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. 

  • I've been reading this thread with great interest, intrigue, sharp intakes of breath, agreement with points, total disagreement with others (at times from the same person) and I admit discomfort at some of the phrases used in the context they have been used in and approaches to the debate which have been a little alienating.....and I'll be honest I've had total confusion and at times can't even understand what some of the phrases used even mean, and I like to think I'm reasonably clever and worldly-wise!

    There was another thread recently that asked about how to facilitate conversations in the workplace about race which goes hand in hand with this thread I think? I do appreciate this thread is 'pitched' at fellow HR professionals so the content and type of discussion reflects that, but I can't help but feel if conversations happen or were to happen in the workplace like this - with terminology that the typical employee might not understand or it goes REALLY deep - then its potentially no surprise - to me anyway - that the average employee might not really want to get involved.
  • In reply to Samantha:

    as you say this is debate on a professional forum designed to discuss how the profession can help move things forward. I think if there are terms we don't understand then its a valuable learning moment to reach out and say which terms and for other member to suggest resources to help explain.

    A term like White Privilege for example is uncomfortable, confusing and risks alienating some - but our responsibility is to ensure we understand the term, the debate and the potential impact on colleagues and the wider community. In that context I can highly recommend White Fragility by Robin Diangelo as a good starting point in explaining some of the terms and framing the issues. Educating ourselves is the first step to changing things
  • In reply to Keith:

    As you have not done me the courtesy of seeking to explain how my suggestion conflicts with anything you have said, and I can see no such conflict (and certainly intend there to be none), I agree there is little point in continuing this exchange.

    Should you wish me to clarify further, of feel inclined to explain your position, either between us or with Judeline, via PM or another medium, as has been suggested, I will be more than pleased to do so, as I sincerely do not understand what you seem to have found so disturbing in what I have suggested.


  • In reply to Keith:

    Hi Keith, sorry I should have been a bit clearer - white privilege etc I definitely understand what these mean and referred to them on another thread, and Im not uncomfortable at all with that phrase as I do appreciate it exists (broadly IMO) and indeed said this on that other thread ...... I don't know how to phrase this without critiscising peoples speaking/writing style but some of the points made by different posters feel, to me anyway, like they are extremely wordy possibly unnecessarily and if I'm honest, its a little intimidating to engage with.

    I agree that education is the first step, but theres almost an automatic assumption that people need to educate themselves if they have a different view point which I think people in the normal world might find a little insulting (??)
  • In reply to Keith:

    Not sure where to jump in on the numerous posts so I will just step up here.

    It seems to me that we are in danger of making this awful situation a matter of cerebral debate when there is genuine pain, injustice and discrimination.

    What does this phrase mean?…debate. Who thought of that word?…debate.

    So, let’s cut to the chase. While we continue to ‘debate’ the ‘Whatabout-ery’ it means we create division amongst ourselves when in essence we all agree we want to do something about the circumstances.

    Whilst it is important to understand and appreciate the nuances of language – I believe it is more important to gather allies together NOW. I believe you are my allies because you’ve chosen to interact here. As HR professions we have so much to share / exchange…did you ever learn something in one go? I'm not here to cause you pain in that learning process...maybe it will be a progression of enlightenment and I am willing to support you in that process whilst learning about you too.

    So – here’s the challenge…what are you willing to give up in order to contribute to something constructive that changes behaviour. Rather than look at what separates us….what unites us?

    Are you ready to join together to create a louder voice for action? If so – meet me on LI and let’s do this!
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    2 Jul, 2020 15:32

    In reply to Kate Ashmore:

    Hi Kate,

    Yes... Peter Cheese shared some data in a very recent blog post.

  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    2 Jul, 2020 15:33

    In reply to Judeline Nicholas:

    Judeline Nicholas said:
    It seems to me that we are in danger of making this awful situation a matter of cerebral debate when there is genuine pain, injustice and discrimination.

    Very true.

  • In reply to Judeline Nicholas:

    I think you (and Samantha immediately above) have just placed your finger(s) on the key issue (and the one that prompted my original posting above), that the "racial debate", more so than any other issue of difference or discrimination, has generally (and almost universally) become too complex, to cerebral, for those who should be most critically involved in it to engage with.

    I would like to think that the objective of all those witnessing the history of race-relations within our living memory (i.e. that we have directly experienced ourselves, regardless of any "academic" understanding of the horrors that went before) would recognise that the developed nations' treatment of other races, either within our own societies or as one-time colonies, parts of a commonwealth, or now (comparatively) recent independent states, has been unjust at best and in some cases appaling.

    ...And as unavoidably evidenced by recent events in America, is continuing to be so.

    Such high-profile outpourings of clearly justified grief and anger are, however, merely the visible tip of the iceberg, and for most of us (and I use the word "us" deliberately) the hidden depths of the problem are simply too much, too complex and too interwoven to understand, much less affect. Even those of us whose role it is to understand them, to some degree find ourselves "speaking in tongues" using terms like "fragility", "privilege" or "complicity" which, almost as they are uttered, alienate many of those who most need to understand the truth of their existence, and even many who would want to!

    You ask what can be given up and my simple and only answer has to be "presumption". The presumption that race, colour or creed is significant to practical issues like skill or capability, but also (and more significantly to the problem) to issues such as honesty, goodwill, life-choices and other (almost universally negative) stereotypical expectations of others based only on colour or racial origins.

    When I was school-age (a little while ago, I must admit) we were taught, that we must "look after" the "lesser races" of the colonies and commonwealth. Horrendous as that sounds today (and it is to write here) the intention was not to exploit and disadvantage, but to cherish and protect, from their own failures and dissolute lifestyles. On BBC Television, one of the most popular weekly entertainments was the "Black and White Minstrel Show" All white cast, but the men in what today we call "Black-face".... I could go on.

    So, what have I already chosen to give up? Starting from my early twenties when first posted to the Far East during RAF service: Much of the geographical and sociological presumptions I was ever taught to have! But I do not feel that in reality I "gave up" anything. I was willing to learn, which is an entirely different process, and that is what I feel we all must still do, on both sides of the "debate"; learn that differences of race or colour (or anything else) are fundamentally no more relevant to who we are than is the colour of our eyes (or our taste for marmite).

    We should not forget the past; we should review our glorification of those who we now recognise did wrong by other races even as they elevated our own (developed, Christian, white) nation(s), we should (all) be prepared to examine our presumptions about ourselves and our expectations of those we interact with (truly regardless of presumption based on appearance or accent) at work or anywhere else, but that is not to "give up" anything, merely to accept something "different" in place of what we assumed, or thought we had learned, before.

    So after all that my answer to your question of what would "I" give up is simple: Nothing: But what do you need me to re-learn, or to understand, for us to inherently and unquestioningly accept each other as equals, at work or anywhere else?

    ...And that, I feel, is the "debate" we should be promoting here.


  • Thank for sharing these resources. It would be great to have access to a tool which would allow us to do a self assessment on where our organisation currently is in respect of anti racism and inclusion. Could you recommend any tools?
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    17 Aug, 2020 14:19

    In reply to Christina:

    Hi Christina,

    In terms of CIPD resources, we have our inclusion health checker tool which connects with our report/recommendations and action guide.

    A start?

  • Like many, I have been following this debate and working on what I, personally and professionally, should be doing now to Play an active part in change. Today I came across this article on Forbes - it’s very US-centric, but if you work through that to the 10 recommendations at the end there are some really practical activities for all organisations to consider that would certainly be a challenge to most, but which would make a significant difference to organisational cultures.

  • Thank you David for this article. If people will think like you, we will live in a perfect world without racism.