Dealing with Colour at the workplace

Admittedly, the workplace can be a really tricky environment. With people from all works of life, there is every tendency to play the cards wrong and intentionally or unintentionally foster colourism.

But just how do you deal with colourism your institution? Let’s find out!

The Colour Difference

Colour exists for identification. It is a pointer to our histories. Like labels, it describes. It hints on our brands, our stories, on the things that made us who we are.

Colour is important. But beyond identification, it should not be a symbol or pointer to weakness or inadequacies. Colour should be embraced, yet disregarded.

The best ways to effect this is by sticking with the following hacks:

No Nepotism

Nepotism can be mild. Subtle. But the deal with nepotism is that it’s quite easy for the unfavoured parties to recognize. The favoured parties may not see this. In fact, they may have a hard time accepting that indeed, there is a bias.

For instance, if as a boss, you let a person of the same colour off the hook because, for some reason, you just felt like it but you dish out strict measures to another person that falls short of the same standard, that might be subtle demonstrations of nepotism.

The basic idea is to eliminate double standards.

Work with merit not colour

This is more or less a twin to the ‘no nepotism’ rule.

If someone of a different colour can do the job better, why not have them head that department and improve sales by the end of the month?

Give everyone an equal chance. Whoever deserves the promotion should get the promotion. In our society today, it is most often the case that black people struggle to earn their spot in the workplace and sometimes even after all that struggle, some are not rewarded for their hard work. Instead, the position goes to their white counterparts.

That’s not good enough and we know we can do better than that.

Let go of sentiments

Sentiments tell you to stand with people of your colour and stand against others of different colour. But if that is our guiding principle, we have failed. How can we hold our biases over the truth?

If someone black does wrong and you’re black, the next thing to do is not to blindly stand with them, but to stand with the truth.

If someone white does something wrong as well against someone black, it would be a bit foolish to stand with the guilty party just before they are of the same colour as you.

Find out what is true before you proclaim a verdict. In the case of an argument or misunderstanding, patiently listen to both sides of the story. Be objective, and most importantly, only stand with what is right and true.

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