How So-Called White Allies Are Failing To Support The State Of Black Women In Corporate America
While the research has revealed so much about how white people can be allies, there is still the question of just how many are willing to.
August 24, 2020 at 12:30 pm
Black women and women of color have been historically erased from the workplace, and it’s no accident. For years, Black women have been pushed out of the professional arena despite typically working much harder than their white colleagues.
This year, we've seen thousands of people put their lives on the line for racial justice, but research from LeanIn.Org and SurveyMonkey on allyship in the workplace reflects that a majority of white employees have never even spoken out against racial discrimination at work.
Speaking out against racial discrimination is a basic act of allyship yet, only 4 in 10 white employees say they have spoken out against racial discrimination at work.
LeanIn.Org, a nonprofit organization founded in 2013, "aims to drive systemic change by helping women achieve their ambitions and working to create a more equal world," has been exploring this phenomenon. This woman-led team is dedicated to creating lasting change that can be achieved by promoting more equitable spaces.
Co-founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Co-founder and CEO Rachel Thomas, the organization has more than 47,000 Lean In Circles in over 174 countries, and new Circles are starting every day. Circles bring together women from all walks of life, with several initiatives for white allies to do their part in authentically supporting Black employees.
After gathering data, LeanIn.Org concluded that there’s a major disconnect between white employees’ perceptions and Black and Latina employees’ experiences. Especially between white women and Black women.
While many white employees believe that they’re allies, Black women and Latinas don't share the same perceptions.
More than 80% of white employees see themselves as allies, but Black women and Latinas disagree. 45% of Black women and 55% of Latinas say they have strong allies, and only 10% of Black women and 19% of Latinas say their strongest allies are white.
Meanwhile, Black women and Latinas are afraid to speak out against the racial discriminations they experience, and it shouldn’t be their responsibility to do so when they’re more likely to face retaliation that could even lead them to being fired.
It is truly irking to learn that only 10% of white women and men who’ve spoken out against racism at work have experienced retaliation, yet most white employees still don’t use their privilege to defend Black co-workers that truly need support. If there’s ever to be equality in the workplace, white employees need to use their power and privilege to advocate for people of color. That means amplifying Black and brown voices and speaking out when witnessing racism in the workplace, even if it makes them uncomfortable.