Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Why People of Color Need More Moments of Empathy During the Work Week

The days leading up to the verdict in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the NBA announced that it was prepared to postpone games. While the basketball league has been active in the fight for justice, adopting “Black Lives Matter” as a theme for when it resumed its season last year, this new decision speaks to the empathy that it wants to embody. It’s been a year of protest and devastation, felt most especially by the country’s minority communities. Some days, the events that have occurred are unimaginable and weigh too hard on people’s hearts. For the NBA, one of the biggest sports leagues worldwide, to offer up a break to their players and employees has set a new example. 

Witnessing social tragedy after social tragedy is expected to have a toll on anyone, let alone people of color who are working to achieve success in whatever industry they contribute to. Not just because it is painful to see someone who is part of your community be attacked but also partly because you know to some extent that you may have also been placed in threatening situations. 

According to Pew Research, 58% of Asian Americans and 45% of Black Americans say that it is now more common for people to openly express their racist views since the pandemic started. 

As a result of the increase in open racism throughout the country, workspaces have also been violated with prejudice more than ever before. In the first two months of quarantine in 2020 alone, Harvard Business Review reported that more than 1,700 cases of hate crimes and xenophobic rhetoric targeted towards Asian Americans took place in workspaces. Though all employees were most likely grieving from the unbelievable amount of loss from the past year, the virus and the hate crime crisis in America most impacted people of color. So what will CEOs do to support their employees of color while denouncing any spiteful language or actions?

Employees of color need more support than they ever have before, no matter the form it comes in. CEOs should connect with and support their employees during these distressing moments, acting as a source of hope and empathy for their team. Whether it’s a version of break dedicated to reflection or a way to come together and express societal concerns, providing an opportunity even just to acknowledge what is wrong with the world. 

It is becoming increasingly important that companies make their moral stances clear to their employees and the public because of the stability and security it will offer. To know that the grief felt after a devastating event will not be a lonely experience is enough motivation to continue on their journey towards wellness and success. Humanizing the workplace with meaningful interactions and messages of empathy will demonstrate a care for employees and will contribute to the action against prejudice and hateful beliefs currently going on in society.