February 13, 2017
Is That a Racist Remark? What You Need to Know as a Leader 
Because we deal with diversity, inclusion, harassment and discrimination, we frequently conduct workshops and do investigations where this question comes up. I have found that it is one of those questions that seems to cause divisions just by people asking it. Yet many times leaders are astounded to find out that something they had no idea could cause anyone pain is perceived in a very different way than they intended. They don't view themselves as racist and can't imagine why anyone else thinks they might be.

"Good diversity and inclusion work should take you a step further, 
into the ability to see things from someone else's perspective..."

What Should You Do?   

Make sure that you and your team ask some better questions, such as: 
  • Is the remark respectful? 
  • Is it consistent with how this person likes to be treated? Don't ask how you would like to be treated, but have you taken the time to find out how they like to be treated? 
  • Is it consistent with the values and policies of your organization? 
  • Is it consistent with established laws on discrimination and harassment?  
  • Are you educated enough to know when you are crossing into the red zone in these areas?
Many times, managers and their teams have only been educated on the most blatant racist examples. Good diversity and inclusion work should take you a step further, into the ability to see things from someone else's perspective and to understand how the remark might be perceived by someone with a very different background from you.

Did You Know?

The diversity and inclusion work that we offer takes you into exactly this territory. We always use a diverse team of trainers to conduct these sessions in order to make sure that you have an opportunity to learn from leaders with different life experiences. 

For more information, call or write us at: 303-216-1020 or [email protected]

Read Lynne's books on sexual harassment and affirmative action to fully understand these critical issues in the workplace.     

Workplaces That Work | (303) 216-1020 | [email protected] 
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