3 quick takeaways from the Anti-racist Organization

Read Time 3 min.

3 quick takeaways from the Anti-racist Organization

Read The Anti-Racist Organization: Dismantling Systemic Racism in the Workplace by Shereen Daniels
Tackle systemic racism in the workplace with practical strategies. HR strategist Shereen Daniels delivers an incisive and honest discussion of how business leaders can change workplace practices to create a more anti-racist and equitable environment.

I listened to this audiobook on Libby and didn’t really take proper notes as I went through. But few key takeaways from memory:

1. Equality is the destination. Equity is how we get there.

This is a useful framing to understand the difference between equality and equity. I’ve always found the mix and match use of these words confusing. I get the difference, I’ve seen the memes about it. But language matters and I appreciated Daniels’ providing a clear distinction here. One is a result, the other is a strategy to achieve that result.

2. Antiracism maturity model

Level One is where you’re treating racism as a compliance issue.

Level Two is where there is intent to be inclusive. It’s driven by HR with some pro-activity but conversations are generic, and language is focused on diversity and inclusion rather than racial equity, racism, Black colleagues etc.

Level Three is where there is strategic focus and specific commitment. Language is intentional and very clear. There is internal communication driven by the business or the board with a senior leader champion.

Level Four takes level three and adds accountability, both public and private.

via HR Rewired, 4-factor RACE model for meaningful racial equity

The book as a whole is aimed at those in leadership positions. However, I think this is particular tool is also really useful when looking for jobs. It’s true that you’ll never fully understand where an organisation sits in this model from the outside. But I feel like some clever questions based on this framework might help gauge roughly where the organisation is at.

I’m mostly coming at this from a wish to save energy spent on expectation vs reality confusion/disappointment. I’d love to see more organisations owning where they are in their equity journey (probably a level 3 or 4 thing though?). So short of that, a rough guess of their maturity level might help when deciding if a job is a good fit for your views and approach to racial and social justice.

3. Groundwater metaphor to understand systemic racism

Racism is something impacts me. Yet this is probably the first time I’ve written any of my thoughts out in public. Silence is not helpful, I know. But sometimes it’s a lack of language that stops me more than a fear of repercussions. How do you put a system like racism into language that’s easier to grasp? The groundwater metaphor is a useful analogy.