In many workplaces, we often hear terms, such as ‘job-culture’ or ‘cultural fit’. For many of us, we still have yet to figure out what those two terms mean. We may have an idea, but not a definition. However, we often find exactly what these two terms mean as we spend more time in our role(s) at a company.
Truth be told, organizations are composed of people. People come with values and belief-systems. In the heart of this, you have the human-experience. No problem. Organizations usually do not expect people to come in the door as a blank slate. On the contrary, they are looking for individuals that will help the organization accomplish its goals. No problem. All organizations have end-goals at the end of the day.
So, what exactly is the problem? The problem comes with organizations disguising White-supremacy. Disguising as what? Job-culture or their definition of being a cultural fit. In many workplaces, diversity is usually tossed around in trainings, workshops, and business jargon. However, it is quickly seen that many people of color do not occupy positions nor occupy positions of leadership. Why?
As previously noted, organizations are composed of people. However, what happens is that predominately-White organizations may state that they’ve tried to recruit people of color, but haven’t found anyone qualified. Another common excuse, we don’t know how to recruit people of color. Honestly, I find these two excuses as…excuses.
In sitting in meetings with (White) recruiters, (White) board members, and (White) supervisors, there’s not a lack of ideas on how to progress an organization forward, or how to accomplish quarterly goals. However, it always seem as if there’s a lack of ideas on how to recruit and retain people of color. In often seeing myself in predominately White spaces, I am told how smart I am and how I am great at articulating myself. This is racist. I do not like to coin this as microagression. It’s just racist. Call a spade a spade.
On many occasions, (White) co-workers have made sly comments about my hair and how I styled it. On other occasions, (White) coworkers would use Black vernacular to speak to me. On a few occasions, (White) coworkers would make derogatory comments about Black people and try to make an excuse for it. In organizations that lack diversity AND inclusion, nothing will change. To be exclusive of people of color and to punish those that are Black and brown in the workplace because they do not fit Whiteness is White-supremacy. Diversity trainings and workshops are ineffective if positions of power are still being occupied by Whites. Furthermore, keeping people of color in the lower-tiers of the hierarchy subconsciously aids in the belief that these populations of individuals are not qualified for the upper-echelons of an organization. In essence, this feeds into White-supremacist thinking, and maintains the ideology that people of color are inferior to Whites.
In the nature of transparency, people of color are growing tiresome of these vague concepts that are simply indicative of White-supremacist ideology that is running through an organization. Hiring one person of color doesn’t make you diverse nor inclusive. If that person of color has to succumb to racist comments and exclusionary tactics in the workplace, the job-culture is problematic.
In my own personal experiences, I have seen workplaces that are diverse and inclusive of all individuals from all backgrounds. In these workplaces, the organizations flourished. On the other hand, places with White-supremacy can still flourish, but it lends itself to a workplace that will not flourish in the way that a diverse and inclusive organization will. As a globalized world, we have to learn and understand one another. We have to learn how to communicate with folks that do not look, speak, or behave like ourselves. It is a reality that we have to understand, despite the opposition of some.
So, what do I propose? Absolutely nothing. People of color continuously teach and labor behind equitable practices in workplaces. To draw out a plan for organizational change in the department of equity is not my job as a Black woman. It is the job of those in power to create an equitable place of work for all employees.