“I Don't See Race”: What We Mean Vs How We’re Understood

6957cf4b50eae54038e7fe84ae74f138-originaMen Can Flip the Script
 
By Jared Cline. Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t see race”? That phrase is a perfect example of the difference between intent and impact. 
 
When white people say, “I don’t see race,” what they usually mean is, “I don’t make assumptions about people based on race. I see people as individuals.” The impact of this phrase can be quite different, however. When people of color hear this phrase, it often feels like a form of erasure.
 
As a majority group (and my group) in the United States, white people are not often confronted with the fact of our own race. So when we find ourselves in situations where people of color are present, our response is often to pretend that race does not exist. This view more closely aligns with our experience of the world, but it is not the reality for people of color, for whom race is a consequential factor in and out of the workplace. Ignoring that part of their identity erodes trust and our ability to genuinely connect. 
 
That’s why we’re asking men to help “flip the script.” We all have said things that are offensive and hurtful. Getting past these missteps means recognizing that our words matter. By making simple, but powerful changes to the way we communicate across difference, we can create inclusive environments where people feel both that they are valued and that they belong.
 
In the two infographics below, we’ve compiled ways to “flip the script” on gender, race, and ethnicity. Before you dive in, keep these helpful tips in mind:
 
Pay attention. Are your words authentic, thoughtful, and carefully chosen, yet not so stilted as to stifle open discussion?
 
Learn from others. Ask your colleagues to describe biased behavior they have experienced or witnessed. What did it look like? What was said?
 
Be accountable. Ask a colleague: “Can I count on you to give me honest, constructive feedback if I say anything that is hurtful or offensive to you, in the moment or later?
 
Now it’s time for you to “flip the script!” 

Infographic: Flip the Script: Race & Ethnicity in the Workplace
Infographic: Flip the Script: Women in the Workplace
 

f3c223e56ea53d74eb3dd4cda12dcbfb-huge-weJared Cline is the Community Manager at MARC (Men Advocating Real Change). He has worked as Web and Associate Editor at Time Out Beijing magazine, where he covered local and expatriate culture in China's capital city. He can be reached at jcline@catalyst.org.
 
Posted by Jared Cline on Feb 7, 2017 3:26 PM America/New_York
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