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Racism Stories: Corporate Racism 101
by Mark T. Batiste
A couple of weeks ago, I published a poll to gauge interest in stories of racism submitted by readers and others. The result of the poll was 100% go for it. To my surprise, even before I’d had a chance to ask for submissions, this one came in from Mark T. Batiste on LinkedIn. I’m sharing it as written…
Corporate Racism: 101 (Open Letter)
Two senior executives from the same company are meeting with another Black executive over a possible contract several years ago. I had no one idea at first what their meeting was about or why the two executives from the same company I worked for wanted me involved. I was in my office doing my job when I was approached by one of the two senior executives and asked if I could come down fifteen minutes into their meeting and knock on the door. #owners
I asked what the purpose of this unannounced interruption was on my part. No explanation was given. I said no problem. Fast forward to the meeting. I politely knocked on the door seeing the two executives from the same company on one side meeting with a Black executive on the other side. I got it. The two executives wanted to show that they had ONE Black man working at their company so they might have an edge on the contract. They couldn't possibly be racist. I had never met or heard of this Black executive man before. After several minutes of small talk I could tell that the Black executive saw right through this ruse. The Black executive politely put an end to our meaningless banter quickly and I left the room.
That the two executives would gain an edge just because they employed ONE Black man still baffles my mind. I had no insight on the meeting as that is not my job title or job purpose. As I drove home I felt disgusted and angered, but realized I can’t fight every battle and have a job. Stay focused. #wasteandrecycling
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This is the same organization with the senior level female who laughingly dropped the "N-word" in front of me and several coworkers (documented with OSHA, MCAD & the Mass. Attorney General's Office/Civil Rights Division) #vicepresidentofclientservices
This is the same organization that referred to my research & business brought in as "the labor" stated by one coworker.
This is the same company now that now talks about "Diversity and Inclusion" (Inclusion for who?)
People & companies like this are dangerous on so many levels and there are a lot of companies like this one out there, virtue signaling.
I'm writing this for the next generation of young Black men & women so hopefully you will not have to deal with this type of racism. Don't be afraid to speak up. There is strength in numbers and please remember our ancestors had it way worse than anything we can imagine.
You cannot HIDE from racism. So fight it.
Bring it to the light. Call it out.
Corporate racism is alive and well and in many cases hidden. Quoting MLK Jr. & posting slogans doesn't give you a pass.
P.S. It's funny one of the senior executives was so excited to go to Africa on vacation. How are you going to Africa when you don't understand Black people in this country?
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2022. All Rights Reserved.
I am an anti-racism writer, educator and activist, Co-Founder of Diverse Leaders Group, the author of “I’m Tired of Racism”, and co-host of The Introvert Sisters podcast. If you value my perspective, please consider upgrading to a paid subscription.