Saturday, March 19, 2011

Can Businesses End Racism?

Can Businesses End Racism?

by LENA WEST on Feb 28, 2011 -
When I was approached about writing this article for
OPEN Forum for Black History Month, I thought to myself, “Whaa? I don’t know what to write! How can I possibly make a connection between social media and Black History Month?”

So, what to do?

After much thought I came upon the question I wanted to explore:

With social media’s expansive, far-reaching messaging capabilities (Egypt, anyone?), why have companies taken a clear stance on supporting the quest for a cure for breast cancer, or being more kind to the environment, or in support of PETA, but relatively few have said a word about racism, outside of the almost obligatory Black History Month Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King nod?

I say relatively few because some business leaders are having progressive conversations about racism; not surprisingly though, most do so under the cloak of “increasing diversity." Or, “cognitive diversity," in the case of Joe Gerstandt, whose website tagline is “illuminating the value of difference."

At the end of one of Gerstandt’s blog posts titled Rubbing Brains Together, he provides tips on how to benefit from different ideas. The first of those tips is on having conversations about diversity in your business: “…if you do not have disagreement you should be very, very concerned because you have a lack of honest communication.”

That statement alone made me realize probably the core reason many businesses don’t dare broach the topic of racism: the “d word”…disagreement. I mean, really, what employer wants to have their employees disagreeing in the workplace about racism? We can get almost anyone to agree that it’s good for all people to be kind to the planet. Most people will agree that we need to protect animals. But, getting people on the same page when it comes to racism? That’s a tall order. Could social media help? Read More

About the Author

Lena WestLena L. West is an award-winning social media consultant, blogger, speaker, journalist, technologist and the Founder of the Authentic Influencer Braintrust, a high-level, social media marketing membership program for business owners and Real Women Do Social Media, the only social media training initiative created exclusively for women business owners.

Lena will be a Keynote Speaker at the MACs Celebrate You! Women's Entrepreneur Summit on Saturday, March 26th at Lake Isle Country Club, Eastchester, NY

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