Running on Empty

06/10/2020 CHRC

Running on Empty

Imagine running a marathon. After crossing the finish line, you’re expected to go straight to the office for the day and lead a meeting or present a new proposal to your company. You’d be exhausted—physically and mentally drained. It sounds crazy not to be able to rest and catch your breath after such a daunting and strenuous task.  

And yet, this is exactly what many companies are asking of their Black employees. Already overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted, many are often asked to lead the charge against racism. In a recent Fortune commentary, Najoh Tita-Reid, a senior executive of marketing reinvention at Logitech, urges that “while this is indeed a unique moment, the responsibility of dismantling systemic racism must not be placed solely on black employees by asking them to fully lead diversity and antiracism efforts.”

Tita-Reid encourages non-Black leaders to accept responsibility to lead the charge, rather than asking Black employees and leaders—who might already be burnt out. She suggests a few ideas to protect the emotional wellbeing of Black peers, while actively tackling racism in the workplace. Don’t expect Black co-workers to teach you all about race issues; they carry this burden every day. It is your job, as their coworker/boss/peer, to do some emotional heavy lifting, educating yourself on these issues and how to best become a good ally. 

Equally important is being respectful of Black colleagues who don’t want to discuss race issues. Once you’ve completed your marathon for the day, you may have no interest in talking about running for a while. Are you suggesting another 5K at the end of the day, or are you handing out Gatorade at the finish line? Read More Here