Office politics are always going to exist – that is the nature of people working together from different backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures and religions all striving to ‘succeed’. However, when office politics includes racial microaggressions and harassment, organisations need to include better policies that protect and support their employees.
A correct Diversity and Inclusion policy would support every black woman’s right to wear her hair in an afro without fear of discriminating comments, as well as have the right measures in place if she needed to report issues which are either overtly or covertly racist. The policy in theory should enable a black woman to be her full professional self in a work environment, no matter her hairstyle, the fabric her clothes are cut from or the name she has. Verna Myers, an inclusion strategist, sums it up perfectly by saying, “If diversity means inviting everyone to a party, inclusion is asking them all to dance.”
With only one in 16 black and ethnic minority people in senior management, we are underrepresented. Some workplaces have not recognised the need to address the injustice and ignoring the issue will not make them go away, but other organisations are waking up from years of looking the other way and are now trying their best to listen to their black employees.