On May 25th, 2020 the world witnessed a viral video of the brutal murder by police of George Floyd. Protesting all over the world ensued (including all 50 states in the US) as we learned what (not so new) normalized racism REALLY looks like. Again, and all under the backdrop of Covid-19.
Photo by Lorie Shaull. Mural, located on the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue South in Minneapolis, is the work of artists Xena Goldman, Cadex Herrera, and Greta McLain with the help of artists Niko Alexander and Pablo Hernandez.
If you are shocked that this could still be happening today, remember that there are some 300 years of normalization of racism that brought us to this point. (Compiled by TheRoot on US-based history here.)
Yes we are still in chaos. It’s over-due for us now to laser-focus on how we can treat one another with humanity, respect and dignity.
If you’re wondering how this relates to building products customers love with your team, start first by uncovering your own biases. Here’s an affinity bias exercise you can do with yourself and your team. After doing the exercise, discuss as a team how embracing diverse perspectives can have an impact on customer empathy, your worldview of markets, the potential (and perhaps not privileged) customers you may have missed. And when you’re starting exploring a problem together as a team, really examine how is privilege and credibility working within your team. Is everyone invited to the table and how is credibility working in a way that is evenly distributed? If you’re of the opinion that there are no folks from underrepresented groups available to help you in your product development, it’s time to lend a hand. This means you need to take action and contact your local universities and offer to mentor underrepresented groups to be able to foster the diverse perspectives you’re missing out on.
In the states we have a full-blown fed-uprising happening. We are protesting, contacting local leaders demanding justice, requesting the city mayor to partner with the community to review police actions and progress, signing petitions, and voting with a focus on the social economic conditions holding back people of color.
Anti-bullying campaigns in schools teach against bullying by focusing not on the bully but on the bystanders to give them the courage to speak up. “If it’s mean, intervene.” Time to start intervening if you haven’t started already. Below are some resources to help you learn more about racism and how you can take action.
🔍 Anti-racism, take action resources
Malcolm Gladwell’s Podcast from his book David and Goliath on policing and legitimacy:
From the author of “How to Be an Antiracist”, Professor Ibram X. Kendi, here is a podcast brought together by Brené Brown discussing racial disparities, policy, and equality, but really focusing on How to Be an Antiracist, which is a groundbreaking approach to understanding uprooting racism and inequality in our society and in ourselves. https://brenebrown.com/podcast/brene-with-ibram-x-kendi-on-how-to-be-an-antiracist/
This document is intended to serve as a resource to deepen your anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in anti-racism work in the past, pick one thing to read and start now.
For US readers:
Here is a comprehensive list of bail funds for protestors: https://bailfunds.github.io, and a comprehensive list of pro-bono attorneys if you are arrested: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1w24baP-I-DcL6KOPuYkxuCeL_5hbkX6tryucgj6MaOw/edit#gid=0
75 things you can take action on immediately w.r.t. racial justice: https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234
Understand where the state organized hate groups are organizing from and help fight hate, teach tolerance, and support justice: https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map