Let’s talk about the changes we can make in our everyday lives and continue to practice for years to come in order to build a more inclusive society. Here are six recommendations for what you can continue to do long after the height of the media attention and trending hashtags.
If you have children
Teach them. It all starts with conversation. Don’t rely on the school system to properly educate them on social movements, race, or prejudice. Teach your children to have love and compassion for all of humanity, and that stereotypes and racism have no place in your home. Raise them to be more culturally aware.
If you have relatives
Help them understand. Talk with them. Don’t turn it into an argument or let it get heated. Provide view points, resources, facts, anecdotes, stories. Discuss. Let them ask questions. Be patient and help them to empathize. It’s more than a one time talk, it’s going to be an ongoing journey. The goal is to encourage them to understand other perspectives outside of their own lifelong biases.
If you are a brand or business
You can post hashtags all day long, but if you don’t incorporate diversity into your business model, it will show. Think of how many PR disasters and marketing flops could’ve been prevented if there was even one person of color in the room to call it out! Hire people of diverse backgrounds, and actually listen to them. Include more minorities in your branding, your visuals, your panels, your speaker series – and not in a performative way to make your inclusion “numbers look good,” but because these people actually deserve a seat at the table.
If you are an employee
Do not tolerate racism in the workplace however insignificant the comment or “joke” may seem. Help stand up for your minority coworkers. Maybe they’re afraid to say something because they don’t want to spark attention and put their job in jeopardy. Recognize workplace microaggressions and make it clear it’s not funny nor okay.
You can also write or speak to your employer noting your concern about a lack of diversity in the company. Here are factual talking points for making a case for diversity in the workplace. Follow up and ask what actions they plan to take.
If you are a friend
Check in on your peers. Instead of only saying “how‘s it going?” let them know you’re here for them if they need anything – and that you genuinely mean it.
Don’t ask them to educate you. They’re going through enough and can’t spend their energy now trying to teach you. There are endless resources out there, so that’s on you to read up! Don’t make it about you (“I feel your pain, this bad thing happened to me once”) – it’s not about you. This being said, please don’t shy away because you’re afraid to “say the wrong thing.” It’s more hurtful to not say anything at all.
The learning doesn’t end here. Vow to keep listening and learning long after the headlines. There are incredible resources online for how to be anti-racist, ways to be an ally, and which causes to help support. Read books written by these authors, check out these artists, watch these shows and movies, follow these voices on your social media channels, support these businesses… all from Black creators.
Dive into your personal biases and evaluate where you can grow. Continue to ask yourself the difficult questions and build on self improvement. These steps you take today will pave the way for a more tolerant world tomorrow.