Published 3 years ago.
About a 3 minute read.
Image: Christina @ wocintechchat.com/Unsplash
We are living in a moment that’s demanding employers to change the way in which they position themselves — if they really believe in inclusion — while Black employees can really evaluate where they are and how they feel about their workplace.
Black employees and their workplace experiences vary greatly, and we should not
hold onto this idea that all Black employees are dissatisfied with their
company’s response to the continued discrimination in the workplace and how
their needs — around mental and emotional health, equity in the workspace,
diversity and inclusion, and opportunities to excel in their positions — are met
on a global scale.
In my 20 years of experience advising and counseling clients on how to protect
their mental well-being, I know people who feel they are already working for a
company who has been addressing the needs of Black Lives
Matter on a
global scale. To understand each situation, we need to analyze company by
company and look at what Black people in their respective industries are looking
We need to examine the timelines and
from companies that are trying to diminish racial tensions. Black employees can
evaluate what responsibility they have in creating opportunities to feel
respected and valued at work — and that may not be limited to working for others
— while also analyzing whether they have been working for companies that do not
have an inherently equitable landscape for Black employees to be included in
decision-making and professional development.
The problem with having expectations around what companies must do for Black
employees comes down to professional ethics. We might not want to talk about it,
because there has been a shift in the cultural landscape of racial tensions —
both inside and outside of work. But it is time we look at who is responsible
for the emotional lifting that comes along with taking care of people, and the
ideas around our own individual responsibilities to take care of ourselves.
There can be an exchange of energy and ideas between employers and employees;
but at the same time, this is an opportunity for employers to speak up about
their lack of knowledge around what it means to have a diverse and equitable
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Once these conversations start taking place, if Black employees feel their job
needs to do more for them than it has, they could put together a proposal to
constructively present ideas to change this — starting with a request to create
an internal diversity and inclusion officer. They should also examine why their
emotional needs have not been met, look at how much responsibility to put on the
employer to do so, and be willing to create timelines for specific milestones.
There are companies that have been challenged in this area before and have come
up with various ideas when the climate is hot. But it comes down to whether
Black employees are willing to wait and give their needs time to be addressed at
that company, or they feel another employer may be better equipped to do that
Great firms owned, founded and managed by talented, Black professionals can be
hired by companies who want to create a workplace that is equitable, as well as
valuable, to the transference of economic
We are living in a moment that’s demanding employers to change the way in which
they position themselves — if they really believe in inclusion — while Black
employees can reconsider their positions. There is this view now that Black
employees everywhere are likely mad at their employers; but it is important to
remember that each experience is different, and not every Black employee is hurt
or shocked by these illuminated affairs.
Ever since Black employees have been in workspaces, they have been known to navigate less-than-equitable environments by adapting to being not necessarily noticed or included. Black employees have always been resilient, but this is a great opportunity for them to really evaluate where they are and how they feel about their conditions.
Published Jul 24, 2020 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST
Asha Tarry is an author, award-winning community mental health advocate, psychotherapist and certified life coach. She is the founder of Behavioral Health Consulting Services LMSW, PLLC; which provides consulting, counseling and coaching to creatives and small business owners in the wellness and entertainment industries and educational sector.