As we announced in June 2020, we are committed to dismantling systemic inequality in recruiting. Part of this commitment involves quarterly updates surrounding our efforts.
In Q3 of 2022, we wrapped up our third session with The Courage Collective.
The final part of our 3-part series was titled Breaking Down White Supremacy. Wow, that’s heavy, isn’t it? It is, and it should be because we (you, me, and all the rest of us) have a lot of work to do to break it down. Diving in, The Courage Collective took us through the following outline:
- The wheel of Power and Privilege, giving us the opportunity to consider where each of us lands on it.
- Definition of Power: “Access to resources; the ability to influence others; access to decision-makers to get what you want done; the ability to define reality for yourself and others.”
- Definition of Privilege: 1) A special right, benefit, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. 2) An unearned advantage that a dominant group has over marginalized groups.
- Centering: “To make one’s identity, feelings, values, or norms the center; To make the focal point whether directly or indirectly.”
- Examples of white supremacy culture (see image)
- Everyday tips that we can work at to break down white supremacy
- Seek out ways to extend your privilege to those who don’t have your level of access.
- Seek out chances to work collaboratively towards a communally beneficial goal.
- Seek out opportunities to facilitate space for non-binary thinking to rise and outshine the normal “either/or” model.
- Seek out moments to prioritize “proper rest” over “perfect work”
- Seek out occasions to cultivate meaningful connection that is not based on ‘getting ahead’.
While there were several key takeaways and perspectives our team had never considered before, collectively a few things really made an impact on us.
- Seeing where we as individuals landed in the Wheel of Power and Privilege and recognizing because of where we are as individuals, how different our lives can be. For example, the concept that everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, you’ve heard that right? But my 24 hours based on the power and privilege I have been given, is likely very different from someone who doesn’t have the same power and privilege that I do. Take for instance the person who has a car and the person that relies on public transportation; those 24 hours look very different and doesn’t reflect equal opportunity. Thus, with that difference, not everyone starts at the same starting line given the differences in our power and privilege. Upon reflection, our team were challenged with the question of what we want to do with that power and that privilege.Because the starting line is not the same for everyone, we are making it our commitment to identify and close gaps in the recruiting process and break down the systemic inequality that exists.
- Learning that white supremacy is not a group of people, but rather a system or thought. Wow, this gave us (me) a lot to reflect on. I hadn’t looked at white supremacy this way before.Nani Vishwanath introduced us a concept introduced by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre: “White supremacy is not the shark; it is the water.” Read more here.
- Lastly, where can we as a team and as professionals take action in our everyday work and interactions? One practice we can work on every day is seeking to change the perspective of the “perfect” candidate. This could look like posing the question: why isn’t it okay that someone has career gaps? Or bringing forward the discussion that placing value on one format of a resume over another isn’t allowing the hiring team to experience the most diverse candidate pool.
Lastly, Michael Polite shared a comment that impacted all of us:
“Notice how the cycle of sustainable change is not a three-step process (e.g. Awareness, Gather Information, ACT). It is a far more involved process that requires relationship building, planning, and reflection. The former model is unsustainable, oftentimes creating more problems. The latter is sustainable, yielding a boost in creative energies.”
While this session ended our 3-part series with The Courage Collective, we are extremely grateful to have established a partnership that will go far beyond this 3-part series. Thank you for sharing your insight, experiences, and wisdom with us – we are grateful for your guidance on this journey.