In the aftermath of George Floyd’s unnecessary death a lot of things have happened. Black people in the US and the world are in collective pain. We rioted to say enough is enough. The police have spent all week showing they’ve always been violent. Black people have been flooding the internet & social media with our honest feelings on society.
As a result of all of this we’ve seen widespread support. Support for bail, the Black Lives Matter movement, community aid, and more. We’ve also seen brands, platforms, and people express support for us Black folks. Multiple people across industries all of a sudden had an epiphany. So waves of white (and non Black) professionals have signal boosted to help us with their influence and expertise.
As good as the above maybe we can’t deny that it’s come in response to our nationwide trauma. So I have two questions. Is this truly unconditional support for Black people to gain equity across job sectors? Or is this wide scale white guilt? Personally speaking…seeing myself as trendy for white job spaces as we cry to not be killed by the police is HIGHLY uncomfortable.
On one hand, yes all this support for us is good. We aren’t not well represented damn near across all career fields. On the other hand, job inequality and lack of representation has been well reported for decades. It’s not new, none of this is. So you’ll excuse if take pause that white folks all of sudden remember we’re hireable. What’s the reason why we aren’t well represented in most jobs again?
To all the white and non Black people that offered to help Black folks across multiple industries. I’d like for you to truly consider the following. Understand the depth of the commitment you created. You will not just be offering advice and helping improve our resumes. You’ll be a source of real industry insight. So please be honest with all of us.
We are now more honest. When we (WILL) ask: why do you have no Black employees or only 1? Be honest. When we ask why did it take nationwide protests and our injustices for you to realize our worth. Be honest.
If you choose to not be honest we will know. Twitter alone is an archive of all the racism and bigotry we’ve all faced in all job markets. Yeah I bet that’s scary. But if you truly plan to help, we need to address your unconscious bias. Look at your platform and work on why it doesn’t reflect the real world. There’s plenty of resources to help you, as long as you look.
If you aren’t comfortable with unpacking the systemic racism of your respective industry or maybe yourself. I’d ask that you please, please don’t lead us astray. If you think just hiring a few Black people will solve your problem? Ha ha, good luck. You’ll need to re-evaluate why Black folks and other people of color have never been of value to you. Remember, you’re making a commitment and we ask that you go all in. We aren’t rare we’ve always been here. You just decided to look.
Can ya’ll imagine? When a job recruiter asks us Black folks so what questions do you have? I want you all to brace yourself. We will ask how anti-racist is the work environment? We will ask how does your respective company denounce white supremacy? We will rightfully demand to know if our Black voice will be respected unconditionally.
The other thing that has been bothering me is seeing how few Black folks in leadership roles have made call for support. This unfortunately is also a reality of job markets across America. So few of us get to be leaders, our worth gets looked over or leave.
Also, for everybody looking to help Black people, the following is important. We aren’t interested in being the solo Black person at your job. We aren’t going down that path again. Being the only Black, Brown, or person of color is and can be harmful. I assure you mostly white work force needs to change its culture if we are to stay.
If you’re one of these white professionals, you may have found my words harsh. You know what’s harsh? Becoming a hot new thing in the midst of cries for our justice. So I ask that you proceed with caution and great care in your endeavor to help us.
I’m not sorry if any of this makes you uncomfortable. But truly supporting us means dismantling your hiring practices. Now is the time to rebuild them to be more fair.
Supporting us means leadership can’t just be cishet white men. Supporting us means creating a pipeline to eventually lead to our full time employment. Supporting us means to not us the words diverse and inclusive when your team is literally all white. Yes, everyone can be of different sexual orientations and genders but you still wouldn’t be inclusive if you’re all the same race. Also you aren’t diverse and inclusive if you have 1 or 2 Black/Brown people on staff. You need to stop misusing these words.
Sure, I wrote a lot of words on this topic. But it truly has been something I couldn’t sit right with for awhile. I’ll be honest, I may not reach out to a white person asking to help us. If I were to get hired I would be a diversity hire. Not only a diversity hire, but one that came because this company remembered racism can kill us. Do you think that’s a good feeling?
I certainly will not knock or blame my fellow Black folks that will pursue their careers. I just don’t have it in me. Now, if someone is to reach out to me for work? I would/will link them to this very article. Everything mentioned here is crucial so Black folks aren’t miserable with work. That’s the least you could do for us.
I often joke about it, but I know I’m not hireable for a career in journalism/digital media. Ha ha, I just wrote a thousand words to why people will say nah to my resume. Yes, there is nothing wrong with needing help. Do I need career help? Oh, believe I know I do. However, I refuse to seek what’s being offered under these circumstances.
That’s fine though because you know what our Black folks remind me daily? If nothing else we have our pride. I’d rather have my pride and dignity anyway.