in with white experiences and making assumptions about what POC need without listening to them. (And if you’re not white, my apologies – we all experience things differently and are not a monolith. Just one read on the situation.)

      1. LTL*

        I don’t call myself a person of color because I have some issues with the term POC (though I still use it because it’s common, easy to understand, and, by and large, most POC seem fine with it). But I’m brown.

        I guess I found that the question has the potential to be off-putting for people who are actively dealing with prejudice with work. Sometimes we fight for ourselves. Sometimes, we keep our heads down and look to move elsewhere. There’s no shame in that. It’s not our responsibility to fix a culture that mistreats us. I guess that’s what I was trying to get at. Someone who has decided to keep their head down and move on ASAP for their own sanity wouldn’t be able to answer this question.

        I suppose it also struck a chord with me since I’ve been unemployed for some time now. Lately, I’ve really been wondering how much prejudice has played into that. The powerlessness I’ve been feeling lately might be coloring my viewpoint. My personal aim has been self-awareness to integrate an anti-racist mindset. But at work? My gut reaction to the question is “there’s nothing I can do.”

        1. JSPA*

          “Self-awareness to integrate an anti-racist mindset” and a commitment to moving on ASAP when you’re in a racist setting (thus rewarding a better employer with your talents) and “picking my battles” are all actions that foster a better the workplace.

          This particular competition is set up to generate a list of useful actions. We all win by reading this list, whether or not we’re currently in a place where we can incorporate the ideas. Plus, someone who is in a position to make change (as well as, dedicated to making change) gets a book they might otherwise not buy. It’s not meant to be a gift for the “best” person, but rather, a tool for the person who can best put it to use, here and now. I’m not that person right now. You’re not the person right now. That’s…OK?

          It would be great to also have a giveaway of a book on surviving racist workplaces or remaining functional and personally positive amid racist miasma. I’m not sure what would best fit the bill. Working Identity is more an analysis than a prescriptive guide. Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit is also a “what is,” not a “how to.”

      2. Jeb*

        I think asking if you are POC or white is the wrong approach considering that there are many biracial and multiracial people. Color is a spectrum more than anything and trying to put people in a binary erases a part of their existence.

        1. MJ*

          Biracial and multiracial people are absolutely POC (if they’re comfortable IDing that way). Suggesting they’re not plays into some really problematic issues that multiracial people specifically experience (i.e. not white enough to be considered white but not [other ethnicity] enough to be considered [other ethnicity] either).

    3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      The winners will be chosen randomly (I expect this will be a digital version of pulling names out of a hat) so as I understand it, you could probably just put something like “I try to set an example” and you’ll be in the running. We’re not being judged on the merit of the corporate diversity awareness courses we’re setting up ;-)

  10. If I don't win, I'm still buying the book because it's important... but I still hope I win*

    I’m committing to have honest conversations that point out microagressions and internal bias. It’s an exercise in courage, which is hard. But I’m hoping to create a safe environment where people feel comfortable initiating and participating in those conversations.

  11. bunniferous*

    I call out racial injustice when I see it-and I also listen to diverse voices and believe what they tell me. Which should be the default but sadly it seems to be not that common. I also would like to shout out that both the business I work for and the company that represents the government entity that we work with are absolutely committed to workplace diversity and it shows.

  12. Busy Bee*

    Elementary art teacher here. I make a point to share many BIPOC artists, especially Black artists, with my students and have conversations about how minority artists have not (and still aren’t!) given the recognition they deserve for their artistic work due to institutional racism. I also think it’s important to share contemporary Black artists who are creating amazing work right now!

  13. RedinSC*

    Personally, I’ve committed to reading/learning about racism and what I can do via a daily anti-racism newsletter that started up this summer. I’m learning a lot.

    Professionally at work we’ve been working on a diversity plan for our board for several years and we’re getting better. We have also established a board level working group that does include staff who are looking into several things, but primary goal is to identify and hire a contractor to help with our DEIB work, because we know we can’t do it without help and guidance. DEIB will be a significant portion of our upcoming strategic plan.

      1. RedinSC*

        It’s called antiracism daily and it’s written, moderated by Nicole Cardoza. She and her contributors have provided a lot of material for me to think about, as well as concrete steps people can take to confront racism.

  14. Philly Redhead*

    I am going to ask my company to look at where they currently advertise new positions, and to look into new places and methods to expand our candidate pool to include more diverse candidates.

    1. RedinSC*

      we did that, and we also analyzed the language we use to make sure it’s not sending a “don’t apply here” vibe for people with non traditional backgrounds.

      1. Who moved my cheese?*

        Can you share some of the updates you made? I’d love a post about this from Alison or a link if she’s already done one

        1. RedinSC*

          Sorry, just saw this. Easiest one is to update the educational expectations. If you need someone with a bachelors degree, also include “or relevant experience” . There are on line language analyzers, they can tell you if your text is too male or too female, too formal. We had an “outside the industry” individual examine for buzz words or jargon.

  15. Sangamo Girl*

    I have made, and acted on, a commitment to no longer stay silent and call out racist words and actions with no more excuses. If someone shows you who they are, believe them and act accordingly.

    1. AndersonDarling*

      I need to find some role playing videos where I can see people walking through these scenarios. I sure hope I would be able to speak up, but I honestly don’t know if I have the right words.
      So my contribution is to learn how to speak up!

  16. MMMMmmmmmmmMMM*

    I use to detest writing diversity statements, because lets be honest, I’m a upper-middle class white lady. I’m… not diverse? And for the longest time, I thought these statements would be how I would contribute to the actual diversity of the institution. And that was difficult, because when you get down to it… I won’t!
    It wasn’t until I took a course about how to be more inclusive in the classroom environment and it clicked. I may not contribute directly to the “diversity numbers” but I can definitely use my privilege to create a more inclusive and welcoming classroom, whether that be fore BIPOC students, those with learning disabilities, or whatever.

    1. ThatGirl*

      Yep. I’m a decently well-off white lady approaching middle age. I’m seen as non-threatening in almost every way. And because of that, I can use my privilege to amplify marginalized voices and promote inclusion — and you can go beyond just inside the classroom to in your workplace and society at large, to speak up when you see something happening, etc.

      1. Self Employed*

        I just applied for a local “transportation equity” board and my answer included something along the lines of “providing visible support for input from BIPOC because sometimes white people need to see another white person supporting BIPOC ideas.”

      2. Mookie*

        I’m a poor white lady also approaching middle age and I beg to disagree! I find white women as a class very intimidating even if I’m rarely on the receiving end by virtue of my whiteness and gender. It’s an almost inescapable fact of life for people of color, but only as an adult did I begin to understand precisely how simultaneously terrorizing in effect but banal in display that behavior we now call, amongst other things, Karening is, for example.

        I remember as a child thinking this lordly, territorial Hark Bring Me Your Manager attitude inserted into the public sphere to be wielded as though one’s interlocutor was a naughty child, a servant, or some interloper who didn’t belong wherever we were uncomfortable and confrontational and an obvious expression of racism and classism given the typical target, but I didn’t catch onto the perils of navigating these interactions nor the anxiety that, at any time, one could be targeted for disapproval, intimidation, and even violence by the kind of women we’re supposed to regard as “non threatening,” even while they’re trying to sic managers, bosses, cops, or adjacent white men onto the people they think they have a right to police, interrogate, bully, or direct orders to.

        It’s changed the way I interact with strangers and how I conduct myself at work. While most large crowds don’t lack for them, I don’t automatically seek out another white woman for casual socializing, I watch my tongue around the ones I don’t know well and try not to get too invested in cultivating an acquaintance, and generally try to exercise caution against thinking or acting in terms of a presumed solidarity there. I don’t go around being extra paranoid about the secret motivations of the white women around me, I just don’t fool myself into forgetting that whiteness can be weaponized in many ways and nothing precludes women as women from abusing advantages or wielding institutional bias in their own favor. Lotta blindspots and reactionary, uncritical thinking in white communities, including by little old grannies.

  17. Jules*

    I am actively trying to call out racism at work when I see it happen. A member of our HR department asked one of our Black employees who they should feature for our Black History Month bulletin board. She handled her own, but I was ready to jump in if she needed it. I don’t want to come across as a white-savior type but I’m trying really hard to support people when they need it. Being a junior member of the HR team I was absolutely appalled. Honestly, if I won the book, I’d probably give it to him!

  18. Old Millenial*

    I work in HR for a very white and male company. Three of us are working on DEI initiatives for the first time in the company’s history (they’ve been around 80+ years). Our recruiter is also working on hiring initiatives to attract and retain more BIPOC candidates as they are notoriously underrepresented in our industry. There are a lot of hurdles, but thankfully the CEO is very supportive of us doing this.

  19. Gabriela*

    I joined the staff DEI committee and am hosting a town hall with the entire staff in a couple of weeks to discuss best practices for creating a welcoming community.

  20. Rina*

    I am rethinking our applicant screening criteria and whether it has been putting BIPOC candidates at a disadvantage. I’ve made changes to our “objective” rubric to account for different kinds of valuable experiences.

    1. AndersonDarling*

      I just went through a hiring process where my name was removed from my resume and it wasn’t given to the hiring manager until after he selected the candidates to interview. He learned my name when the interview meeting invite was sent so gender/ethnic sounding names would have no influence.
      So simple, but so powerful.

  21. SeluciaMD*

    I work for county government and secured funding for intensive training for leadership across every department/agency on race equity and the power of culture so we can make our county government a safe and equitable place for POC to work. (We have lots of work to do on this – this was just a necessary first step.)

    1. Ann Perkins Knope*

      I also work for County Government and would love to hear what kind of funding you applied for (if applicable – I’m in PA)!

  22. pinyata*

    My department has a list of projects that will help to decenter whiteness in our work (libraries and archives field) and we’ve begun work on these, not to “check off a box” but to deliberately and thoughtfully refocus and eventually change our work culture to be more inclusive. I’m also part of a white affinity group that meets monthly to keep ourselves accountable, talk about issues at the workplace, readings, etc.

  23. lindsay*

    Interrogating my own internalized white supremacy personally, and thinking about where and how I can make opportunities for BIPOC employees and step back from opportunities that doesn’t need a white person all in it.

  24. snarkarina*

    In my personal life I am using my white voice and white privilege to call out other white people when they are behavior inappropriate.

    At work, we are taking a serious look at equity in conferences and other events and ensuring our panels and speakers include voices from communities that are often underrepresented.

  25. knitcrazybooknut*

    My union has put together Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, and we recently created a statement on our union’s stance on DEI. Our larger organization was so impressed with the statement that they want to use it in their work as well. I’m also leading a book club that’s a subset of the committee.

    I’ve also been thinking about my occasional use of Black Vernacular English, and realizing (with help from various articles) that, as a white American, I am using someone else’s culture without incurring any penalty in the larger culture for doing so. I am also not affiliated with anyone or any part of that culture. It’s not mine to use.

    (I really wanted to say Translucent American, but that’s my sense of humor which doesn’t quite fit my feelings about this subject.)

  26. GIS Without a Map*

    Unless the situation calls for speaking up or otherwise acting, such as some overt racist or misogynist language or incident- I don’t really say anything. That doesn’t mean I don’t do anything. I do my best to listen. I’ve learned over time that it’s very easy (and common) for a white male like me, to somehow make the conversation about me. A lot of the time, the best thing I can do is shut up and listen, take someone seriously and not apply my experience to their life.

    I’m in kind of an unusual situation regarding this and workplaces though. I’m currently temping at an organization devoted to working on problems related racial inequality in my area. So I haven’t seen anything in my current workplace to speak up about. But there are plenty of people to listen to.

  27. PivotPivot*

    I have joined an initiative that my company has organized, called Respect, Equity, and Inclusion. My subcommittee is dealing with those aspects but specifically in education and training. Right now we are in the building phase, but I am encouraged by enthusiasm of the C Suite with what we have done so far.

  28. Alara*

    My husband is an elementary school librarian for a Title 1 school. We purchase diverse books and donate them. Representation matters, especially for kids who should be able to see themselves in all books, not just books about slavery or the civil rights movement.

    At work, I have been challenging my department head to consider diversity in drafting our goals. So far, we’ve made a couple of changes that I think make it a more intentionally welcoming environment.

  29. Higher ed admin*

    This fall, I joined my department’s DEI committee. It has been tough so far, but I am optimistic that changes we are proposing can change our department’s climate for the better!

  30. OyHiOh*

    One of the many hats I wear is managing our organization’s social media. I’m making a consistent point to make BIPOC (and LGBTQ+, female, and non Christian) voices in our region and area of work visible on our social media platforms.

  31. Professional Cat Herder*

    I have committed to diversifying my “feed” (all types of media: books, blogs, social media accounts, tv, movies, etc.). I’m personally a huge policy wonk, so I also volunteered for a forthcoming working group that’s going to be reexamining our employee handbook & HR policies as part of our org’s newly redoubled DEI initiatives.

  32. Annimal*

    Last year I started a national white accomplices/allies group to discuss how white people and institutions in the performing arts field can be more intentionally antiracist. We’ve done a lot of personal examinations and discussions of white supremacy culture in the workplace, and ways we can address those cultural touchpoints in our individual circles or organizations. It’s been amazing! We just lead a 200 person meeting at an annual international conference, so it also feels like we’re making some headway on just having the conversation.

  33. Dr of Laboratoria*

    Two things –
    1. I run the Facebook accounts for two of our departments, and make the pictures I use as diverse as possible. I want people to know that my org serves everyone.

    2. Since I work in a medical field, I talk about generational trauma with doctors, lack of access to care, checking our ideas of people with “different” names or backgrounds at the door, whenever the situation arises. For example, I was chatting with a member staff and shared about this with someone who had an appointment with our org that was a POC.

  34. Pierre Delecto*

    I can’t point to anything specific as my current role is not directly related to advancing racial justice but I write educational pieces for a reasonably well known website that are applicable to everyone and I am currently working on pieces that can help reduce expenses which if adopted can incidentally help low income families reduce expenses by a higher percentage than wealthier families.
    From what I understand about the pay structure, my employer pays the same rate to all employees in the same postion, so there are no racial or gender disparities in income. And we do cover gender and racial issues and our employees are racially and gender diverse, though I do not have access to exact numbers.

    1. Pierre Delecto*

      As for commitment I am already working on avenues (outside work) that I don’t wish to discuss as it would deanonymize me but I can attempt to be more explicit in my work about how facets discussed can help racial and gender inequity.

  35. Superb Owl*

    One small thing that I’ve committed to doing personally is to respond to random networking requests from BIPOC on LinkedIn. Formal and informal networking is a major way into opportunities and certainly a way that I know my white privilege has manifested.

    Something my organization does that would be great for more to do is to require getting quotes from Minority/Women-Owned Businesses (MBE, WBE) as part of the procurement process. It’s often a challenge, but it absolutely brings opportunities to minority business owners (and challenges larger companies to commit to diversity or bring on MWBE subcontractors in our competitive RFP process for larger purposes)

    1. Self Employed*

      Thank you for requiring quotes from MBE and WBE! I’m taking some small business classes, and there’s a website you can search for businesses certified as MBE, WBE, etc. by the SBA. The user interface is rather antiquated, but it works.


      There are also private certification organizations that charge high fees to certify MBE, WBE and offer a directory of large corporations that are seeking small businesses as suppliers. If you are a buyer for a large corporation that wants to use MBE and WBE suppliers, and you restrict your search to those private certification firms or require those certifications over SBA certification, you are probably overlooking a LOT of businesses that aren’t going to spend $500-$1500 for a certification the Federal government gives them for free.

  36. Sleepy Librarian*

    I work at a library as a children’s librarian and we are looking at all of our programs and services through a DEI lens. We have offered programs for parents about talking to children about race, and are making changes to our storytimes so that we are talking about race and celebrating differences in storytime and other programs with children.

  37. Keymaster of Gozer*

    It’s a project I’ve drafted up for our current business. I’ve scoped out the software and modifications needed to do it, got a few devs to help with coding the integration into our current HR/recruitment system (same database) and am waiting for budget approval.

    The project: to generate non-racially-obvious and non-gender-obvious names for incoming job applications so that the pick of CVs for interview are less likely to suffer from bias.

    The HR system and managers will only get access to the applicants real name once they’ve been selected for interview. If they back out at this point upon learning the name they have to enter a reason into the database and that note is subject to review.

    Will likely take a few months of coding and testing, and a few more months of training management and HR to use it. A lot of work ahead assuming we get the money.

    1. I edit everything*

      I love this. I remember hearing about an orchestra that auditioned musicians sitting behind a screen, so those listening couldn’t see gender, race, appearance, etc. It markedly changed the makeup of the orchestra.

      1. Wandering*

        Some also use a carpeted path to the music stand (& chair, as appropriate) so that the auditioners can’t hear if the candidate is wearing heels.

    2. Betty*

      Is there a benefit to assigning new names instead of removing candidate name/gender signifiers and/or assigning some other identifier like unique ID number?

      1. Roci*

        Agreed, I’m not sure what kind of name does not signify anything about gender, race, or culture. I’d be interested in seeing how to do this in a way that doesn’t compound the issue of “certain identifier=default”.

    3. Dr. Doll*

      The last two times I hired a team member I had HR redact names and other identity, er, identifiers. It helped immensely for me not to have pictures in my head, to set aside implicit biases and focus on qualifications and experience. I noticed that when they had missed one (identifying email address in a footer), all that came roaring back.

      We had small applicant pools so manual redaction was possible. Programming would certainly be the way to go otherwise!

  38. Fieldpoppy*

    I work in leadership and strategic change in academic healthcare and higher education — that basically means engagement of smart minds, including patients, students, frontline workers, leaders and policymakers to continually transform the publicly funded, socially accountable health system in my province. My work is increasingly about supporting everyone to name and say with the harder, uncomfortable conversations about racial justice and to develop the capacity to see their own privilege at work/make authentic space for unheard voices.

    I also support multiple Indigenous-run grassroots organizations in my city, run a leadership program for youth in Uganda, which is a different kind of global racial justice, and support a “coaching for everyone” program in the US to provide coaching and capacity building for BIPOC people.

  39. Elizabeth West*

    I’m trying to avoid stereotypes in my own work. I’m trying to be aware of my language and my internal biases both on and offline. I do my best to share and amplify BIPOC voices and artists on social media. I vote for progressive candidates and support those outside my own state.

    I’m just doing the best I can; sometimes I get it wrong, but if someone corrects me, I listen and try not to make the same mistake again.

  40. Dundermuffin*

    Alison, I wish you would tag your posts so that white commentators could know when to refrain from commenting to avoid centering the conversation and when it is open to all commentators including white-adjacent allies.

      1. Dundermuffin*

        There is an intersectional concept of re-centering conversations as a counter to white fragility and all that is or can be associated with that. I want to ensure my own comments are not centering ME if this is a space intended to center POC voices and own lived experiences.

        Not everything has to be about us, and I want to recognize that. I believe Alison has brought up this idea before.

        1. ThatGirl*

          The idea with this post is to share how you’re advancing racial justice. It’s going to be about you in some regard. But more broadly, Managing In is correct that knowing when to share your experiences and when to listen is a good skill to have.

        2. Managing In*

          I understand now. Speaking as a white woman, I need to practice this skill myself. Now that you recognize this dynamic, can you build it into your approach to all conversations? (What is this about? Am I contributing something important, or am I making it about me when I should be giving space for other people or responding to instead of distracting from other people?) Gently and respectfully: saying ‘I can avoid centering myself, but I want to be told when’ is still self-centering

    1. Managing In*

      She does! This post isn’t tagged. Generally, knowing when to not center the conversation around yourself is an excellent critical thinking skill to self-develop since real life does not come with moderation tags

      1. Managing In*

        Also, “posts that aren’t for white commenters should be tagged so white commenters understand when they shouldn’t comment about themselves” is a great example of centering whiteness, re: the above thread on decentering whiteness. I’m not sure if that’s what you’re saying, Dundermuffin, but wanted to add this either way.

        1. Lana Kane*

          Precisely. The idea is that white commenters develop that skill themselves – and many times that’s learned through trial and error. Ortherwise it’s another example of handholding (which takes a lot of emotional labor for those holding the hand).

    2. Abyssal*

      Alison does that when appropriate. The question she is asking people to answer in their replies is “Share in the comments one commitment you are making as an individual or as part of your company to advance racial justice.” By saying that you feel white people shouldn’t be talking about themselves, are you saying they shouldn’t follow Alison’s instructions or that they should not participate in the drawing?

      1. Managing In*

        I think (I think) they’re checking in that it’s OK for white commenters to post about their own experiences in this thread, since the last 2 threads featuring Authentic Diversity had a pinned mod note asking white people to avoid centering themselves in comments about diversity in the workplace.

  41. myswtghst*

    On an individual level, I’m focused on reading and listening to BIPOC voices in all facets of my media consumption (including intentional learning – Ijeoma Oluo, Ibram X. Kendi – and entertainment – Stephen Graham Jones, Muse and Dionysus on YouTube).

    On an organizational level, I’m supporting our recently established DEI council from an administrative and content creation perspective – offering my skills in HR, L&D, etc… to amplify the voices of our council members (including BIPOC, disabled people, and LGBTQ+ individuals).

  42. Honor Harrington*

    I took a sidestep in my career to join a Diversity and Inclusion team where I’m putting together a diverse employee development program.

  43. Dadolwch*

    The nonprofit I work for has just hired a consulting group to guide us through transforming ourselves and our work culture to promote equity and racial justice in everything we do. Today is the last day of a three-day training I’m in on recognizing how to step outside of dualistic and judgmental thinking so we can connect with others that don’t share our perspectives. It’s been an emotionally painful process, but I can already tell it will help me be a better communicator and manager.

  44. I edit everything*

    When one of my editing clients, a book packager, mentioned that he wants more diverse characters in their books, I said that was great, but they really need to make sure they have the same diversity among their outline writers, authors, and editors, so that the stories and voices are authentic and *truly* represent diversity. Also to recognize the many talented BIPOC writers and editors who are working to make ends meet, just like the rest of us.

    (If you are a BIPOC genre-fiction author or editor, willing to do ghostwriting and book packager work, let me know.)

  45. Robin Ellacott*

    Thanks for the information and discussion! Ill be looking at what everyone is doing in their lives/companies for ideas.

    At my work we’re all going to do bias testing (starting with the managers) and we’re making a plan to get feedback on our company literature and program materials from people from several racial/cultural groups. ( most of our policy was written before we had much diversity in our staff, and it’s hard for me to tell how it reads to people whose experiences were not mine. We’re changing wording from s/he to they for similar reasons).

  46. Hula-la*

    I have already bought the book, am reading it, and it’s fabulous. I’m a Home Ec teacher, and I’m being more intentional in what I am doing in my classes. Instead of just including images of BIPOC chefs, designers, etc. in my notes, I’m talking about how racial justice and cultural appropriation in fashion and in food.
    I’m on the board of a non-profit, and we’re redoing our employee handbook with an equity lens (so this book will be very helpful).

    1. Esme*

      Reply All podcast episode 172 is starting a mini series about Bon Apetit magazine – it might interest you! I just listened this morning, the first episode starts with interviews two women of color that worked as temps in the test kitchen.

  47. RMNorthOfTheWall*

    I’m not sure this counts, but….
    I’ve been reading a lot of anti-racist books.
    I work at a university that has a large Indigenous population, and I’m doing my best to be aware of any unconscious racism/colonialism I have, and minimize them in the projects I work on.
    I’m learning the language of the local Indigenous group, and hope to work within my library to translate some of our English-only brochures, etc. into that language to help students/staff/public who interact with us who have that language as their mother tongue.
    I’m reminding people of the treaties that were signed and how we do need to do a better job living up to them.
    Generally, I’m trying to be more aware and inclusive now that I’m older and more aware of things.

  48. Betty*

    I work with college students and have created an environmental racism lending library in my office, purchased copies of the books for all of my student employees, and advised them through the creation of a book group using these texts.

  49. animaniactoo*

    I’m not sure I should really get credit for this as I did it way too late after my involvement in it – but I advocated for us to LISTEN to the people in our company who are diverse about how their languages (Spanish, French) are presented on our packaging, and we have now updated our packaging to reflect the fact that there is no such thing as a Title Case in those languages.

    Obviously, we also look less like idiots on our newer packaging – but it was born of listening to someone who tried many years ago to point this out, and eventually gave up because it wasn’t one of the more important fights she was trying to win. And when I pushed for the change, I made sure to credit them as the source of the information.

    1. animaniactoo*

      Sorry, I missed that it was about ongoing commitment to future action, but that pretty much is my commitment. To continue to do stuff like that where I have the ability to do so rather than simply going along with what was done before I became involved.

  50. Chris*

    I’ve been helping out with organizations in my industry that focus on improving job/interview skills and awareness of the profession with minority ethnic groups.

  51. Sarra N. Dipity*

    I’m on the D&I committee at my company. we’re implementing name and education blind resume review for our entry-level positions, to avoid bias and hopefully attract a more diverse employee base – studies have shown that people are biased against “minority-sounding” names (and also female-sounding names”, and we realized that we don’t really care if you’ve gone to university, where you’ve gone to university, if you have a degree, and what that degree was in, as long as you can do the job. (we have a service that blinds them for us, I believe)

  52. LO*

    I have joined my organizations Diversity team, which explores the impact that racial biases has in hiring, firing and training and policy creation at my org. Our group has committed to policy changes at all levels of the organization.

    I know we only needed to give one reason, but I am also personally committed to real one book a month about black history. I was taught so little about my background and history in school that my knowledge is severely limited. Knowing more and help me advocate more for myself and others.

  53. Perpal*

    Thank you for this excellent raffle!
    I work in healthcare and our city in general is one that had a newsworthy/fatal BLM police inappropriate use of force case and some subsequent protests (and, sadly, a bit of rioting too) within the last year.
    I had noticed some inequities in our system that bothered me; not all the time, and not dramatic incidents, but a few things you notice and think “hmm” once and a while, but I wasn’t quite sure if it was part of a pattern or how to start addressing them at first.
    A lot of providers here were upset by recent events and wanted to do what we could to fight racial injustice / improve health care equity.
    We’ve started a diversity committee, come up with a list of action items, and so far it sounds like our division is one of the leaders in this (we are also working with the whole health care system, which is also trying to improve after coming under criticism for having the same problems as highlighted 6 years ago and some historically very problematic leadership that was still celebrated for their medical accomplishments, but is now being phased out because of the recognition that in other respects they had some really bigoted policies). I’m one of the leaders for the community engagement/clinical care part of this initiative. Right now I’m mostly trying to focus on how we can improve care for some diseases that tend to disproportionately impact minorities and also tend to get less funding/support/resources (sickle cell) than diseases that don’t tend to be particularly prevalent in minority groups (or less common – ie cystic fibrosis). Also trying to do what we can to build trust and outreach and access; this is really more of a socioeconomic issue I think but disproportionately impacts minorities because they are disproportionately socioeconomically disadvantaged. But it’s important to me and to our overall departmental values to care for everyone as best as possible and in the long run I do think everyone benefits from this as well. Improving understanding of the safety checks and benefits of clinical trials, and access, so that all groups are well represented and well taken care of is another goal/metric.
    This book seems like it will be helpful in our mission!

  54. Elliot*

    Our workplace created a Diversity and Inclusion committee, and I am excited to serve on it. So far we’ve compiled educational resources, are looking into microaggression training, and are bringing in a guest speaker for Black History Month. We’re also working on diverse hiring practices and a mentorship program.

  55. Adrienne*

    Off topic: on the last post introducing the book I commented that I bought the book w a friend to share and the AMAZING AUTHOR commented back that she found the book pricey and that the cost surprised her. While that’s true for me (it’s on the high side), as an employee in Higher Ed Student Affairs I see books of MUCH less quality with few to no actionable suggestions in this topic frequently so I think this book is WELL worth the price.
    Well. Worth.The.Price.
    Author Silverthorn! I hope your words reach everyone who needs to hear them and not just people like me who want to.
    My coworker and I will be book-clubbing on you soon!

  56. Deutschlehrerin*

    High school German teacher. I include BIPOC as examples in photos I use for vocabulary so that all of my students see representation in class materials (the textbooks are pretty whitewashed). I also incorporate discussion of minorities in German-speaking countries and literature about their experiences, especially with regard to the Roma community and the Turkish community, both of which have complex (and often negatively connotated) relationships with white German culture.

  57. Campfire Raccoon*

    We’re a very small, but racially diverse company. Our industry leads to some unsavory “good ol boy” and “locker room” conversations with customers and vendors. Our handbook and employee training explicitly address these issues internally – but it’s the external interactions that cause the biggest issues. Vendors and customers. The owner and I are committed to calling out all small racist, homophobic, ablest, and sexist comments and behaviors when they occur, as tactfully as possible. It’s not much, and the company is no economic powerhouse, but it’s what we can do in our little universe.

  58. JuniperG*

    I’m currently researching and preparing to present a learning session to my team about how we can best prioritize equity and inclusion in our specific field (think “How to Be an Anti-Racist Llama Groomer”).

  59. Dani*

    As a white person, I am improving the way I respond when I hear micro-aggressions, racist comments, or racist dog-whistle comments. I am leaning into the uncomfortable step of asking that person exactly what they meant by that comment. And then asserting that I do not agree with them/feel that way. And explaining why the comment or view is racially biased. Racist white people listen to white people, so I need to be vocal with them about how their views hurt people of color and our community as a whole.

  60. Elizabeth Leigh Sloane*

    I am committing to not requiring degrees or experience that are not required to do the job and may prevent those who are historically underprepresented at colleges and universities from getting good paying jobs.

  61. NVHEng*

    I have stepped up my game around hiring by asking my HR team and contract houses to provide me with diverse candidates for open technician roles, so I can select the best candidates for my lab team. I work with those technicians and their supervisors to make sure they are not just trained but also mentored and given opportunities that they can use to grow their capabilities in our organization and their careers overall. It also gives the contract employees a better chance to hire in full time when opportunities open up. Now my hiring and mentoring practices are held up as best practice because the results my team get are consistently very strong in every metric. Diverse teams FTW!

  62. BrightFire*

    Honestly, I can’t say that we are doing a ton to increase diversity. I’m the hiring manager at my company, and I know that since being hired, I have pushed our company by bringing on folks of all backgrounds. However, there is still a lot of work to be done.

    I try to listen to as many podcasts as I can about diversity and inclusion. I’m an avid consumer of code switch and any other podcast about marginalized folks. Trying to absorb as much as I can but I still have no idea what the eff I’m doing and don’t know what else to implement that would work in our company.

  63. pleaset cheap rolls*

    I’m not doing much other than voting and some political giving. I’m a black guy, mid 50s. Pretty privileged compared to other black people. But I’m also exhausted by racism, and my job is less racist than the world around me, so am so uninterested in anything about the issue at work. I try to listen HARD and improve myself regarding sexism and other forms of bigotry not directed at me. But working on racism – so unmotivated.

    That said, I did write a big message about racism from my organization since that’s part of my job – writing. In the editing process someone got an “all lives matter” (though not in those exact words) message in. Sigh. Another, younger POC lit it up about that in a meeting afterwards. I’m exhausted.

    1. Jennie*

      Ooof I’m really sorry, that does sound exhausting. Please know that your presence, your leadership and your allyship are giving strength to those around you! From what you say, you’re doing a lot by showing up the way you do.

      1. pleaset cheap rolls*

        That came off worse than it sounds – at least in relation to work. For me, at work, racism is usually no big deal -so I’m lucky that way. Thanks in any case.

  64. AliciaB*

    My company has created a few committees with different focuses, like hiring practices and management promotion. I’m on the Education & Communication team, and we’ve created a forum for our office where people can post pictures, videos, and stories to share more about themselves and their backgrounds, or share book reviews and recipes. Our office has been fully remote for almost a year now, so it’s a great way to reconnect with coworkers while also learning more about each other and our backgrounds.

  65. Lore*

    My company has a team of people trained to facilitate difficult conversations about race and equity, and I’ve just joined for my second two-year term with the program. More specific to my day to day work, I’m on a task force looking at how to recruit and create paid training opportunities a diverse pool of editorial freelancers.

  66. SnowWhiteClaw*

    I call out all forms of ableism I see. Ableism affects BIPOC much more negatively than it affects white people.

    Ableism and racism are heavily intertwined. Anti-racist materials should be supplemented with anti-ableist materials whenever possible.

  67. Ace in the Hole*

    I work at a small organization in a rural, predominantly white area. On an individual level: I’m mentoring our newest hire, the only woman of color my department has hired in… ever? (I was the previous woman hired and that was 6 years ago, which still puts us at 10 times the industry average. Ugh.) I check in with her regularly, and in addition to general training/development I use my seniority and relationship with upper management to amplify her voice on issues of equality and advocate for her.

    On an organizational level: I’m pushing back on distributing critical information exclusively via written memos. English literacy is not required/necessary for most of our positions. Communicating only in writing, especially since it’s often written at a high reading level, creates a disparity between fluent english readers and less-fluent readers. It especially impacts my colleagues who aren’t native English speakers or had less access to education. I’m pushing for a policy of following up on every memo with a verbal conversation covering the same points that gives staff the opportunity to ask questions.

  68. Rock Prof*

    I’m taking part in a large learning community called Unlearning Racism in the Geosciences (URGE). I’ll post the link in a nested comment. I like that it actually requires deliverables from the groups working on it instead of just reading and discussion.

  69. Rob*

    I actually participate in a book club for white and Jewish folx to better understand their position of privilege in four sectors of American society (politics, science, Hollywood, business).

    It’s part of my ongoing (although admittedly, recently renewed) pledge to listen to and read and consume more POC voices and find actionable ways of increasing representation in those fields.

  70. This Concludes Our Broadcast Day*

    I’ve committed to being part of a newly developed Diversity & Inclusion group. We have a LONG way to go and looking at an overwhelming majority of older white males leading this group can be daunting, but I have faith that we can push through and do better!

  71. Oof*

    I advocated for dropping credit checks as part of our hiring process – it took a while, but eventually I got it pushed through. Currently I am participating in our DEIA committee, and am specifically working to develop concrete goals. (I look at a lot of data!) Over the past several years, I’ve also worked to increase accessibility for our institution, in a variety of ways. We are fortunate that in many ways, our DEIA audit showed that we were not as far off the mark as many people thought. (data! I love data!) While there is PLENTY to do, I find we are having an easier time making headway, because we already have some traction, and that the buy-in is already there.

  72. Editor A*

    I have been working for the last six months to set up a work experience programme at my company, offering placements to minority students in my city. Our aim is to help these students get a foothold in a very white-dominated industry. So far, the response has been awesome!

  73. Pam Adams*

    I work with university students, and am working on programs to better support our under-represented minority students, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college.

  74. Chilipepper*

    These responses are all so amazing! I don’t feel like I have the standing to make these kinds of changes at work but I do speak up about them every time I can. And I ask my local library to order every book mentioned here (and elsewhere) on the topic.

  75. AuntAmy*

    My commitment is to amplify the great work my BIPOC coworkers do in my company’s many spaces for recognition. I also joined our DE&I chat group and shared a link to this book.

  76. Mandy*

    I have struggled with my family teaching the next generation bad habits/stereotypes. So, my commitment is to help my nieces and nephews appreciate diversity and to speak up when I hear them say things that are derogatory or repeat inaccurate things they have heard.

  77. Megan*

    I am committed to educating college students about anti-racism by demonstrating accountability and engagement in my communities.

  78. learnedthehardway*

    Doing more thinking and talking about how to avoid implicit biases in my industry – on a very informal basis. Everyone knows that racism is bad (at least, everyone loudly agrees, whatever they may think privately), but it’s much harder to influence people away from acting on implicit biases and to get them to recognize that the biases exist. There’s a very limited amount I can do, other than consciously avoiding this myself, and asking progressive questions to uncover where biases may exist in clients’ and colleagues’ thinking.

    Also working – not all that successfully – on learning how to discuss issues of racism, class, privilege, etc. etc. without centering myself.

    One thing I felt was a success was when someone told me that they don’t have a problem with police abusing minorities in their town, and I asked whether they had heard this from the police or from a BIPOC individual, and then mentioned that perhaps they might hear things differently if they asked different people about the issue. (I virtually guarantee the answer they’d get would be different, based on where they happen to live).

  79. Prefer to be anon for this*

    A few things I do at work:
    -Amplify content by/for/about BIPOC and about racial equity in our field on company social media.
    -Deal with racist talk when it comes up. It doesn’t happen often, but it has come up in casual conversations.
    -Participate in DEI team.

  80. moneypenny*

    Some teams within my company meet every Friday to listen to speakers who specialize in racial justice, and we have a book club where we read books on privilege, caste, propelling POC to the tops of their fields, and how to be better listeners and contributors to not only the company but the global community. It’s been incredible, I’ve learned so much about topics I was not aware of or even oblivious to and I can honestly say it’s made a huge difference in many areas of my life. I have encouraged the owners of those meetings to extend them to the company-at-large but there’s resistance to it at the moment.

  81. Idril Celebrindal*

    I’ve been feeling guilty about not doing enough, since I haven’t had the spoons to focus on much outside of my personal life for a while now, but I’m looking into ways to get involved now that I am in a better place. One thing I have been working on is rehearsing scripts to speak up against racism whenever I hear it, and looking for opportunities to address racist family members when I can safely do so. I’m also reading whatever I can, thanks to the commenters who recommended “The Anti Racism Daily”, I already subscribed! Mainly I’ve done a lot of listening and trying to do the work of learning for myself instead of asking POC to do it for me.

  82. mm*

    My org has committed to becoming anti-racist and really seems genuine about it. I’ve joined a working group that begins meeting next week!

  83. Monica Coffman*

    Commenting to enter the book give away, and like most of your book recommends even if I don’t win a copy I’ll likely be purchasing it anyway! Such a complex problem to face head on in the work place!

  84. Anonnymouse*

    My team has diversity training at least 2 times a year and we are actively looking for ways to incorporate BIPOC representation in our space (books, art, etc). Working at a university we are exceptionally aware that more representation needs to be done.

  85. Pinkie pie*

    It’s not much compared to others. I work part time and homeschool two kids. I’ve actively sought out history that is balanced and presents information from all points of view.

    1. OyHiOh*

      Searching out history, literature, and art texts that amplify BIPOC voices is way more important than you may realize right this minute. My sister is doing the same thing with her homeschooled kids. It makes a big impact over time.

  86. Alicia*

    Really excited about this book ! I’m co-leading our internal diversity, equity, and inclusion committee with our HR director and am also trying to be an informal support for her navigating this work in a white-centered org. I also am trying to help my org navigate having an increasingly diverse staff and a still-mostly-white network and donor base. This is complicated by working mostly within a faith community that is mostly white but sees itself as very progressive and not the kind of people that would do anything racist or cause microaggressions, even when evidence suggests otherwise.

  87. raaaleigh*

    Since joining my current company a year ago, I’ve joined a small team in our Logistics division that is focused on advancing education around diversity and inclusion. We hosted a 100+ person summit late last year to discuss what we can be doing as individuals, teams, and as a company to further advance racial justice (beyond steps our company has already been taking, which has been a great start).

  88. Alice in Blunderland*

    I work in an agricultural-adjacent field and we have recently implemented paying reparations to the indigenous tribes who’s ancestral lands we use. Our industry is overwhelming White, so we have developed a training and hiring program geared towards mentoring BIPOC people who have an interest in our industry.

    1. Ann Perkins Knope*

      Oooh, I love this! I’m also ag-adjacent. Can you give me any details on how paying reparations was agreed upon and implemented?

  89. Anonymous Engineer*

    I’m pushing for HR/management at my organization to 1) hold exit interviews at all and 2) develop a way that people leaving feel more comfortable giving honest feedback in them – my current idea is to conduct the exit interview with a member of the DI council so that we can gather concrete info about specific ways to provide a better workplace for women and POC. Our hiring practices have gotten much better but we have a retention issue so we are clearly failing people.

  90. Generic Name*

    I’m on my company’s interns D&I committee. (We have an external committee too) the ceo is heading up one committee and the head of hr the other. So far we’ve started stripping resumes of all identifying information, including those that reach us via referral. I’d like to look into ways to improve life for minorities at our company after they’ve been hired, and am excited about this book.

  91. Crowley*

    I have already committed to myself to call out anything racist that I hear. I’ve told one of my colleagues who is Asian that I’m always willing to back her up if anyone makes any dodgy comments or microaggressions to her.

    I’m in my work’s race equality network and I commit now to getting more involved rather than just being a silent supporter (what’s the use in that?!).

    In my personal life I’m trying to ensure that my son grows up knowing about all this stuff, that he knows about racism and that he’s actively anti racist.

  92. Nishipip*

    Lately, my goal is to get the company I’ve been working for to institute literally any sort of program to review things for diversity and inclusiveness. We have the cookie cutter policies, but there’s a lot of really obvious gaps that those who work at head office don’t see.

    For example, our scheduling software doesn’t have any option to have a “preferred name” easily accessible in their file. For insurance purposes, we need to have their legal name as it appears on their health card, but some trans people don’t transition legally, either because they’re early in the process, or don’t wish to, or whatever. But because we don’t have an easy way to see what people prefer to be addressed as, we end up deadnaming people on accident. I wrote to our head office about it…… and nothing happened. It was beyond frustrating.

    During my performance review this year, under “what additional training do you think you can benefit from”, i wrote “DIVERSITY TRAINING”, since I, as a cis, white woman, can definitely improve the way I work with my clients who are in marginalized communities. There isn’t even anything on the major websites that offer webinars on the topic, and those few videos that do, don’t offer continuing education credits (which are required in order to maintain our licence to practice), so there is no incentive besides general interest for people to watch them.

    I think it’s really important that the company I work for do this. We are a global leader in our field, so what we do tends to bleed out into the smaller companies. The culture in this field needs to change, and I’m making it my personal mission to do so.

  93. AutisticMuseumPerson*

    I am not in a true leadership role, but over the last year I learned that just asking a question like “have we ever/could we ever offer a stipend to increase the diversity of writers/artists who submit work to publish on our platforms?” makes a huge difference. I didn’t make it happen in the sense that others did the work to get a particular project’s funding approved & up and running, but just asking that question led to more responses to calls for submissions from people who are historically marginalized in our field in a way that’s much more ethical than asking for free labor. So that’s something I plan to continue. Also shared the excerpt from this book when it was first posted with a family member who is in a leadership role at their org, and I try to commit to doing things like that because it does have an impact even if I don’t directly see it. Thank you!

  94. What Angelica Said*

    I’m fortunate to have spent the last ten years working at a higher education institute that actively centers the concepts of power, privilege, and inequity, so I’ve been doing my professional development on how to personally and systematically combat the -isms. Two things I’ve focused on over the past few years: trying to approach every decision and action through the lens of intersectionality, and sharing what I’ve learned over the years with my elder parents and their friends. There are so many good resources available, particularly after the events of this summer, but it’s overwhelming for them, and they respond really well when I’m able to make recommendations based on what I know of them and their background. And then being open for (temporarily virtual) discussions on things like Privilege 101. It makes me really cranky when people excuse the actions of older folks as “it’s their generation; they don’t know any better.” That’s a terrible excuse; my parents and their friends are in their 70s and 80s and they really want to learn how to do better!

  95. theothermadeline*

    I’m committed to recognizing and interrupting micro and macroaggressions in the workplace and using my privilege to carry out that emotional labor.

  96. LMM*

    I am making sure that when I buy books or take them from the library, for myself or for my young son, that there is a racially diverse mix of writers and topics.

  97. Sarah in Boston*

    I’m on our Women’s affinity group steering committee and we are running a STEM workshop with a local teen “TechStop” as a joint Black History Month/National Engineers Week event. (Most of the teens who attend this location are BIPOC.)

  98. Linda*

    I’m a graphic designer and I’ve been taking an online BIPOC design history class that is AMAZING! Highly recommend it. It’s especially focused on educators so if you are a teacher in an art, design, or art history field I’d especially recommend it. (I’m finding it very meaningful and informative and am not a professor, though!) The class is almost done but you can view the videos from the classes online (you can purchase individually or with an institutional license.)

    I know I’ll be doing a lot more reading and thinking on how I (my company is just me) can advance racial justice, but the first thing I’ve been doing is seeking out f0nts by Black designers. (Many of the fonts considered ‘standard’ by the very white design world were designed by white guys, some of whom were awful. Don’t use Gill Sans!) Folks in the chat in the Zoom classes had some suggested type designers to check out, and I’ve also found that in the Adobe Creative Suite where you go activate different fonts you can specifically search for Black type designers, designers who are women, and other options. Right now I’m laying out a report and all of the font options I presented to the client were by Black designers. We’re using Dapifer by Joshua Darden.

    Here’s a link to the BIPOC Design History class:

  99. From Canada*

    Alison, best practice is to put the Affiliate notice at the top in bigger text, not try to hide it. :)

  100. Specialist*

    I’ve been using the fitzpatrick scale when I need to describe a person’s skin color for some time now. That is important for a physician to document appropriately. I also use BMI to describe weight, as it is better than the clinical titles of obese, etc.

    I did a zoom interview on why female physicians choose not to go into academic medicine yesterday.

    I hired a man for a part time position. We are otherwise entirely female in the office. We are redoing the office “uniform” so that he is identified as part of the group.

    I read books by authors of different races, religions, and nationalities. Still wish I could get a book of poems in English by this one particular Pakistani poet. I also read books by old authors who have decidedly problematic world views. It is really shocking to see what was considered normal and that makes you think about how contemporary issues will be viewed by future generations.

    I also am trying to use honorifics in a homogenous way.

  101. Lock*

    Personally, I’m making an effort to listen more, and consider where other people are coming from, without interjecting my own experiences or making assumptions.

  102. CollegeSupervisor*

    Our team is going through a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion packet to make sure we have an opportunity to address inequities in our workplace. I personally am reading as many relevant books as I can, and trying to put the lessons I learn in action in my day-to-day life, which is admittedly difficult, but I’m trying.

  103. Greengirl*

    I work in fundraising and have been pushing for diversity training specific to issues fundraisers encounter ( racism from donors, reaching out to people of color as donors, diversifying our boards). I am doing my own reading ( how to be an anti racist) and taking a course in masters degree program about working towards equity in our industry.

  104. Tinker*

    (I’ve already bought the book, so don’t need a free copy.)

    It’s kind of a complex and squishy thing, but I’ve been thinking about some of the ways I present myself in terms of appearance and manner partly in the context of racial justice. Awhile back, I saw people commenting about seeing white people come to protests who were dressed in their loudest punk clothing and prepared for a fine day of yelling at police officers, which I am not saying is necessarily an invalid choice in all contexts but it definitely is when you are not responsive to the strategy of the people leading the event and are stirring up hostility that you won’t be the one paying for later. Conversely, when there were a significant number of people in the crowd who looked like they might conceivably want to speak with the manager, the tone with which the crowd in general was treated seemed to lean more in the direction of “good company manners” — an aura that can lend safety to the intrinically more vulnerable portion of the attendees.

    I have a longstanding view that is broadly negative about undue formality in “business” dress, and I’m not departing from that view — particularly when I’m acting as a self-advocate — but I am moderating it with more awareness that a) part of why I can go about so freely in cargo shorts and flip-flops is that my *face* — increasingly so, as my beard fills in — does part of the lifting of signaling that I am a competent and reputable person who should not be treated with contempt, and not everyone gets that b) the best use of me in many circumstances may be to make it so that there’s a face some people are primed to listen to saying “you should be listening to that person over there”. That does also imply that what I need to be doing with my face is saying more of “you should be listening to that person over there”, and I am also endeavoring to improve in that department.

  105. Iconic Bloomingdale*

    As an HR Director for a municipal governmental agency in a large city, I make it my mission to advise senior management of pay and hiring inequities when I come across them.

    For example: The agency selected a candidate to fill an IT position and offered him a salary, which he accepted. I reviewed the salary, race/ethnicity and gender of current employees in the same title and role and discovered one whose salary was about $4,500 less than the incoming candidate.

    The candidate was a white male with a G.E.D. and the required skill and experience. Current employee was a black female with a bachelor’s degree (in the process of pursuing a master’s degree), also with the required skill and experience for the position.

    I immediately alerted senior management to advise of the disparities and potential E.E.O. issue that could arise. Shortly thereafter, current employee was given a merit increase which placed her salary slightly above incoming candidate.

      1. Iconic Bloomingdale*

        I am unsure if she was aware of the disparity. If she was, she did not mention it to me. However, it wouldn’t surprise me though if she became aware of it. Somehow, these things always seem to either leak out or employees talk and whisper amongst themselves. Seems to be the nature of employment in municipal government. lol

  106. lil falafel wrap*

    I’m spending a lot of time right now really investigating what it means to be white. I’m reading a lot of book and articles, as well as listening to podcasts, by academics and people of color in general about what whiteness is, how it came about, and how it is used to oppress people. I am also validating the experiences of people of color in my internship.

  107. A. Mogs*

    My school participated in the People of Color Conference–and I got to go. It really opened my mind to the different ways that schools can operate in order to build more inclusive communities. For my own part, I’m working to build more diverse stories into my classroom. Figures such as Pío Pico should be much better known, and it’s amazing how more invested kids can get into a culture once they start to hear its stories and myths (especially with the popularity of Percy Jackson).

  108. Observer*

    I’m not in a good position to do a lot officially. But I do have a good relationship with out HR head, so I’ve quietly brought issues to their attention or amplified something that they were aware of but might not have realized was such a big deal.

    I’m in IT, so I’m going to start looking at what I can do in our systems to improve DEI. For now, I’ve really pushed to make sure that personal access to technology should never be a barrier for our staff. We’ve done pretty well in that respect, I think.

  109. Ann Perkins Knope*

    I have joined an environmental industry DEIJ workgroup and expressed interest in my workplace DEIJ group. I have committed to speaking up and changing the white supremacy culture – I love this explanation: https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/white-supremacy-culture-characteristics.html

    On a personal level, I am committing to donating my money to black-led nonprofits, spending money at black-owned business, and paying personal reparations when possible directly to black people (I learn a lot from instagram and also follow people who signal boost or have threads for this – shishi.rose, ihartericka).

  110. Working Hypothesis*

    I’m not working right now; I homeschool my children. I’m actively seeking and using texts by non-White authors about their own experiences, and using class time to teach my kids about their own White privilege and how to use it to dismantle itself instead of for their own benefit. I’ve also been writing a lot of letters trying to hold politicians accountable for keeping the promises they made last spring to attack the chronic racism in the criminal justice system.

  111. Finland*

    My work place has an initiative for individual contributors to share their ideas for how improve the organization as a whole. I had a very long conversation with my supervisor about the ways in which we can revamp our reporting processes so that people know exactly what they need to do to report racism, harassment and retaliation.

    Currently, the only way to report these issues is to go directly to the immediate supervisor, which (naturally) cuts a lot of people off from their ability to report, especially if racism, harassment and abuse is coming from (and/or condoned by) the direct supervisor. In addition, many of the inclusion initiatives my company has been trying to implement have been utterly abysmal, though the effort is clear. There are a few rays of light in what the organization is trying to do, but for the most part, it’s being run by people who are making assumptions and it’s often executed poorly.

    I have practically zero power in my organization, but I have an amazing supervisor and I’m trying to use my identity as a Black woman to help lend some much-needed perspective to the initiatives that are being pushed forward. If I could have some reading material to reference that I can share with my organization that helps to address these systemic issues and offers step-by-step instructions for how to implement a successful program, I could get much farther in my efforts to push more equity and inclusion for marginalized groups.

    1. Observer*

      The reporting piece is SOOO important. Don’t undersell it.

      The good news for you is that the reporting piece is easy for the company to fix and something they need to do even if they don’t care about DEI. Because as long as their only reporting mechanism is the direct supervisor, they will almost lose any case where ANY sort of harassment took place and someone did not report it. This is HR 101 – you simply should never limit reporting to the person’s direct supervisor.

      Don’t get me wrong. They should make the change because it’s the right thing to do. But it’s more important to make the change than to make sure it’s being done for the right reasons. So, if you can help nudge this forward by pointing out how “this would put us in a better position”, that’s all to the good.

      1. Finland*

        Thanks! I’ll make sure to nudge them in this direction, as well as add my take on the inclusion and equity piece. I’m pretty sure they will care much, much, more about avoiding litigation, but a change is a change is a change.

  112. Amanda*

    At work, I’ve advocated for leaving off past salary history since it’s been shown to disparately impact women and POCs.

    In my personal life, I’m trying hard to do the work of learning and not asking the POCs in my life to teach it to me and then live what I’m learning.

  113. Andrea Collignon*

    Our company is reviewing our customer service training so that we are being inclusive and accessible. I work for a community college, so we have a lot of foreign national students and staff on our campus, so it’s important that our customer-facing services are aware of cultural differences and how to be welcoming. We’re also revising our signage to make sure our campus is easily navigable. Getting diverse people on campus is no problem, but it’s making them comfortable here that we need to work on.

  114. Laura Sell*

    I’ve been working with our HR team to expand the places we list our internships to include HBCUs and community colleges. I’d love to read this book and will have to win in order to do so because yowza, $31 for a kindle copy!

  115. Sophie before she was cool*

    I’m advocating that our next intern class come from schools that historically serve underrepresented groups.

  116. esemess*

    I advocate for more inclusive recruiting measures, including career fairs at HBCUs and other majority minority institutions.

    I am working really hard to challenge my own assumptions, biases, and prejudices. Some of the work involves processing my behavior and actions with a therapist, rather than burdening others with it. I have a ways to go, but I am committed to doing better!

  117. Kay*

    Although the organization had a diversity team and policies in place, not much was done to change the entrenched culture. I believe often people have the best intentions but the reality is that things for the most part remain the same. In some ways overt racism is much easier to identify and deal with. It’s the ingrained subtle behaviors that need to shift in order to change. The organization/company has not only to commit to their diversity policies but maybe more importantly recognize/admit that racism exists in their organization.
    I’ve advocated and mentored under represented employees and used capital to position them for promotions and better career opportunities. I’ve taken a more grass roots individualistic approach after realizing my company doesn’t believe that they discriminate against those that aren’t like them.

  118. Mary Richards*

    I want to start an equity initiative that I haven’t seen in my industry. I am at the tail end of a long hiring process where the BIPOC applicants have consistently had less training, experience, and professional material than the white applicants. I did absolutely everything to try to level the playing field, but that’s not how this should work! There is no excuse of any kind for any BIPOC applicant to not be able to access the same training and experience as a white applicant. As a white/Hispanic (but mostly white and definitely white-presenting) woman, I want to do what I can to provide BIPOC people in my field with the resources they need to achieve at the highest level.

  119. Arts Akimbo*

    (Please don’t include me in the drawing, because I don’t work in a traditional workplace)

    I am a freelance artist in the sci-fi/fantasy/TTRPG community, and one of the first things I did when I started working professionally was to make a habit of gently pushing back when art directors asked me to draw standard white male character tropes. “Can this wizard be a black woman? Because I have a really cool idea for that!” (show sketch) “Can this warrior hero be Middle Eastern?” etc. It’s a small thing, but I believe that a hobby isn’t welcoming to people who don’t see themselves represented in it.

    Another thing I do is *practice* drawing faces of people of diverse ethnicities, from friends, models, and life drawing websites, to train my eye so that I am less prone to stereotyping. I believe changing our environment starts with changing the way we SEE each other.

  120. DawnRWolfe*

    As a freelance journalist I’m doing my best to cover issues impacting BIPOC, but also to center their voices, provide examples of BIPOC in leadership roles advocating for change (instead of just being affected by the problems), and to view topics through an intersectional race/sexism/heterosexism/etc. lens.

  121. Amanita*

    Best practice would actually be for white people not to make money from promoting an author of color’s work while demanding to know what other people are doing to advance racial justice. I’m not trying to be “hostile” here, but this really rubs me the wrong way.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Michelle contacted me and asked if we could do a giveaway, which I was happy to do. She also suggested the instructions at the top for entering.

  122. Quinalla*

    My commitment has been to bring up items to my work leadership team to make our culture more inclusive because we have made big strides on the hiring side to get diverse candidates in, but we need a lot more work on making diverse employees feel welcome. I’m a white woman, so it is usually easy for me to spot the gender-biases, but I’ve also been working hard to call out other things, like that we should not call it the company Christmas party, but the Holiday party – not perfect, but much more inclusive. Or when we are picking menus for company things, making sure it isn’t only pork, that there is a vegan option, that everything is labeled with ingredients for allergic folks and folks with religious/moral/etc. restrictions. Pushing for us to add MLK day to our standard company vacation days. All of it is little things, but it adds up to make people feel welcome instead of excluded. Pointing out when we are falling behind our competitors or clients on D&I.

    I am actually listened to on these things, so I am committed to use my influence for good!

    1. Oof*

      I’m hoping to get MLK added too! We added Juneteenth last year, so I’m confident we’ll get this wrapped up soon.

  123. Jenny*

    As the CHRO, I advocated to our senior leadership team of the need for a diversity, equity and inclusion committee. The team and our board enthusiastically supported the idea. I approached our HR Director, and only African American man at the company (we’re pretty small) if he would be interested in participating or leading-while understanding that he may not wish to bear the burden of educating others on race. He was very excited at the prospect and has formed a committee who’s work is designed to make our organization a welcoming workplace for all!

  124. Emily*

    I work for a government agency and organize free professional development for people in my industry. I’m actively pursuing speakers from a wider range of backgrounds, perspectives, and ethnicities and asking them to lead trainings on our platform, which had a really wide reach within our field. I’m also pushing our leadership to offer better compensation for those speakers.

  125. Toss a Coin to Your Witcher*

    I’m working to defund (literally terminate the contract) for the campus police – which are simply off-duty police – from my alma mater. I started it through my alumni society – getting donors/alumna to make noise about the police presence on campus. It got some attention, and we got to talk to some higher-ups who recommended coordinating with student leadership (a no-brainer, but since I’m 10 years past graduating, I didn’t have a ton of current student contacts).
    From there, I’ve been working with the student association (what an awesome bunch of young adults!!!), and the campus security office, as well as residential life. It’s kinda a labyrinth. I work in tech, not academia, so the pace seemed slow at first, but it’s been getting better. So far, we’re working now to transition as much “security” jobs (like campus escort service) to work-study roles for students (a win-win!).

    The goal is for a post-COVID campus to not have a constant police presence. Of course if a crime happens, emergency services/police will be called, but there’s just no reason to have police constantly there. In past years, there have been a number of racial profiling instances too – where students were clearly the victims of police bias.

  126. Dawn*

    I’m a teacher-leader in a very progressive but very white state (Vermont), so people are often well-intentioned but have limited experiences and the same Eurocentric education and racist messaging that is a part of the U.S. system more generally (i.e., if you work hard, you will get ahead). To compound things, we are very rural and very poor, so people often lack opportunities to travel outside of our region. (The nearest big city is about two hours away, for example.) However, I am fortunate that both my district and my principal prioritize equity, and it has become a professional focus for me as well. Being as we are a school, I tend to take two approaches: how to educate my students and how to educate my colleagues.

    With students, my work primarily occurs in the classroom, in being constantly critical of my curriculum and working to always expand to include more diverse perspectives. I want to spare my students from the same limited, Eurocentric, and unquestioningly credulous curriculum that impact how so many people now approach issues of inclusivity. As part of that, we learn how to evaluate sources and evidence, use evidence to support positions, and discuss and debate civilly. We talk about tough topics and read difficult texts. We apply history forward to analyze current events (such as connecting slavery to modern-day dehumanization of immigrants and protesters).

    My team has also chosen for our project for the year a focus on student activism. Several students have chosen projects that work on racial justice topics.

    In my leadership role in my school, my work looks much more like advocating for more inclusive education/curriculum across the grades and providing staff with professional development opportunities related to equity. Here, it is challenging because we don’t currently have any people of color on our staff–but I hope that this work will make our school as safe and inclusive for BIPOC staff member as possible, as well as students of color. (We do have a few.) My biggest challenge is striking the right balance between actively seeking the perspectives of the few BIPOC staff in our district while not making them responsible for my/others’ education around race and equity. (For example, we have one person of color on our district’s equity team, and while I value her perspective so much, I’m also cognizant of not making her feel like she has to speak for or represent an entire group of people in our mostly white community, much less provide the labor of educating the rest of us.

  127. Troutwaxer*

    I’m not currently employed, but I’ve been working on (endless) rewrites of my first novel, and I’ve worked very hard to include people of color. The book is not set on Earth, so I don’t have to worry too much about cultural knowledge/issues, but I’ve worked very hard to make sure that major characters have dark skin or dreadlocks, or are involved in mixed marriages/mixed romances of various kinds. The main viewpoint character is an Orc so the view of humans is deliberately a little skewed, but hopefully neither racist or offensive, and one of the (very minor) subtexts is that when your species is facing badasses such as Elves or Orcs, maybe you won’t take more than passive notice of the skin color of your neighbors, since we’re all on Team Human (as we should be in the real world.)

  128. The yellow dog of workplace happiness*

    Just wanted to say thanks for making the prize the audio edition. I’m blind and listen to audiobooks exclusively and I think this is the first time there’s been a win-a-book contest that was actually accessible to me.

    As for the question, I’m retired so my impact is limited mostly to calling out racist dogwhistles in social and family settings. I will also do it in online forums sometimes, but usually don’t have the mental energy to deal with that. For online engagements, I don’t really expect to change the mind of the person who provoked a response, but hope that onlookers may take something positive away from the interaction.

  129. Anon for this*

    I have a question instead of an answer. My employer is making a point of visibly participating in Black History Month. To that end, they painted a part of our logo rainbow (don’t ask me why, no idea), and announced that they would be sending out daily questions on Black History that the people who answer, would be entered in a raffle to get prizes for. There are some ridiculously big and expensive prizes in the raffle. (Cannot be more specific because that would be identifiable.) I’m willing to let the rainbow logo slide, but I have a very bad feeling about the quizzes and the raffle. That can go wrong in s0 many ways and I’m frankly not crazy about the very idea of a mostly-white workplace being able to capitalize on facts of Black history to win prizes. The whole initiative is making me cringe. But maybe I am overthinking it? Like if someone white from upper management won a big prize, the optics would be terrible. But if a minimum-wage POC worker working on the front lines won a big prize for knowing their own history, that might be good? So I don’t know whether to say something, what, and to whom. Thank you.

    1. Lana Kane*

      “That can go wrong in s0 many ways and I’m frankly not crazy about the very idea of a mostly-white workplace being able to capitalize on facts of Black history to win prizes.”

      I think this is a very valid concern on a few levels. Aside from the ones you mentioned, the idea of prizes triviliazes the isue – the fact is that what most companies need to do is be more inclusive in their hiring and promotion opportunities. But this allows people to believe they’ve “done something”.

  130. Amy Farrah Fowler*

    I am doing my best to educate myself on BIPOC issues. My alma mater has been hosting a virtual lecture series this school year on Race, Equality and Social Justice. I have been attending the lectures as possible, and also trying to talk more to both friends and coworkers about race. It’s not always (and in fact is almost never) easy, but I feel like those conversations have been really helpful.

  131. Murphy*

    My university added a certificate program for people in my field to increase diversity. I’m a part of the pilot run (which involves giving feedback to inform the process).

  132. Tanksalot*

    I’m using new ArcGIS skills to map violations at our regulated facilities to see how they match up with demographic information, trying to suss out whether facilities in disadvantaged areas are more poorly maintained.

  133. julian*

    I’m fortunate enough to be an articulate and charismatic person who has white privilege. That makes me very effective at starting difficult conversations and being listened to. At a party, a friend made a racist joke and most people laughed uncomfortably. I told him that it was inappropriate and he should cut it out. Later that night we had a long talk about why jokes like that are harmful–even if nobody of the demographic you’re joking about is around, even if it’s “just a joke,” even if the friends you usually hang out with are “edgy,” even if… etc. He came back to me a few days later, apologized sincerely, and told me that he had been doing a lot of thinking about the company he kept and the way he viewed the world. I’ve had a lot of those conversations with people in my life, with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately I’m not in a position (financially, in terms of workplace, capacity for community outreach, etc) to do more at the moment, but I do what I can when I can, which has to be enough.

  134. Lana Kane*

    I’m latinx, and I finally joined my employer’s group for latinx employees. I’ve been able to work with some great people to help raise the visibility of latinx staff.

    I also just applied to be part of a committee that give grants to employees who need funding for anti-racist projects.

    This year, I’ve made it a point to stop keeping my eyes on my own paper. I’m an introvert, so it’s hard – but it feels amazing.

  135. Niya*

    I can’t listen to audiobooks and am someone who has been working in racial equity for almost a decade so I’m not commenting to enter the raffle. But I wanted to say that I read a lot of these comments and it honestly just gives me a lot of hope. So thank you all.

  136. StillLearning*

    My first goal is to expand my own understanding of DEI – at first, I thought mostly of gender and ethnic/cultural/religious diversity, but my definition has now grown to include sexual and ‘disability’ awareness as well. For example, as a consultant firm, we are working with clients that have visual / audio impairments – and I hadn’t thought of that aspect when considering DEI.

    So first is participating in the DEI committee (we just formed one and are trying to have concrete action come from it), bringing that global definition in, and trying to be more mindful of the way we treat clients / internal employees and the community at large.

    One challenge is that being from Canada, we have a very diverse population, but some minority groups are less well represented in our type of professional work. So it is hard to hire because not many people from minority groups have our specialized training. Hence the challenge of seeing it long term and seeing how we can make our profession more diverse and more appealing / accessible to people from different backgrounds.

    On the client side, being aware of servicing thoughtfully our clients, by bringing DEI as part of the conversation not just in DEI training, but in everything we do (hiring and developing talent, talking about strategy, etc.) – and being more mindful of some of the adaptations we do. For example, did you all know there was an ‘accessibility’ function in Word and Powerpoint? Once we turned it on, we realized there were a lot of ‘errors’ and that our material was not blind or visually-impaired friendly.

    So clearly we have a long way to go, but we are trying to ask the right questions and include the right people, while realizing we are still learning on the subject, and want to do more.

  137. Elephants*

    In my work at a university center for student-community volunteering, I am co-facilitating a book club on A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History (highly recommend!). I am also co-facilitating a discussion among my coworkers, supervisor, and director for us to take anti-racist and DEI principles we have individual learned about in university workshops and professional development opportunities and to contextualize them in the day-to-day work we are doing with students and the community, evaluating areas of progress and areas in need of improvement, creating an action plan, and hopefully setting up the framework for this to be a regular occurring every month or two. (I am in a one-year servicecorps position so I can only hope it continues on!) I also serve on a DEI committee for a state-wide mentorship organization and am learning a lot about how organizations conduct audits/assessments and work with DEI consultants. I am a recent graduate and I can say that these have been some of the most valuable professional experiences I have had, and I have been leaning hard into the discomfort (while I’m Latina, this is something that has really put into focus the comfort my whiteness affords me in the workplace and otherwise). I’m hoping to take these experiences forward in my graduate studies in the fall and in my career in social services/the nonprofit sector. I am extremely interested in this book regardless of the giveaway, and in learning more about white supremacy in the workplace via Kenneth Jones’ and Tema Okun’s work. Would love if anyone has links/resources relevant to dismantling white supremacist culture/structures in the workplace!

  138. Finland*

    To give an idea of what I’m up against, mid last year my workplace held web conferences to bring people together to discuss issues of race, bias and anti-black violence. It was created in an effort to do something in light of news of the murder of George Floyd.

    The goal was to bring people together to have an open dialogue where people could be free to communicate how they were experiencing racism to people that were in the position to listen in the upper-echelons of management. It also featured members of upper management to speak about their experiences.

    We had a couple of these conferences before the effort completely dissolved. The first talk was very disjointed and consistent mainly of people in upper management congratulating themselves for having a diverse workplace. The lower ranking employees who were invited were all placed on mute and weren’t allowed to speak at all during the conference. We were encouraged to write all of our comments in the chat. I contributed numerous questions in the chat that I wanted to be read during the session. But they were completely ignored. I learned from other attendees that they had numerous questions they wanted answered that were also ignored. I walked away from this first session feeling disappointed, but I thought maybe this was just a rough start.

    The second session was even worse. Two people were invited to be the main speakers. The first speaker was a man who had experienced racism starting from the very beginning of his career, but he had worked his way up the ranks and was now a respected member of the organization. His input was eye-opening. The second speaker was a man who was there, supposedly, to talk about how he has changed over the years in working with Black people. One of the questions that was asked of him (the second speaker) was to identify what biases he held when he first started working that he has since learned are wrong after having worked with Black people. His answer completely dodged the question and no one was willing to either confront him (i.e. remind him of the question), or say that he didn’t answer the question at all.

    Moreover, there were maybe a hundred or more people in the chat and many of them were typing anti-Black racist comments directly to other attendees. These comments were coming from anonymous employees! The chat itself was not moderated at all, so these trolls dominated the chat room conversation for the entire session. Many people quit the session in disgust. I stayed on to try to alert the host. A few of my coworkers and I (a mixed group) held a debriefing session with my supervisor to describe what happened during the session and my supervisor was so disappointed, as were we. After this second second session, we never received invitations for further discussions.

    I think this is a perfect example of a diversity and inclusion effort that did not solicit input from the people it was directed towards, and it ended on a horrible note.

    1. WoodswomanWrites*

      Ugh. That sounds worse than useless, and actually harmful to people. How awful for you and your co-workers.

      1. Finland*

        It felt worse than useless. I walked away from it extremely angry, though not jaded. I still have my fire and bite!

  139. WildIris*

    I will support BIPOC instructors in my wellness community and take concrete steps (like scholarships) to make sure my classes are inclusive.

  140. WoodswomanWrites*

    I helped create the guidelines for launching organization-wide equity and inclusion discussions, to create a framework that is open and safe.

  141. WiscoGirl*

    I serve on my org’s DEI team. We’re tasked with identifying and implementing training opportunities for our staff related to DEI, and for sharing learning opportunities (books, podcasts, videos, events, trainings) with our team and partners.

  142. 7franco*

    In the educational programs I work in, we introduce students to 16 “people to know about,” relating to our program theme. I always make sure to have a 50/50 split of male/female (or non-binary) and white/nonwhite people. I also push colleagues to research a little deeper to find non-European White Men (which are almost always the top search results) to introduce to our students.

  143. Activist RMA*

    I actually already made this commitment; in my performance and goals meeting recently, my supervisor and I agreed I will start setting up diversity work in our branch of the company I work with. Starting by meeting up the person doing the same work for another branch next week, followed by a workshop on how to work with diversity in our field a few days later. Would be thrilled to add this book to my backpack for the work.

  144. Jascha*

    My company is at the start of its diversity journey. We’ve just formed an employee group to focus on diversity and inclusion – our workplace is already quite diverse in some ways (good gender balance, strong written policies, etc.), but lacking in others (racial diversity is one). We’re also a media company, though, so we have always had a strong outward focus on diversity, and notably on racial diversity – we focus on underrepresented populations in the media we publish. As a matter of fact, the reason I’m interested enough to comment here is that I’d like to use the audiobook as a reference for our employee forum on diversity and inclusion!

  145. Trying 2b courageous*

    Diving in and having tough conversations with those above me in my company’s hierarchy about the impact of their behavior. Really, I’m using my privilege to point out problematic stuff, even though there is a risk to me.

  146. Kathenus*

    I’ve realized that my life has been one of privilege in many ways. I’m also in a field where diversity is lacking. When I was hiring last year I worked with HR and the head of our Diversity Committee to advertise in different areas including the predominant African American newspaper in the area. I’ve also begun getting involved in my local community in racial equity causes including attending an ACLU presentation on a local nuisance ordinance that was discriminatory and for which my city was being sued (the city settled with the ACLU and modified the ordinance), and was the only white person willing to do a news interview after the presentation. I’m trying to continue to educate myself, and attended a six month diversity-related workshop (one day a month on different topics) through work which was incredible. What I really want to do is help find ways to increase diversity in my department and field as it is very lacking, starting in large part due to the fact that unpaid internships are the most common way people get a foot in the door and this restricts many from this opportunity.

  147. Jesse Gingerich-Jones*

    At work I started reviewing how to include anti-bias decision making for committees. Spoiler alert: it’s complicated and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. I’ve transitioned from the original question into reviewing progressive and racial justice organization websites as an informal survey of what type of decision making model they use within their organization.

  148. Jonaessa*

    It’s not much, but I’m doing my best to be an ally and a voice for those who cannot use theirs. Often, when my bosses would say disparaging remarks about an employee (and isn’t it usually a POC?), I would try to blend in the background lest I become a target. Now, I speak up. I advocate early and often for employees. I am not in any kind of supervisory role, but my decades with the organization has allowed my voice to be heard as respectful and sincere. I have been able to ask my bosses deeper questions about decision-making and remind them that if POC’s are not given the same opportunities as their white counterparts, then we are part of the problem not the solution when it comes to racial equality. I get met with eye rolls at times, but that just makes me more determined.

  149. dawbs*

    I work for a small education-centric nonprofit, and we are actively pursuing grants and programs that specifically focus on the underserved, lower income communities.
    (A lot of our interactions are with communities from the white, educated, suburban neighborhoods. We’ve set up a subgroup to specifically find ways to do this–and fund it, to make it less exclusionary)

    Small steps

  150. TKR*

    I am using my relationships within the company to lead small group readings of books about bias (Mostly Dolly Chugh’s The Person You Mean to Be). This helps create space for conversations about inequity and provides tools for people to speak up.

  151. Former Media Grunt*

    I’m in a staff group auditing the past two years of our published output, looking for patterns of racial and other bias. And working on developing criteria for a program to allocate extra resources for underrepresented writers.

  152. Michelle Robinson*

    I was elected to serve as co-chair of my agency’s Diversity and Inclusion Council (of which I am a founding member) and was a co-author of our Council’s ‘Statement Against Racism’ that we distributed to staff following the murder of George Floyd and the social unrest. This led to our Council hosting two well-attended ‘Conversations on Race’ – one in July and a follow up in August. We also curated and distributed resource guides to help staff navigate these issues, both in the workplace and in their personal lives.

    This has been a full circle moment for me in my career as I was a founding member of our Diversity Working Group back in the 90s when I first began working there and was also select to serve on my Department’s Diversity Council during that time. It fills me with so much pride to be a part of this work that I have had a passion for my entire career. To be able to make a lasting impact to make my agency a diverse and inclusive workplace is a very humbling and rewarding experience

  153. a heather*

    I don’t have much pull in my day job; I’m not involved in hiring, my group is pretty diverse already, and the people we have have been good (in my experience) with their attitudes toward these things. I’ve been there long enough now that I think I could easily bring attention to any issues I might see; the only thing I have ever noticed was someone (maybe, it was unclear) disregarding “they” pronouns for a gender neutral choice as not grammatically correct, but I was VERY new at that point and so didn’t bring it up (but I have been extra attentive to how that person speaks since.) I would today, though. (And the wording we use in that case is really up to our clients in the end, not us.)

    In my side hustle, while I am not influential or anything, I decided that I didn’t need to elevate the voices of older white males (they’re doing fine), so I specifically looked for books by BIPOC to use.

  154. Ruthy Sue*

    This may be a small thing, but I conduct a lot of training for employees. I’m going back and reviewing/updating all of my department’s training material to ensure that pronouns are inclusive (some old trade worker stuff refers to employees a “he”) and also that any pictures and cartoons of people are representative of our workforce. Some of our material is 20 years old and some is new, but the problems exist in all of them. I wish I would have caught this sooner.

  155. ~K~*

    I’m a member of our Division’s equity team, which (once we fill a recently vacated leadership position) will be creating a strategic plan to interweave EDI throughout all aspects of operations – hiring, programming, customer service, etc. I can’t wait!

  156. The Wrong MJ*

    I am in a racism task force in my county and helped to engage leadership in my organization to participate in this task force to address systemic racism.

  157. Sarah*

    One commitment I am making as an individual and as part of my company to advance racial justice is that, as a grantwriter for social service/mental health-related grants, I am writing initiatives into my grants for culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach and inclusive mental health services to underserved minority communities, most specifically the Latinx community who makes up 25% of the local population but does not have equal access to mental health services.

  158. StillLearning*

    I am conducting and publishing interviews on DEI with senior leaders at work about how they’re engaging with this topic, and what steps they are taking to advance DEI in our org. The goal is to humanize them, but also hold them accountable.

  159. Dina*

    I joined the decolonisation working group at my organisation! One of the founding members, I’m happy to say.

  160. RebelwithMouseyHair*

    As an individual, I work as a translator, which I see as helping people bridge cultural gaps. My partner and I are both from a different country to the one we are living in. We have brought our children up as multi-racial, teaching them not to judge others according to race (or sex or orientation or age or ability). We all have friends from a host of different countries, and of all colours. Lately we have helped a young bi-racial friend, and now his brother, letting them pay below-market rent for a room in our home while they study, and finding them work.

  161. Maisha*

    As a leader in an employee resource group for early-career employees at my company, I have been trying to highlight and connect to other employee resource groups (e.g. for people of color, women, LGBTQ+, differently-abled bodies, etc.) and their events. I have also been committing to reading and attending virtual events on how to change our culture to be more inclusive and incorporating these lessons into the company’s culture.

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