How To Combat Cultural Taxation In A Predominately White Workplace
Have brave conversations with your team about diversity, equity and inclusion.
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As some employers start to require workers to return to the office, many Black women (including myself) are choosing to quit their job rather than return to an office climate full of microaggressions. We aren’t willing to re-expose ourselves to problematic workspaces, especially after working from the safety of our homes for more than 16 months. Black women giving a hard pass to the requirement of returning to the office.
As I prepare for my exit from The University of Texas at Austin, I’ve been very vocal about the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues I’ve experienced and observed — one of them being the heavy burden of cultural taxation. Part of cultural taxation is the emotional stress caused by being the “only one” in an office. This can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness and the unmet need for a sense of belonging.
After a very blunt and honest conversation with my manager, he created an opportunity for our team to discuss how offices and the people working inside them can start to combat cultural taxation. The discussion helped the team better understand the importance of affirming, appreciating and validating the experiences/knowledge marginalized individuals bring to the table.
Given how productive this conversation was, I thought, “Hey, why not share my two cents with the internet?” So, here are a few things I shared with my team regarding how predominately white offices can start to address the burden of cultural taxation that many of their minoritized colleagues may be shouldering.