Silence is Complicity
I couldn’t write this week as if everything was the same as it has been. It’s not. We are experiencing unrest across the country and I wanted to address the situation head-on.
To start, those who identify as Black, I see you and stand with you. I sincerely hope you are ok and if I can help you in some way, please reach out to me.
To those who identify as white, this article is for you.
I recognize my privilege as a white woman. I am not perfect nor do I pretend to be. This is a work in progress for me and I continue to challenge myself and learn. As a business owner, a parent, a human, I decide what is important to me and my business. From the beginning, I’ve made a decision to be inclusive with my branding and messaging. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of self-reflection and I wanted to share some of that with you.
If you decide to write a social post or a blog in support of what’s happening, make sure it is authentic and genuine. Do not simply share a post or copy from someone else. Share not only that you stand by Black Lives Matter, but also what you are doing in this fight against racism.
Make a conscious choice to vocalize your position on racism. It’s not enough to say “I am not racist”. In order to fight racism, you must be anti-racist. Wherever you are, if you see racism, call it out.
Silence is compliance.
Choosing to not participate in the conversation is, in essence, to be complicit in the act. When a co-worker, family member, friend, or stranger says or does something where you choose not to respond, you accept that as truth. To say “oh that’s just so-and-so, they don’t mean it” is an excuse. Hold them to a higher standard and call them out.
Educate yourself, your team, and your family.
My 8-year-old has lived a very sheltered and privilege life. We’ve touched on the subject of racism, but she’s never experienced it and we haven’t talked enough about the experiences Black communities likely have. This past week, I chose to purchase a subscription to a kids book about and one of the books is on racism. Make racism a discussion that isn’t scary for your kids. Teach them that racism is still very real and not just in the history books.
Hire & buy from Black entrepreneurs.
If you are hiring, make a point to attract and hire Black people. If you’re not hiring and still want to support the community, buy from Black businesses. This list is not inclusive, so you may need to do your own research for businesses near you. Specifically ask members of your community who is a Black business owner. Seek them out.
Make a policy.
Have a policy (even if you’re a soloprenuer) that addresses how you’ll handle a racist or discriminatory situation. Last year I added a statement on my FAQ page that explicitly welcomes businesses that support women, BIPOC, Trans and/or Gender Non-Conforming and values diverse points of view. Internally, my policy is that if a business doesn’t support these values, I will not work with them. Full stop.
Do the work.
At times like this, many people turn to Black community members and ask more of them. “Please tell me how I can do better.” The only thing you should be asking is if they are ok.
Do not ask them to do more work to educate you or to make you feel better about how you’re feeling. They are tired. They have been fighting this fight for a very long time. Take time out of your day to educate yourself.
It is our time to stand with our Black community and demand change.