Women in the Business Arena™ EP165: How Can We Build Actively Anti-Racist Businesses?

“This is not about us performing and being good girls. It is about us doing the internal work, doing the behind the scenes work, it's doing the work where we don't get credit. And I actually think that's really important. If you're not doing any work without giving yourself credit, without publicizing it, without telling everybody how good you are, then I think you're not really doing the work. That is performative. So that's something we can ask all of ourselves. Am I doing the work inside of myself? Am I doing the work behind the scenes, or am I just looking for extra credit?” - Sonya Stattmann

Over the past few weeks we have seen some of the most sustained and widespread protests against racism and police brutality that I can remember in my lifetime. It feels like there has been an awakening at many levels - societally, across industries, and for many individuals. 

For many white people, this has been a real wake up call. We have had to confront our participation in the racist institutions within the US and the world, many of us for the first time. The fact that many of us have not had to confront this before now is a prime example of our privilege. And as business owners, we have a particular platform and obligation to do this work, both internally and within our businesses.

“If we are not examining our white privilege, if we are not recognizing what we have contributed to this racist system that we have, if we have not seen in all the ways that we have been part of it, we can't make real change. That is the real work. That is the important work. And that's not something you're going to do in a day or a week. It's a long journey.” - Sonya Stattmann

In this episode, Laura and I are talking about why white business owners like ourselves need to commit to the internal work of understanding our privileges & biases if we want to truly support the movement for justice and anti-racism. We dive into why we need to check our intentions regularly and make sure we aren’t simply being performative when we speak up or take action on these issues. 

We also touch a bit on what business owners in particular can start to think about and implement to support Black people and other people of color as vendors, contractors, clients, and more. 

What You’ll Learn:

  • How Laura and I have started to examine our role as business owners in the current system.
  • Why it is essential to do the internal, emotional work and educate ourselves on our country’s history of racism - not only jump into action.
  • Why we need to check in with our intentions when we engage in discussions about race, for example on social media. 
  • How we can start to support Black people through our businesses, and not simply by serving them as clients/customers.
  • Why this is ongoing, in-depth work that we need to recommit to over and over again.

Resources for this Episode:

  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad
    • PSA: As of the publication of this episode, this book is sold out in a lot of places. Please prioritize buying this book and other anti-racism readings from Black-owned bookstores. If you’re not sure where to find one, Google Black-owned businesses in your community or city - you will find a lot of amazing businesses you can continually support going forward. 

Come join us in the Women in the Business Arena Group on Facebook – we’d love to hear about you & your business!

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