White people, it’s time to truly practise allyship beyond the share button. When we look around our meeting rooms (or zoom calls) and see only the same colour skin. Speak up. Get uncomfortable.
Your black colleagues need you. Before the death of George Floyd, I never thought about what that truly meant. I worked in a majority white department of an office. And even though I had always actively educated myself and learnt from great conversations outside of work. For some reason within those office walls, I accepted their mediocre effort for “diversity and inclusion”. I know that as a female junior employee, my own role and white privilege got in the way, I told myself I had no voice. And subsequently said nothing. I realise now that you can educate yourself all you want, but saying nothing, achieves nothing.
Over these few days, I have seen a lot of companies show their true colours. Either by not speaking about Black Lives Matter, or posting the bare minimum buzzword statements and signing performative pledges. I can’t begin to imagine what that is like for a black person. To witness the company you work for providing no investment in your human rights. It makes me angry. I hope it makes you angry too.
An act of an accomplice is putting your white safety, white health and white freedom on the line. It will be intimidating. You might not feel educated enough. Or that it is even your place to raise the issue. None of these reasons are valid. Ignore the white privilege. Companies might have the power, but you do have a voice. It’s time to email your boss now! Here’s a handy template.
The proceeds for this article have been donated to www.stephenlawrence.org.uk