A World Without Racism Listens
Promoting Equality through Listening
The continuation of racism will persist if we don’t promote equality. By promoting equality, we are able to change the mindset of those who continue to perpetuate the cycle of racism. We can stop this cycle by listening, which in turn promotes equality by enabling us to understand where those who continue the cycle are coming from. If we keep tuning out what others are saying, we do not learn, and we will never understand their perspective, yet the problem will still persist. As such, listening is the first step that is needed in order to learn and to make sure we can promote equality. Listening can start at home, at school, or at your workplace. By listening, we can understand, and then we are able to create a world where equality is not just a possibility — it is a reality.
What are some ways to promote equality by listening? An example can be drawn from Sodexo in 2002 when it was facing the world’s largest race discrimination lawsuit history had seen. Newly appointed Senior VP of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer Rohini Anand created a strategy to help divide the gap within the company and lay a foundation that is used across other companies to this day. She helped create a strategy known as Listening and Learning. Listening and Learning forced companies and employees to have the conversation about race discrimination and the conversation about racism in the workplace. Many Europeans believed racism was a problem that Americans faced rather than being a global problem. The result of this strategy being implemented was the fact that it allowed for less discrimination and fewer racial actions within the workplace globally. (Wharton 2020)
We can create equality if we all practice active listening. Active listening allows us to absorb information from many different perspectives and provide alternatives to those who are continuing the perpetuation of racism. Some methods of active listening are described below. (Marsh McLennan BRINK 2020)
- Virtual focus groups are real-time facilitated online chat groups with 40-70 anonymous people on a virtual call. In a similar fashion to a focus group, this can give the listeners and the participants different perspectives on what are some problems that they face or see within their community and what strategies might be useful in ending racism and promoting equality.
- Peer-to-peer sharing is having an interactive group conversation about challenges participants have faced in the workforce and providing solutions that could be effective in the quest for creating an equal non-discriminatory workplace environment.
- Millennial Boards are young, diverse professionals who discuss how to handle similar issues that the board of directors are facing and what solutions worked for them that can be replicated to work with employees higher up in the company.
In the end, if we want to live in a world where everyone is equal, we must take the first step in listening. By taking this first step, we have the best chance of ending racism and promoting equality, as we start to understand the problem that continues to exist in our communities and in our workplace. By understanding the basis of those who promote racism we can see what tactic we need to take on to change that mindset and as a result, we can help end racism and live in a world of equality.