As a white, cis gendered, heterosexual male business owner, I owe you an apology.
I’m sorry for not calling out my own privilege sooner. I’m sorry for not promoting diversity in my brand, content, and programs from day one. I’m sorry for not making this company a welcome place for BIPOC and anyone who is marginalized. I know better.
Why did it take me this long to wake up to this?
In my mind, I was already “good”…
…I worked for years with minorities through social work, in schools, and in juvenile justice…
…I have half a PhD from a program that is primarily known for their focus on diversity…
…I am married to an ethnic minority…my child is an ethnic minority…
…I work with BIPOC therapists and therapy clients…
I assumed, without question, that this was “enough.” It is not nearly enough.
Today I had a phone call with the leader of a large mastermind community of over 200 members, most of whom are white, male business owners. I am a member of this community. In suggesting the organization take a more active stance around anti-racism and diversity, the leader pointed out all the things that I wasn’t doing around these crucial issues.
In other words, how could I expect him to to do the work, if I wasn’t doing it? I felt defensive…reactive…emotional…vulnerable. I wanted to lash out. But he was right.
A few hours later, I started to see the situation a little more clearly: I needed to get over myself, and simply start doing the work.
I started by writing this anti-racism + diversity and inclusion policy for my company.
Next, I created a working document with my team to outline our new initiative around these issues. This includes action items like hosting more BIPOC podcast guests and guest mastermind facilitators, recruiting and hiring more BIPOC, reflecting more diversity in our marketing collateral, offering scholarships, and more.
I know this work is important, so why have I not taken it more seriously until now? Again, perhaps because I was comfortable…I was complacent…I believed, deep down, that I’m already “good.”
As many white people in my personal circles just recently started waking up to issues around racism because of the George Floyd murder and the re-ignited Black Lives Matter movement, I felt like I had already done my part back in my agency/social work days. I felt like I was already “good.”
This type of entitlement and complacency is extremely problematic, and downright dangerous, especially given the current position I’m in as a business leader.
I no longer wish to remain complacent. I promise to start doing better, starting today.
If you have feedback, or ways in which I can do better, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org