The nuances of language and the ways in which we communicate are critical components to getting on the path toward building racial equity.
Most businesses know that racial equity is important and that they should have a diverse and inclusive workforce, but struggle with the distinction between that understanding and how to get started. A significant focus of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s Diversity & Inclusion Council is to begin to develop common language and understandings among its members. A first step in doing so occurred last week, as the Council offered its members the opportunity to take part in the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo’s Racial Equity Impact Training.
Facilitated by the Race Matters Institute and Make Communities, participants at the training took a deep dive into using the racial equity impact analysis to advance equity. I was excited to be part of this group, learn the best practices and apply this knowledge to the work of Diversity & Inclusion Council. Here are a few key takeaways from their presentation:
What is the difference between racial equity, diversity & inclusion?
Diversity, Inclusion and Equity work together, one cannot go without the other. They are related, but distinct in the goals that they achieve.
- First comes Racial Equity
This occurs when people of all races are given equal opportunity. There is situational unfairness, specifically in Buffalo, that prevents certain groups from reaching full potential.
- Then comes Diversity
A diverse workforce is one that is made up of individuals with a wide range of characteristics and experiences.
- Finally, we can get to Inclusion
Inclusion is giving power and voice to a diverse set of perspectives. It’s about a culture that includes different viewpoints at the decision-making table. This is where the magic happens within an organization because these groups feel like they have a say in the system that governs their workplace.
Why is racial equity important?
Without this building block, it would be difficult to reach a diverse and inclusive workforce. A recent study estimates that racial equity would increase the Buffalo Niagara GDP by $3.5B a year. Buffalo is a melting pot and it is to the advantage of our regional economy. There is a great opportunity for the businesses since the Immigrant population adds into the diverse workforce.
How can you address racial equity in your organization?
Racial Equity Impact Analysis can be used to reduce, eliminate and prevent racial discrimination and inequities. It is a systematic examination of how different racial and ethnic groups will likely be affected by a proposed action or decision. This tool is proven to increase performance by furthering success across all racial/ethnic groups and makes the concept of racial equity actionable and measurable. The Racial Equity Impact Analysis tool can be used to:
- Advance meaningful relationships with communities of color through joint deliberation
- Review of existing policies, practices, and protocols
- Identify ways to improve proposed policies, practices, and protocols
- Determine if you are likely to achieve results you anticipated for all affected groups.
Effectively building a diverse and inclusive workforce is hard without tackling the issue of racial equity. When racial equity is not consciously addressed, racial inequality is often unconsciously replicated. The Diversity & Inclusion Council strives to educate employers on important topics like this to not only help employers build stronger businesses but build a stronger Buffalo Niagara in the process.