CIPD anti-racism support/materials to use at work - what do you need?

UPDATE: https://www.cipd.co.uk/news-views/tackling-racism-workplace

I know that this week has been incredibly difficult for many of you and you will be looking to us, at the CIPD, for advice and guidance. I'm also acutely aware that this isn't just about this week.

We have put together a set of four principles to help support you through addressing evident and deep rooted challenges and we will be expanding on them soon; we would welcome comments and input on them. If you don't think we have done enough then help us understand what you need and what would be helpful.

To be clear - because sometimes it helps to name things - this isn't about general inclusion, although some lessons will be common, but this is specifically about racism and the damage it does. 

We will also be sharing some really honest discussions with people over the coming weeks where they talk about their experiences and what needs to change, but in the meantime we want to hear from you:

  • Let us know what you need from us that would support you and your people.
  • This will help shape our work to make the biggest difference to you and the organisations that you work in or with.
  • We look forward to hearing from you; we are listening.
  • I'd also like to re-share the details of our Wellbeing Support for members for any of you that would benefit.

I know that some people felt we weren't fast enough in responding to current events - we took some time to speak to our people internally to see how they were and what they felt we should say - but I want you to know that we are committed to building something rapidly and then sustaining that momentum over time.

We are trying to find ways to drive positive change together, so please ensure that the conversations here are clear and honest. I've asked that members of the CIPD team step into the conversations where possible to add their thoughts and also to listen. 

  • In reply to Peter:

    But many people do not accept the term white privilege at all (see earlier comments) and in fact reject totally the very notion that it exists. Lines can indeed be drawn but one shouldn't assume that if you draw a line now it will be a straight line - we have not all equally had the opportunities or privileges of some. Recognizing that has to be for me part of the solution rather than simply saying from this point forward. We have to create a system that recognizes that action needs to be taken to rectify the mistakes and the inequities of the past rather than simply saying from today its a level playing field get on with it.
  • In reply to Keith:

    Whether it exists or not is immaterial: If those who believe it does perceive it to be where I am, then I am happy for them to join me and to help them do so. If they do not see it as being real then they might already be there and I am happy for them.

    No; lines will not be straight and that is exactly my point. If I have further to move from the line I must draw than you do from your line to find equality for others I am happy to do so (and even if I were not, it is a move that must be made).

    Recognising that privilege has existed is unimportant to making change; recognising that it DOES exist matters (though I agree that of course the latter depends heavily on the former). If I got my last job because I was white, not because I was the best candidate, I can accept that was wrong but can do nothing about it now. But in that awareness, accepting that my NEXT job will be based on my colour is something I SHOULD find unacceptable and do something about,


  • In reply to Peter:

    No its not immaterial (IMO) and that is a huge part of the problem. Recognizing that privilege exists is central to making changes. We have tried for 50 years or more (since the Race Relations Act and before) to draw lines and make change but unless and until we recognize the fundamental unfairness in the current system and that people are starting 20, 30 or 50 meters ahead in a 100m race BECAUSE of their colour then we will never change it.
  • In reply to Keith:

    You are missing my point and then saying exactly the same thing Keith. :-)

    Awareness of racism TODAY is what we need to deal with TODAY (and tomorrow). Recognition of yesterday's failures can inform us of what our starting point is, but does not change anything through that recognition alone, nor can we change the past. So to make change going forward, what privilege exists (if, as some might argue, any) is what we need to equalise, no matter what its current  quantum; not what might have once been.

    Whether the system was fair or not yesterday, we must make it so today having recognised its unfairness today: In your words: "....until we recognise the fundamental unfairness in the CURRENT system...."

    To make change, we must address what needs to be done today and tomorrow; not what should have been done yesterday, especially if that establishes new and unhelpful stereotypes and, from them, conflict.

    How to deal with those issues is a different debate, with a different objective (or several).

  • In reply to Peter:

    No Peter I dont think so and I am sure I am not missing your point on this one.

    I dont agree with your views for the reasons I have said

  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    1 Jul, 2020 15:03

    In reply to Keith:

    Yes, worth listening to MLK on this:

    "It's a cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his bootstraps."

  • In reply to Peter:

    Hello Keith and Peter
    Firstly, let me thank you for stepping up to be active, and thereby, effective allies in challenging inequality. Having these passionate and sometimes uncomfortable discussions is exactly what should be happening - though not at a costly distraction to improving lives in the round.
    To add to your discussion:
    I agree Peter - we must look forward, focus on our hopes and aspirations to make them a reality. Let's put some things on the table to get moving
    I agree Keith - we must learn from history - to quote a chap called Marley...
    'If you know your history
    Then you would know where you coming from
    Then you wouldn't have to ask me
    Who the heck do I think I am'

    To both - I was privileged to be mentored by a remarkable judge when I first sat as a Lay Member for ET Panels. He said, many come to tribunal just to feel they have been heard.

    Therefore - is it possible to combine both your approaches, harness that energy and desire to make a positive change? Because that, I feel, is exactly what we need.

    Acknowledge the history (for some, letting go of the pain will be essential before they can move forward - to do this, they may ask you to listen to that pain and while you may not have caused it directly - you may be part of the privileged group that perpetuated it by not challenging / recognising it in the past). It takes courage and trust from both to do this.

    Some may not need to go through that process - they may be ready to grab that baton and lead.

    We as HR professionals know that one size will not fit all ....can we show a collaborative way to work?

    To elaborate on the phrase....Thanks for the invitation to join the party, delighted to be asked to dance....I'm ready to be on the organising committee

    To round up the thinking - I'm not looking for a white saviour, I am very able - what I'm looking for are allies......can we do this together?

    Happy to have a zoom call if it takes our discussion to the next level.
  • In reply to Keith:

    Sorry Keith, but I assure you, you are.

    I an NOT suggesting (to utilise Steve's link as an example) that we ignore the fact that anyone "has no bootstraps" or (to use yours) is fifty-yards behind us at the starting gate. I am saying that with that awareness we do not need to analyse again, in the current forum, WHY they have no bootstraps or are behind on the track in order to progress with change, if that process of analysis creates ITS OWN barriers to change (i.e. by creating new stereotypes).

    If my house catches fire, I do not need to debate whether the fire was caused by a spark from my wood-burner, or an overheated chip-pan, before reaching for the fire extinguisher and phoning for the fire-brigade. I will have that debate at another time (especially as I do not have a chip-pan). Neither do I need a neighbour telling me how careless I must have been, or how annoying the sound from my smoke-alarm is, while I am fighting the fire; though I will be happy to debate that once the flames have died down.

    I am saying that, faced with the challenges AND OPPORTUNITIES to move ahead positively, together, as encouraged by Judeline, I would simply like to see us do so, in this forum, free of unnecessary "baggage".

    Having read many of the replies already posted before my own (including yours) albeit some others not in detail, and having (as you know) some degree of understanding of discrimination in other fields, I was being dismissive of NONE of the negatives needing to be overcome, but was focussing on the need to move forward, without constant return to analysis of blame, and reiteration of stereotypical accusations. That does not conflict with anything you have said of the need to recognise the historic, or current, issues, but seeks to set aside, for the purposes of THIS discussion, the recognised "sins of the fathers" being repeatedly vested on the sons and daughters, to no newly meaningful effect.

    We are on the same side, pulling in the same direction, with the same knowledge and understanding of the issues that neither of us are seeking to ignore.

  • In reply to Judeline Nicholas:

    Judeline, yes, I understand and agree with what you are saying here. My point (as you might realise from my last to Keith above) is that acknowledging the history, and accepting the pain that needs to be released, is quite different from becoming the passive target of accusation of being its cause through stereotypical assumptions that are no more fair or justified than those which have been the cause of the initial injustices and which make no positive contribution to their resolution.

    Acknowledging the existence of white privilege: If I am privileged by being white, what relevance to this debate has that if I do not accept the privilege, e.g by my demand that all people, regardless of colour , sex, etc. share it?

    Does a debate toward that end of discrimination (as suggested here) need to stereotype me as so elevated? Is it meaningful for it to do so? Is it less accusatory or offensive for having justification? (If granting it has). Does it move the debate onward... Or does it merely create a barrier to you and I (and all others) debating with respect and openly seeking to genuinely understand each other?

    Equally, does my unwitting silence in response to discrimination I am un-aware of make me complicit in its commission? If I am appointed or promoted because of someone else's prejudice, does that demand that I should, by some psychic power, have known that a better qualified black or other minority candidate existed, and so refused the role?

    ....and again, what positive does such an assumption being made against me bring to the debate?

    I am NOT saying these issues should be ignored, hidden, or in any other manner disregarded: I am saying that if, in this professional forum seeking honest debate, they can do more than impede trust, goodwill and openness, then should they not be set aside for another day and time to be exorcised?

    Being aware of them; being sensitive to them; need I be accused and castigated for them (or others similar) when my very presence at the table indicates my acceptance of their unacceptability (guilty or not)?

    Is the debate to promote change and equality, or to punish those deemed guilty, by implication alone, of stereotypically benefiting from their great-grandfathers' sins of prejudice and exploitation?

    I hope, the former; for that discussion I am here and a willing participant. To sit passively still for sentencing for the latter, I am not.
  • In reply to Judeline Nicholas:

    P.S. Always happy to discuss further by zoom if that moves us on, and I like the taste in musical philosophy.
  • I was wondering where we can find the demographic make up of the CIPD?
  • In reply to Kate Ashmore:

    I think our site mentor Steve (see previous page) would be the point of contact to see if that is available. I see no reason why it should not be.

  • In reply to Peter:

    Peter please do not speak for me. I made it clear I do not agree with all you are saying. My view is different to yours . Please accept that regardless of how you wish to interpret it.There are things I disagree with in your views so please accept I disagree rather than trying to speak for me. We may be travelling in the same direction or we may not but we are not saying the same thing.

  • In reply to Keith:

    Keith, I had no intention whatever of speaking for you and would never presume to speak for you, or any colleague, but you appear to be suggesting I am contradicting what you said, which I am not. I entirely agree with the need for past wrongs etc to be considered, my reservation being the stage at which necessary or productive for this to be referred to. Insofar as that issue alone is concerned, we diverge, but that is not an issue that challenges the principle we are agreed upon. Far from me speaking for you, it appeared that you were challenging my sincerity in seeking to provide a principle for positive discussion without unnecessary confrontation and my reasons for doing so, instead of which we seem to be unnecessarily and (to me) distressingly engaged in one!

    Shall we perhaps leave it there until our intentions become mutually clear, as I am sure they will as discussion progresses in he coming weeks?

  • In reply to Peter:

    Peter I wont add to my very clear point that you do not speak for me and I disagree with some of what you say. Your persistence in saying we are saying the same thing is wrong.

    But the wider debate is far more important so I will focus on that rather