THE RACE AGAINST RACISM
New diversity training programs push for equity
Prompted by the demonstrations against racial injustice over the summer, corporate entities are taking serious steps to educate management and employees alike on how to be anti-racist and become better allies through targeted diversity training. Young adults, specifically those aged 14-23, are driving this educational endeavor, as they expect and demand that leaders turn words into demonstrable action. While the following diversity training programs aren’t the be-all and end-all solution, they are hopefully the first step in a series of steps towards true systemic equity.
BOF’S DIVERSITY MASTERCLASS
Leading industry journal The Business of Fashion hosted a masterclass on “How to Become a Diversity and Inclusion Change Agent.” This 90-minute BoFLIVE class, hosted by diversity and inclusion expert Dr. Derrick Gay, outlined strategies to build a more diverse and equal industry, and how such action can breed innovation and ultimately boost a company’s productivity—and bottom line. These educational programs are a necessary step for the field of fashion, which has a storied reputation as being elitist, exclusionary, and discriminatory.
'MORAL COURAGE' TRAINING
Though Minneapolis is one of the more racially segregated cities in the country, the city is hoping to work towards a better and safer future for all of its residents. Following the killing of George Floyd, a local police force began 'moral courage' training, which teaches officers to “step in” and “stand up for human beings” when they see a colleague violating rules of conduct in order to take a more proactive approach against police misconduct. According to Chief Todd Axtell, the program aims to create and reinforce commitment and capacity to do what is right, "despite fear or concern about social pressure or peer disapproval from other officers.”
Companies across all industries are introducing ally training programs to educate employees on how to better support and stand up for traditionally marginalized members of their workplace, such as those who are BIPOC or LGBTQIA+. Linkage, a popular leadership consulting firm, provides free public webinars on race and has been used by major brands like The Walt Disney Company and Medtronic Corp. These companies are starting uncomfortable conversations and giving colleagues a voice, hoping to gain a deeper understanding of how they feel and how to help. Lindsay-Rae McIntyre, the chief diversity officer at Microsoft, said that “allyship is a huge lever in creating change. It isn’t a ‘check the box.’ It’s a behavior.”