How To Fight Racism In The Workplace


The recent incidents affecting Ahmaud Arbery, Christian Cooper, and George Floyd make the subject of race impossible to ignore. And while these acts of racism and violence did not happen in the workplace, it’s a reminder that racism still happens in the workplace too. Despite employers increasing investment in diversity and inclusion, a recent Glassdoor survey reveals that 61 percent, or about three in five U.S. employees, have witnessed or experienced discrimination based on age, race, gender, or LGBTQ identity in the workplace. The 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Study was conducted online by The Harris Poll among over 1,100 U.S. employees and revealed the prevalence of discrimination at work. 42 percent of employed adults in the U.S. have experienced or witnessed racism in the workplace; the highest percentage of the four countries surveyed. 

Given that discrimination and racism still persists in the modern workplace, here are some tips to consider to help be a great ally to combat racism:

  • Set an example. Demonstrate your support and solidarity by speaking up and acting up when you hear insensitive, derogatory remarks, or when you see racist, bigoted behavior. Acting ethically and in a morally sound fashion includes a  responsibility to speak up and act up when we see injustice.
  • Make connections. Reach out to your black friends and colleagues. Show them that you are aware of what’s going on.
  • Listen more, talk less. You don’t have to say something all the time or post something on social media to prove how aware you are about these issues. 
  • Be informed. Remember that being an ally requires you to educate yourself about the experiences of others differently situated. Try following people of color on social media to learn about their perspectives and experiences. 

Here are some things to consider avoiding:

  • Don’t sensationalize. If you do post about a racial incident on social media, don’t use pictures or videos of the incident. This risks desensitizing us to violence against black people and can traumatize those who see it on your feed.
  • Face reality. Be sensitive and aware that black people have been aware of systemic oppression and violence for hundreds of years; do not be surprised if your expressing surprise at these horrible events makes others feel belittled.
  • Honor differences. A person’s skin color is part of who they are and carries with it a long history and a particular experience in today’s world. Be sensitive and aware of this basic fact in all relevant contexts.

These are just some of the tips you can leverage to help be an ally at work, as well as someone trying to help stop any racism that may be going on in your workplace or beyond. 

At Glassdoor, our mission is to help people find a job and company they love, which includes offering millions of reviews from employees on what it’s really like to work in a specific job at a particular company. We encourage you to read these reviews when considering what’s important to you in your next career step to learn more about a company’s culture, how they may be investing in diversity and inclusion efforts, along with other workplace attributes relevant to you.