What can you do about racism in the workplace when you’re not part of the minority being affected by it? Plenty. Racism and discrimination often don’t stop when its victims stand up against it. Instead, it takes the collective efforts of both minorities and their allies to stop racial discrimination.
Here’s how to be a good ally when you see racism at work:
- Speak up: If you feel comfortable (and safe) doing so, sometimes all it takes to stop racist behavior is someone’s vocal opposition. Simply say, “Hey, that’s unacceptable. Don’t talk (or act) that way.”
- Offer support: If you can’t speak up (or after you do), you can help the person affected by offering a quiet word of support. Let them know that they can always confide in you and rely on you to support them.
- Document it: If you’re on the sidelines of racial attacks or insults at work, take notes. It can be helpful to have a record of who was there, what was said or done and how the situation was handled.
- Report it: You don’t have to be the victim of racial discrimination to report it to your team leader, supervisor or manager. By vocalizing your feelings about racial discrimination at work, you take the attention away from the minority worker who’s directly impacted and put it back on the person exhibiting the discriminatory behavior.
Racial discrimination at work affects everyone on the job site — not just the intended target. No matter who you are or what your position is, you can be a positive force for change by following these tips. If you’re the victim of discrimination at work, however, and you’re getting nowhere by making complaints through the normal channels, it may be time to take your case to an attorney for evaluation.