White supremacy is a belief that white people are innately superior to people from all other ethnicities and race. From this historic belief, systems and ideologies of exploitation and oppression have been established and defended in order to corroborate and preserve white privilege and power.
Institutional or structural racism is a result of white supremacy informing every system in society – economic, political, educational, legal etc. It gives advantage to white people and in turn maintains racial inequalities and disparities in wealth, employment, health, education and criminal justice.
Indeed, you do not have to look very far to see the influence of white supremacy in the workplace – take a moment to turn your eyes to the C-Suite at your company.
The Parker Review, published in February this year, revealed 37% of FTSE 100 companies do not have any ethnic minority representation on their boards. Similarly, the Office for National Statistics’ analysis of ethnicity pay gaps in Great Britain between 2012 and 2018, demonstrated employees of Black African, Caribbean or Black British on average earned 5 to 10% less than their White British counterparts. Meanwhile, the ethnic pay gap increased yet further for Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups, standing at 16.9% and 20.2% respectively.
It is also important that we do not underestimate the effect of white supremacy on employee experience and wellbeing. In their HBR article, Kira Hudson Banks and Richard Harvey highlight the “systemic” and “covert” existence of “corporate brutality” as suffered by Black employees: “the same racialised violence that many are waking up to as unfair, unjust and unacceptable, is happening within the walls of our businesses”. The impact of which cannot be overlooked or downplayed; “People are injured, abused, damaged, and/or destroyed”.
So, how do we overcome white supremacy in the workplace?
Please, no more words. Action.
A company mission statement that declares an inclusive culture is futile if the day-to-day experience of ethnic minority employees does not reflect this.
Dismantling bias requires direct action, but what if you’re not aware of the employee experience? Now is the time to invest res