Calling out discrimination

Ziena Jalil, partner at SenateSHJ

 
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Discrimination often stems from a place of fear – fear of being displaced in some way, fear of what or who we don’t know. So let’s learn more about each other, let’s earn each other’s respect, let’s grow together in this beautiful country we all call home.

 

Laws don’t change hearts and minds, education does. Education at home in terms of the values we teach our children, what they observe us doing and saying; education in the formal system as well as through community groups.

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Call out discrimination. If you see or hear something that’s not right – have the courage to call it out. Not saying anything suggests you are ok with that behaviour.

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Finally, and perhaps most importantly – look within. We are all guilty of holding prejudices, of perpetuating stereotypes and we need to constantly check ourselves.

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What Needs to Happen in the Workplace

  • Having a diverse workforce is a good place to start – but you need to ensure you actually empower your people to have a voice, and then listen to what they are saying.

  • Put yourself in someone else's shoes.

  • Challenge biases.

  • Highlight role models – when we see someone like us who has had success, we begin to believe we can achieve it too.

  • Put in place coaches and mentors.

  • Be inclusive.

  • Create a safe, agile environment.

  • And do it every day – not just as a one-off after a tragedy like what happened in Christchurch.