Racism is built and reinforced along the lines of power. Those who govern the systems of power, have the relative freedom to subscribe to any level of dominance they choose. The problem is that this becomes the perfect nurturing environment, in which racism can thrive.
Racist sentiments can be emboldened into the fabric of organizational culture. This helps to support the marginalization of those who do not have the power to shape the culture in an informative way. Having been denied access to the top table, where critical decisions around organizational culture, culture, and processes are decided, Black employees and others from diverse groups, face an uphill struggle.
There is much work to do for leaders to break down the intrinsic barriers that serve to perpetuate the very systems that govern the ability for Black employees to thrive in their organizations.
Leadership mindsets that develop actionable approaches to diversity, will support actions that will better embed inclusion. Inclusive leadership is key to this discussion, but action, as always, speaks much louder than words.
Conversations around racism can take time and may subject some leaders to feelings of fragility, but having these discussions is a must. Leaders will not cure their organizations of racism until they disassemble the thought processes and behaviors that negatively impact their Black employees.
For some within leadership, the facts are already known and it is the reticence towards truly enabling inclusion that is the problem. For others, it is a lack of understanding around the systemic nature of, and the institutionalization of racism that is an issue.
Regardless of the cause, leadership must step up to the plate and embrace the challenge in a holistic way.