Did you know that “race” is an idea constructed by human beings? Research shows it has no biological or scientific basis. But to this day, people’s learned biases about race can affect how they treat those around them. In workplaces around the world, many people are still judged inequitably and unjustly based on the color of their skin, the shape of their eyes, or the texture of their hair.
We can do better. That is why LRN created Confronting Racism, a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) course designed to challenge people’s preconceptions about race, help them to develop empathy for the struggles of those who face racism in the workplace, and encourage them to pause to examine their own assumptions and behaviors and how those affect their actions and decisions. The goal is to help us see the humanity in others so we can create an anti-racist workplace where everyone is treated with the respect they deserve and has a fair opportunity to succeed.
What does “anti-racism” mean?
Anti-racism has surged in attention in recent years, but many people are not entirely sure what it means. It helps to first understand the concept of “racism.” Merriam-Webster defines racism as:
- A belief that race is a fundamental determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.
- The systemic oppression of a racial group to the social, economic, and political advantage of another.
Based on the above, you might think that anti-racism is simply not supporting racism. But Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, notes that the definition is deeper than that. “The opposite of ‘racist’ isn’t ‘not racist,’” he writes in his book How to Be an Anti-racist. “It is ‘anti-racist.’” The Wikipedia page on anti-racism further notes that:
“Anti-racism encompasses a range of ideas and political actions which are meant to counter racial prejudice, systemic racism, and the oppression of specific racial groups. Anti-racism is usually structured around conscious efforts and deliberate actions which are intended to provide equal opportunities for all people on both an individual and a systemic level.”
Kendi's colleague, Malini Ranganathan, also reminds us that the idea of anti-racism far from new, with roots in decades of civil rights work by Black people in the United States and around the world.
In short, anti-racism is more active, intentional, and collaborative. Understanding that is crucial as s people seek to understand how they can help create anti-racist workplaces.
Introducing “Confronting Racism,” a DEI course
Despite organizational commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion, there is still a wide gap in the perception of equality in the workplace. Case in point: LRN’s recent Benchmark of Ethical Culture report finds that only 61% of respondents identifying as African, Black, Afro-Caribbean, or African American agreed that “People at my company are treated equally regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, and nationality.”
Preconceptions about race—even though they have no basis in reality—can affect who gets hired or promoted and how individuals are treated. It’s time for a change. LRN’s Confronting Racism course is designed to help transform your workplace into an environment where everyone is valued as a human being, despite their differences, and people do not allow unconscious beliefs about race to shape their behavior or decision-making.
This 55-minute foundational course provides a global perspective of racism and the effects of unconscious bias. Team members will learn the importance of having respectful conversations with colleagues and how to prevent interpersonal racism at work. The course also provides education on systemic racism and offers practical steps on how to confront racism in the workplace and create an inclusive culture. In addition, learners receive guidance on how to be an anti-racist ally both inside and outside the workplace, creating a safe space where everyone can stand up to racism.
Custom assets to further support the learner journey include:
- Videos including authentic, unscripted testimonials
- Real-life scenarios
- End-of-topic quizzes
- End-of-course attestation
- Glossary of terms
- Ready-to-deploy learning assets that accompany the course—including conversation guides and templates for employee communications
Course objectives and learning outcomes
This course is designed to help employees:
- Understand where ideas about race come from and why they are a problem, building empathy for those impacted.
- Recognize their own biases and develop strategies to manage them so that they don’t affect their behavior or decision-making.
- Identify interpersonal and systemic racism in the workplace and be ready to support those affected by standing up, speaking out, and taking action.
The key takeaway
Creating a workplace where everyone feels like they belong requires a DEI education that goes beyond the basics. Confronting Racism is just one course in LRN’s growing DEI library—which also includes topics like LGBTQ+ allyship, microaggressions, and gender equality—that you can sample for free.
For more insight into building a culture where everyone belongs, check out our new DEI collection of resources as well as our DEI page at LRN.com.