Hiring a Chief Diversity Officer Won’t Fix Your Racist Company Culture
Racial equity must be a top priority for everyone, incorporated into how a company hires, makes decisions, and approaches all of its objectives.
Sandra told me that the foundation had hired her “to solve their racism problem.” I asked how that was going. “Not great,” she said.
The organization’s leaders can say that they tried, that they are still trying, as the gap between what they commit to on their websites and how employees actually experience the workplace continues to widen.
Nadia Owusu’s essay “The Wailing” is included in the anthology forthcoming from Catapult in February 2020.
Nadia Owusu’s first book, Aftershocks, will be published by Simon and Schuster in 2020. She is the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Her lyric essay chapbook, So Devilish a Fire, won the Atlas Review chapbook series. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, Washington Post’s The Lily, the Literary Review, Electric Literature, Catapult, and others. Owusu grew up in Rome, Addis Ababa, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Kumasi, and London. She is an Associate Director at Living Cities, an economic racial justice organization, and lives in Brooklyn.
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“Our anger exists to scourge the world, and to save it. Not everyone wants it saved.”
Every day, when my kids come home from school, the first thing I ask them—like most parents do—is about school. But unlike most parents, I do not expect my kids to say that school was fine.
In my grief over my grandmother’s death, I derived solace from the idea that something could still be done to benefit her, that she hadn’t left us but was just in a different place.