fbpx
Thursday, December 2, 2021
Man and woman walking down school hallway talking.
Diversity

How career practitioners can continue to challenge oppressive systems

As career practitioners, it’s important to help our racialized clients work through the many barriers they experience in navigating their education and careers. In my last article for CERIC’s Careering magazine, I outlined several approaches to advocate for opportunities for individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. These ranged from addressing education streams racialized folks are being steered into, to partnering with organizations to address the diverse needs of clients, to standing up to racism and oppression when you see it by engaging in crucial conversations and seeking reinforcements to help support your work.

Jodi Tingling will be presenting a webinar series in partnership with CERIC and CDAA on “Supporting career practitioners to have inclusive anti-racist practices to empower clients who are racialized,” starting Nov. 18. Learn more and register at ceric.ca/webinars.

Last year we saw a shift in consciousness following the death of George Floyd, whose murder was caught on camera, and the mistreatment and killings of many other Black folks. This brought a spotlight on the many injustices that Black, Indigenous and People of Colour have been experiencing because of the racist systems, policies and people in place across all institutions ingrained in white supremacy. We saw the support of many organizations vowing to stand in solidarity with people of colour and the Black community.

However, pledges to support diversity, equity and inclusion do not always align with action. Last year, 209 companies stepped up to join The Black North Initiative – a pledge to help corporations make real change in the areas of hiring, retaining and promoting Black talent. The Globe and Mail did a year-in-review survey and only received responses from 105 of the companies that had signed on to the initiative. Of those, only 16 have hired more Black talent at the executive leadership table. This means lots of work still needs to be done to advocate for change.

So, what can we continue to do to advocate for change in the education and career space for those who are racialized? First, keep having those uncomfortable conversations. When employers say things like “we only hire the best person for the role” and then proceeds to hire the same kind of people, push back. This phrase is inherently problematic, because it reflects an assumption that the best candidates are white, cis-gendered professionals.

“Diversity, equity, and inclusion should be ingrained in everything we do.”

Consider engaging in a discussion about where there may be bias in an employer’s recruiting and hiring process. Stacey Gordon, author of Unbias: Addressing Unconscious Bias at Work, says leaders need to understand where they stand on concepts such as affinity bias, groupthink, perception bias, the halo effect, confirmation bias and gender bias. Gordon also says thinking that one person is the most qualified for the job is a misconception. In general, there are many people that are qualified for a role, and unconscious bias will be evident in how someone decides that one person is more qualified than the other.

Next, diversity, equity, and inclusion should be ingrained in everything we do. It’s not an HR issue; it’s a human rights issue. If we leave diversity, equity, and inclusion up to one department, then this leaves only this department accountable for change. We all need to work together to dismantle racist systems and practices. Ask yourself: What can I do to make the system I work in more equitable for others? This may mean challenging your own beliefs systems, voicing your concerns in a public manner, and advocating for change.

Lastly, to be a true ally for change, understand where your privilege is, how you have benefited from systemic oppression, and de-centre yourself in the work of dismantling oppressive systems and providing more equitable systems. Dr. Waajida L. Small says to do this, you need to continue to educate yourself on the issues and how these systems have historically oppressed racialized folks. Use your privilege to speak up; take action and confront those who are using their privilege to continue to oppress others – especially with clients who are racialized. And finally, be public about your efforts to dismantle institutionalized oppression and engage with those who are working toward the same goals.

Jodi Tingling Author
Jodi Tingling is a Workplace and Wellness Strategist who works with leaders, professionals and organizations to ensure they meet their unique workplace goals. As a champion for Black, Indigenous and people of colour, her passion is to create equitable workspaces where everyone can feel safe to work in their purpose.
×
Jodi Tingling Author
Jodi Tingling is a Workplace and Wellness Strategist who works with leaders, professionals and organizations to ensure they meet their unique workplace goals. As a champion for Black, Indigenous and people of colour, her passion is to create equitable workspaces where everyone can feel safe to work in their purpose.
Latest Posts
  • Man and woman walking down school hallway talking.