What Can I Do?

Below are some suggestions for actions that you can take to continue the work you have done at this event to broaden your awareness of institutional racism and to promote a vision of diversity that values and includes everyone. Each one of us can make a difference if we are committed and do not let fear or apathy hold us back.

  • Continue and expand on the dialogue you started with your partner at the Conversation on Race.
  • Notice how people avoid talking about racism. Think about what this avoidance creates.
  • Learn how your filters and mind models shape your perceptions of people that seem similar and different from you.
  • Think about why people find it so difficult to talk about racism in an ethnically mixed group. Discuss this with others of your own ethnicity and those who are ethnically different.
  • Commit to getting to know and build relationships with co-workers, classmates and neighbors of different ethnic groups.
  • Commit yourself to becoming aware of when your assumptions based on stereotypes affect your perceptions, thoughts and behavior toward others.
  • What is an American? How does one become an American? Think about which ethnic groups you identify as American.
  • Learn about the histories of people of color in the United States. How are they an integral part of the history of our country?
  • Learn how to pronounce the non-Anglo names of your cohorts. A sincere interest and effort is appreciated and valued.
  • Intervene in a constructive manner when you hear someone telling an ethnic joke or making a racist remark. Don’t collude by keeping silent.
  • Form a lunch group at work that meets on a regular schedule to talk about how to make valuing diversity a productive and creative reality at your organization.
  • Discuss what White people have to gain by becoming active in working to end racism. What do they have to lose?
  • Read books about race relations and diversity to broaden your understanding.
  • The Golden Rule is a valued guiding principle but it overlooks the differences among people. Add the Platinum Rule: “Treat others as they want to be treated.” Find out how others want to be treated. It might be different than how you like to be treated.
  • Both principles work together.
  • Take an active role in refuting the denial of racism.
  • Write a personal action plan to promote and value diversity in your personal life and in your workplace.

Intentional Conversations & Social Capital:

Using the concept of Bridging Social Capital, take the opportunity to think about the following questions – and others that you develop – in your personal and professional life.

  • What is the name of the person(s) I met (names are important)?
  • What roles do they play in the community – organizations, employment, family?
  • What are common interests or concerns that we share?
  • Who do we know in common? (There are very few “degrees of separation” in the community and world.)
  • How can (or could) I impact this person by decisions I make?
  • How can (or could) this person impact my life through decisions they make?