Building an Anti-Racist Organisation
The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd at the beginning of an already difficult year shocked the world. Many of us were ignorant to the Black experience lived daily by those near and far, but the most recent Black Lives Matter movement spurred us to confront this reality.
We wanted to do more than share a social media post in solidarity. Our call-to-action was to listen and learn. We did just that with the help of an organisation focused on bridging the gap between anti-racism education and business.
The Anti-Racist Social Club is an anti-racism education and activism collective that works to create spaces and resources for education and open dialogue with White people and non-Black people of colour. It also hosts corporate workshops for building anti-racist organisations, equipping senior leadership with diversity and inclusion best practices, improving recruitment and retention, and reshaping corporate culture to be more inclusive of marginalised groups.
In theory, we know that diversity is important. As well as being ethically imperative, the business case for diversity and inclusion is clear. A McKinsey study titled Diversity Matters revealed that “companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians”. This isn’t surprising. When you have diverse backgrounds and perspectives in the room, you’re able to produce more creative ideas.
Although it was clear we wanted to engage an outside organisation to help us promote diversity in our business, we knew the jury was out on whether or not ‘implicit bias training’ is effective. Sociologists Frank Dobbin & Alexandra Kalev, discussed their research around diversity in the workplace with the Harvard Business Review noting that “the positive effects of diversity training rarely last beyond a day or two, and a number of studies suggest that it can activate bias or spark a backlash”. In another piece, they argued that “there is ample evidence that training alone does not change attitudes or behaviour, or not by much and not for long”.
"This workshop was a necessary and integral starting point to improving our organisation's diversity and inclusion efforts."
Calen Cole, Associate Director, Stripe Partners
The Anti-Racial Social Club’s offering was different. More a workshop than a training, its differentiator was the ongoing support offered for becoming an anti-racist organisation. We’d already organised a working group to promote diversity, but having a partner in the journey towards becoming anti-racist was crucial. “This workshop was a necessary and integral starting point to improving our organisation’s diversity and inclusion efforts,” said our Associate Director Calen Cole. “The session was engaging, informative, and expertly facilitated. I highly recommend The Anti-Racist Social Club’s workshop to anyone who wants to make a plan of action for combating racism in their organisations and in society.”
The workshop was a great way for us to engage with such a difficult topic in new and fun ways. Hakeem S. Allen, the founder of The Club and facilitator of the workshop, created a safe environment for everyone to ask any questions, while educating us on the realities of why diversity is so critical for our business. It wasn’t a lecture or presentation – we had open discussions and participated in activities that got us thinking about race and what it means to be an ally in new ways. What’s more, we now have a resource we can engage with beyond the workshop to continue the work we started.
Stripe Partners exists to help our clients identify the right opportunities and invent the right future. That requires us to understand the world around us, deeply, and meet the moment with fresh thinking and inspiration. This workshop was exactly what we needed to jumpstart a shift in our culture and ways of working that will see impact long term. We’re proud of this new partnership and are looking forward to what comes of it in the months to come.
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For more information about The Anti-Racist Social Club and its workshops, check out their website which features a catalogue of over 500 resources for anti-racism learning as well as original video content and tangible ways to support the fight for racial equality both personally and professionally.