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Anti-Racism? or "I'm not racist."?

This is my mea culpa.

I misstepped.

It's unlikely I would have been called out for it, and that was a problem in itself.

Please read this post to the end - this is going somewhere, and I want you to both read and hear these words.

This year 2020 has been challenging. As with any challenge, we can perceive them as threats or we can receive them as opportunities. Since the world shut down in mid-March I have done my best to offer solutions and applied methods for approaching these threats and, whenever possible, receiving them as opportunities.

Recently, the issues of systemic racism have come to the forefront. Biases and diversity are key issues in the small business climate in Canada -- and they were key issues well before June 2020.

With the best intentions, I announced I would be posting a “Tam's Take” on Ethical Recruiting. I specifically wanted to tackle racism and biases in recruitment. This video would have focused on how HR professionals can work to remove systemic racism in recruiting, and the ethicalities of a strong recruitment + talent selection program.

I still want to address this. However, I have had enlightening experiences through researching this topic. My perspectives and intentions were challenged, and I have had much new (and uncomfortable) growth.

I am looking forward to sharing this new knowledge in the future, but at the moment I need to make an acknowledgement.

Here is where I went wrong. I have an experienced voice in HR. That being said - I do NOT have personal experience as a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and/or Person of Colour) in the workplace, or as a BIPOC HR expert.

Through “Tam’s Take”, I am amplifying my OWN voice, and not the voices of those who have been affected by racism in the business world, work environments, and hiring practices. There are organizations whose mission is to combat and tackle the issues of racism in the workplace, and I should have consulted with these organizations before promising “Tam’s Take” on Ethical Recruiting.

This is the difference between Anti-Racism and “Not a Racist” mentalities.

We all have inherent racism, and we have to start by acknowledging that by living in an inherently racist society,

we all have to be better.

"Anti-racism is the active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably." - NAC International Perspectives: Women and Global Solidarity

I know I can be an active, engaged ally in these endeavours. As part of that, I’ve reached out to organizations and individual experts, and in the near future I hope to amplify the work of experts in this field, and expand my knowledge base.

I believe IF we challenge ourselves we CAN change our perspectives, and we CAN create positive, supportive, respectful work environments that are welcoming for everyone in our diverse Canadian workforce.

Not only will this approach work towards dismantling systemic racism; respecting and welcoming diversity will make our businesses more resilient, more dynamic, and more effective - no matter the industry.

Now that we have gotten through that, it is time to stop centering my thoughts around my voice.

Here are a few ways in which I was shown to be a more effective ally in dismantling systemic racism.

@symahabib put together a fantastic Instagram post showcasing resources.

Action Dignity released a detailed guide on supporting the BLM movement

Go follow the Instagram page Calgary Against Police Brutality

Support causes like the Calgary Black Empowerment Fund

Educate yourself on Black Led/Black Serving organizations in Calgary.

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