Originally found on Bloomberg Businessweek by Sarah Green Carmichael
The protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd. The continued outbreaks of a disease that’s seeing Blacks die at more than twice the rate of Whites. Black unemployment numbers reaching new highs. “It’s a perfect storm to unearth the racial inequities that have been happening in our society,” says Maysa Akbar, assistant clinical professor at the Yale School of Medicine and author of the forthcoming Beyond Ally: The Pursuit of Racial Justice. “Good leaders right now would consider that their employees of color are going through the most traumatizing time.”
There are, of course, a range of emotional reactions. But as scholars Angelica Leigh and Shimul Melwani reported in a 2019 Academy of Management Review paper (“#BlackEmployeesMatter: Mega-Threats, Identity Fusion, and Enacting Positive Deviance in Organizations”), in moments such as this, “Black Americans describe feeling injured, even personally targeted, when they hear news of unarmed Black Americans being shot by law enforcement.” Feelings like “that could have been me” or “it might have been my kid,” they found, mean that news events can feel personal—including when we’re at work. We asked experts for their thoughts about outreach during these complicated times.
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