The diversity that exists in the world today cannot and should not be ignored. Unfortunately, minority groups usually miss out on opportunities because of systems put in place designed to overlook them. In the labor market, talent is everywhere, no matter the demographic and so organizations should not pass on a chance to better their workforce.
Here are some statistics which show why companies must not ignore minority groups:
- As analyzed by the Bureau of the Census, there will be no clear racial majority or ethnic majority by 2044. The white demographic will form 49.4%, Latinos, 25%, African American 12.7%, Asians 7.9%, and 3.7% multiracial.
- People of color already make up the majority in several states in the United States.
- The Latino community is one of the fastest-growing in the U.S., growing a whopping 43% between 2000 and 2010.
- The 2019 U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the African American population stood at 13.4%
- By 2060, the multiracial population will also increase to about 26.7 million from 7.5 million in 2012
These statistics show that the demographics are changing, and gradually, separations in opportunity will not only be impractical but detrimental to businesses everywhere. At the moment, however, many minority populations, including African Americans and Latinx, are consistently overlooked in certain industries. The tech front experiences this lack of diversity firsthand, and so there’s a need to bridge that gap.
re:WORK TRAINING: How We Support Marginalized Groups
At re:work, we pride ourselves in linking talented members of the Black and Latinx population with reputable companies and vice versa. We pay particular attention to women from these communities who are more likely to receive less pay for their work and remain an untapped resource in the workplace. Our work, since 2016 has benefited Chicago, and is centered around acknowledging and amplifying the untapped talent that are fighting to overcome systematic obstacles.
While we do all we can, it takes a collective effort to make a real change, and for those of differing backgrounds to experience equality, everybody needs to be involved. Are you ready to be a part of that change? Reach out to re:work today! Now let’s take a look at five ways in which we can all join hands to change the narrative.
- Educate Yourself and Your Community
Over and over again, communities brimming with talent (marginalized communities) are overlooked because of misinformation that’s spread about them. Knowledge is the first step, and until you get the proper information about these communities, you won’t be empowered to take action.
There are many sources where you can find out the history, the achievements, and the hardships of these communities to give you some perspective. You can educate yourself by engaging in the following activities:
- Listen, watch and read. Learn all you can about communities that face systemic bias.
- Attend events or classes that are curated and hosted by those who come from these communities and can speak to the experience.
- Visit museums and take notes.
- Choose and learn about the life of an individual. Retrain your mind to see unique human beings rather than just a collective group.
- Actively seek out information about the issues faced by people of color in their everyday lives.
While you’re at it, don’t keep the information you find to yourself but instead spread it around, starting with the people closest to you.
2. How to help marginalized communities? Speak Out
Another issue that continues to plague communities of color is the silence and inaction on the part of neighboring communities. Speaking up about an inherent bias in a system or calling out people who discriminate against others can go a long way if you’re consistent. Start with your immediate surroundings and then, gradually, broaden your reach. Here’s how you can make sure that your voice is heard and makes an impact:
- Report any tweets, pictures, and posts you see online that support discriminatory thinking or uphold bias.
- Put your friends and family in check whenever they say anything derogatory or ignorant about a group of people.
- Set boundaries and make it clear about your stance on the intolerance of other cultures and backgrounds.
In most cases, the voice of the systemically overlooked will be ignored, but there is power in numbers, so your input matters.
3. Contribute resources
There are many organizations like re:work training that recognize the value in communities of color and work daily to make that value apparent to the powers that be. These companies seek to support, empower and bridge the gap that exists between them and the opportunities that they deserve. Here are some statistics on this gap in Chicago to give some perspective:
- The white population makes $12,113 higher in Chicago than the rest of the country
- The Black population makes $5,297 lower than the rest of the country
- The Latinx community also makes significantly less in Chicago than they do nationwide
- In Chicago, the Black unemployment rate is 7% higher than other parts of the country
- The poverty rate of the Black population is also 1.7% higher in Chicago than elsewhere in the nation
Clearly, oppression affects marginalized groups and the odds are stacked against Black and Latinx communities. You can contribute time, energy or funds to support the agencies dedicated to balancing these odds. Actively seeking ways to show support and adapting to the changing needs of these communities is not charity, but rather a practical step toward improving your own life and community for the better.
4. Confront your own bias
If you want to make a measurable impact, you’ll have to start with the person in the mirror. If you’re educating yourself the right way, you’ll notice that many of the views you hold are either uninformed or downright prejudiced. It might make you uncomfortable at first, but that’s where true change begins. So here is what you should do:
- Don’t stop listening. Practice it.
- Don’t avoid honest conversations. Lean into them.
- Don’t disrespect or dismiss the views of others. Embrace and analyze them.
- Don’t be fragile or resort to victimhood when you are called out. Learn from it.
5. Acknowledge your privilege and use it for good
If you don’t belong to a group of people who are systemically overlooked or treated with bias because of their race, ethnicity, or background, accept the fact that you have a form of privilege.. After you have come to terms with this within yourself, the next thing will be to leverage that privilege you have to even out the playing field. To be an ally is to be an empathetic and reasonable human being, and it is counterproductive to leave the problem for only those directly involved to solve. Here are a few things to consider:
- Everybody deserves the opportunity to achieve financial freedom.
- A human rights issue is your issue too.
- When your neighbor succeeds, so do you.
The world has evolved past openly segregated workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods, but the roots of the issue are still very much alive and producing bitter fruit. We still have an extensive journey ahead and now, more than ever, everyone has a responsibility to help get there faster.
Do you run a business that is interested in tapping into the endless talent that untapped communities, particularly the Black and Latinx, have to offer? This is your chance.