Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Fifty-six years ago, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law. A law that was supposed to outlaw discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex or national origin. That means, for many years leading up to this law, blatant discrimination was allowed, as seen in the classified pictured here.
If some of America’s oldest brands and companies have been around for centuries, discrimination has been just as much of corporate history (if not more) than the law telling them they can’t discriminate.
There have been many discussions recently about systemic biases and prejudices. And I’ve been specifically asked if they really exist in the workplace.
The short and simple answer is: yes. But we can change that.
People designed the policies and structures that we are operating from today. So, people – AKA you – can redesign them. It requires true commitment to change, purposeful actions, awareness of privilege and empathy for others.
We all want to believe that we have come a long way in fifty-six years but we have to be honest that there is still much more work to be done. Classified ads like this one may no longer be legal but microaggressions, unconscious bias and tone policing, just to name a few, have taken its place. And while some of what goes on today in our companies isn’t as blatant, it is just as hurtful and problematic.
If you are reading this, you are likely in a position of influence and power. You are the change we seek. And your work starts today. You just have to find the confidence to step forward.