This week, our series on busting business myths takes on a difficult but vital topic – becoming an anti-racist company. Many companies believe that becoming an anti-racist business requires perfection or empty performance when in reality, that will only do more harm than good. More often than not, people aren’t looking for perfection, they want responsibility and accountability.
As white business owners, we are often afraid to commit to anti-racism in our business. We feel as if we either have to perform or be perfect. That if we get something wrong we will fail, lose business or struggle to succeed. That cancel culture is out to get us and will get us, even if we make a mistake. I think because of this need for perfection, we feel small, and changing the way we do business will place us in a spotlight that we’re not ready for.
However, we don’t need to be afraid of change. There’s no one out there waiting with a keyboard and an anonymous account ready to cancel you at a moment’s notice. In fact, we are in the perfect position to use the strength we have as business owners to do some good in this world. We have a social responsibility in business to stand up for our peers, client and colleagues.
In this week’s podcast episode, we talk to Dr. Sunshine Kamaloni about the work white business owners must do, internally and externally, to understand their role in white supremacy. In order to do that, we must decenter whiteness in our thinking and our business practices. Becoming an anti-racist company takes time and effort, but it will always be worth it.
Something I love about the conversation I had with Sunshine is that it just takes one right next step to becoming an anti-racist business, and then another, and then another.
You don’t have to perform or be perfect, but you have to commit and start taking action.
I have stumbled along this path. I was refusing to perform and was definitely far from perfect. But with the inner work I’m doing and with help from colleagues like Sunshine, I am learning every day more ways I can create a more just and equitable world. Sunshine, particularly, has had a key role in my life helping me unpack my white supremacy, racism, and white fragility.
We as business owners have the power to make big changes in the world. Furthermore, we can practice and uphold these changes in our business before changes can be made in the world around us. As leaders, we have a social responsibility in business to stand up for equity and fight for social justice. We have to take responsibility for the ways we have contributed to racism and made our businesses white-centric.
Let’s start with us as an individual, and think about why we want to be anti-racist. What are our own personal biases and how can we stop being afraid to address our own transgressions and ignorances?
Then we can start thinking about the values of the movement and how they complement our own values.
By placing ourselves in a position to learn and do better, rather than striving for perfection and reaching impossible standards, we can make real change.
Sunshine Kamaloni, BA Hons, Ph.D., is a writer, speaker, unapologetic idealist, and advocate for a more feminine approach to social justice and equity.
Her work aims to disrupt, question, and shift long-held narratives about justice in order to encourage new and more embodied ways of being in the world. Sunshine is committed to helping you learn to advocate for the things you’re passionate about in a way that is authentic to you and rooted in your feminine power.
You will love this episode.
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