By Candice Justice Harper | February 26, 2021
It’s February 26, 2021, and your plan of using Black History Month to make your company more racially equitable isn’t going the way you thought it would. You thought that coming off the heels of last summer’s Racial Reckoning that your colleagues would be more engaged when it came to learning about our country’s history, but you were wrong. No one is showing up to the events, the webinars, or signing up for the book club that you’re facilitating, and you’re second-guessing yourself. You were once excited that your company allowed you to create programming around racial equity, but now you want more. You want results. Progress ain’t happenin’, and you did not do all this work just to continue to face microaggressions every day.
Let me ask you something sis, would you be open to taking a different approach? I hope so. I’ve found that sometimes the method we use to go about change is just as important as the message attached to it. By now, we should all be very acquainted with how the Montgomery Bus Boycott used a financial incentive to spur lawmakers into action, how Civil Rights leaders from SNCC and SCLC used media to broadcast the racism that they faced during the March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and how Black people have used the resistance tactic of education since slavery to pursue equity.
Let’s look at television for a second. Domestic sitcoms like the Cosby Show were created to showcase the upper-middle class (i.e., Black families that featured a lawyer, doctor, etc.) to challenge the one-sided narrative that was often used by the media to monolithically stereotype Black people as lawless, fatherless, dangerous, incompetent, hypersexual etc. With that context in mind, the Cosby Show and programs like it play an instrumental role in the progress of racial equity in the U.S. (which is sad since its patriarch is accused of anti-revolutionary behavior conducted during the era in which the show existed).
At the end of the day, just make sure that whatever form of resistance that you decide to use is effective. Stay tuned, because, for the next three weeks, we will discuss and review 3 ways to make progress towards racial equity at your company. Keep showing up and doing the work, sis. You’re making the ancestors proud. See you next week.The method we use to go about change is just as important as the message attached to it. Click To Tweet