We have a lot going on this month at Not In My Colour. Our conversations are very deep and we hear a lot about zoom fatigue and social activism fatigue. I’ve been zooming with friends and colleagues and the conversations with women always-without exception- lead to our experience with harassment, systemic discrimination and abuse. Our mental health is wobbly. We long since lost trust that our leaders have our back. Social activists are fighting the systems which is what is wrong with it all. We’re not supposed to fight a system to take care of all of us, to protect us. What do we have instead? We have long lasting PTSD and a myriad of mental health struggles caused by trying to navigate hostile work environments. Forget the trite saying “leave no person behind,” we all know it’s not true.
We spent decades creating buzz and awareness of systemic anti- Black racism and discrimination. We can all see it’s not enough. Awareness doesn’t lead to action because discrimination is a habit. What we have now is calendars full of the special days to raise awareness, for example did you know that in Ontario, this is Black Mental Health week? It’s great that we talk about it because it does open our eyes and ears to have more difficult conversations but we still don’t know how to have the difficult conversations with care.
Privilege is a gift we’re allotted if we’re white and male. Then it trickles down to white women and so on…
Let this be the era in history books that shows we did more. We have an opportunity to do more for everyone in the community, to eradicate the discriminatory practices that marginalize certain people.
Now that we talked philosophy, let me share some tips on how to have difficult conversations with care as to not re-traumatize our friends, neighbors, colleagues… Get a piece of paper to write or start a new document because you’re about to make lists!
- Step 1: Define for yourself the habits you need to start integrating to be a force of positive change. For example, create 2 lists. One: here are some ways I will act differently… and Two: here are some ways I will treat others differently…
- Step 2: Define what makes a hostile work environment
- Step 3: Collect relevant data and interpret it to see the reality of the workplace culture in your organization
- Step 4: Always remember that you do not know the hell other’s are living through, stay open minded to other people’s experiences
- Step 5: Learn where the gaps are when looking at equity groups through an intersectional lens such as workplace experiences or internal communications.
Having interpreted the gaps you can start rebuilding your policies and procedures to create an equitable workplace culture. The steps are easy to understand and truly hard to do. We avoid difficult conversation because we know there’s so much to unpack. There’s so much trauma around us.
We are here for you when you’re trying to figure out how to navigate and create safe ecosystems. You can always connect with us for a 30 minute chat about workplace culture.
Of course, we also provide exclusive tools and knowledge in our bi-monthly newsletter
- Black Mental Health Day
- Stop Raising Awareness Already
- Black History Month 2020: Discussing mental health in the Black community for World Mental Health Day
- The Importance of Black Mental Health Week