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Conversations About Race In The Workplace

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The past month has been full of conversations on the topic of racism. After George Floyd was killed by police, protests filled the streets of the entire country. Hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter and #amplifymelanatedvoices have kept the movement alive. Companies and brands released statements supporting black lives and condemning racism. But after the initial wave of widespread awareness, how do you have tough conversations in everyday life? The conversations around race aren’t easy to have. But communications expert Charlene Wheeless and founder of AnySizeDeals Steve Nson chat with Bold TV about what we all can do better.


Uncomfortable conversations about race

Conversations surrounding race happen in daily life –– with family, coworkers and friends. How do you reach out to your black friends in this time of unrest? It’s OK to reach out to them and let them know they’re on your mind. Then, make sure you get comfortable with having uncomfortable conversations. There are a few wrong ways to go about these conversations. First, if you weren’t close to a person before this movement, don’t try to pretend you’re close pals. Second, don’t ask a person of color to educate you on issues of race. Wheeless suggests educating yourself before talking to your friends of color. It shows your interest and dedication.


Putting business actions behind words

On a wider scale, conversations can happen in the business community. And there are several ways the workplace can put actions behind words. Some brands have gotten heat for posting that black lives matter when they have barely any employees of color. So they can start by diversifying. Then, action spreads to contractors and vendors. Nson says that almost half of the new businesses in America are started by black women. Corporations have a large pool to hire from! After contracting work, we move to who funds projects: the venture capital community. Experts have said that only 1% of funding goes to black founders. This is an area that can grow in supporting people of color. There’s work yet to be done. But it all starts with a tough conversation.

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