Talking About Race at Work: Empathy
Updated: Sep 9
Recently, we gave you four tips on “How to Begin the Conversation on Race.” As we said in that blog post, and as we will continue to say again and again, you must commit to the ongoing conversation in order to incite long-lasting change. Once you feel confident about starting and guiding these conversations, it is time to sharpen the tools in your toolkit.
Your first, and arguably most important, tool is: Empathy.
Talking about race and systematic racism must begin with empathy. Creating empathy starts with you and the influences that have shaped you. Once you have done the work to understand yourself, you can begin to do the work to understand others.
The key to showing empathy is authenticity and remember these 5 strategies:
Acknowledge and validate other’s emotions and experiences.
In the moment, actively listen and show interest by following up later.
Don’t center your own emotions but it's okay to be honest if you don’t have the right words or response.
Be supportive and thank people for sharing their emotional stories and experiences.
Continue to show up and encourage honest, authentic conversations.
"Why empathy is the key to dismantling white racism” by Susan Lanzoni, Ph.D historian of science and medicine and the author of the, "Empathy: A History."
“Making Empathy Central to Your Company Culture” by Jamil Zaki
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