Navigating Discussions about Race in the Tech Workplace

Written by Jacq

May 17, 2021

As discussions about diversity, equity, and inclusion continue to be at the forefront of science and tech workplaces, Black and non-White professionals carry the heavy burden of educating others about race—with or without being asked.

Now more than ever, workplaces are taking significant steps to diversify their teams and alleviate the systematic barriers to entry that Black and Latino professionals face in the job market.

Despite the educational strides that are being taken, Black and non-White Latino professionals are still tasked with the heavy burden of having to educate others about race or ethnicity—especially during fraught times of racial tension such as those that arose in the wake of the George Floyd killing. 

 

If you are a minority working as a professional in the tech space, you may feel a range of unpleasant or uncomfortable emotions in these situations. However, there are ways that you can engage in fruitful dialogue about race with your co-workers without it being at the expense of your mental, physical, and professional health.

Here are a few ways that you can approach this as a minority in the workplace:

1. Set Boundaries

If you find that the discussions being held around you are harmful to your mental or professional well-being, do not be afraid to set clear boundaries in the workplace. As allies, non-Black co-workers or team members must be prepared to do their own work first, which includes being mindful of the language and actions they display that can be harmful or offensive to oppressed groups.

2. Engage Leadership

It is critical that workplaces have the resources to host diversity and inclusion training workshops, onboard employee assistance groups, and hire workplace therapists so that no one individual or group in the company feels responsible for leading these difficult conversations.

As a valued member of your organization, you have the right to engage your leadership or senior members about the need for the aforementioned resources. In doing so, you are creating opportunities for yourself and other minority professionals in your workplace to have access to a support network.

3. Acknowledge the Gaps

Understand that one conversation will not solve all the challenges you will likely face as a minority in the workplace. However, the most difficult conversations in the workplace can often lead to greater understanding and empathy for one another, as both team members and human beings. Be patient with yourself and your co-workers and continue to stay alert for areas of growth or discussion that you can bring up with leadership or human resources (HR). 

For more tips about navigating the STEM workplace, professional development, and networking, follow the MinTech Agency blog HERE.

 

 

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