Tag Archives: inequity

I am NOT Black…video comments

9 Nov

New Canadian Federal cabinet aside (more on that later) I have to comment on Prince Ea’s video (I am NOT Black, you are not White) that is making the rounds on social media.

It’s a lovely sentiment. I hate labels too.
And if you are White, chances are you love this video. We have been taught that being “colour blind” is a good thing.
But here is the problem with not seeing skin colour in a world where racism is alive and well (systemic and individual):

We are not always treated equally based on skin colour.
Look around: driving while Black, carding by police, disproportionate numbers of Black (and Aboriginal) kids in the child welfare system, H&M not wanting to include Black people in their South African advertising (more on that later too!). The list goes on.

Because of this, erasing my colour when you look at me doesn’t work because it fools us into thinking we are treated equally. And it makes it even harder to talk about (and rectify) the injustice, the prejudice, the discrimination. People are treated differently (negatively) because their skin is not White, or their skin is darker.
It happens all over the world, and is a legacy of colonization.

Noticing that I am brown is NOT the same as assigning my skin colour a value.
It is noticing an important and fundamental part of who I am.

Using my skin colour against me is another story, but that doesn’t automatically come from noticing: that is racism and it’s taught. Small children notice differences all of the time: skin colour, hair colour, body size, etc… It’s ok to notice. It’s when you judge it and assign these aspects a value (negative or positive) that the trouble begins.

So I think I see where Prince Ea is trying to take us – to galaxy far far away  – is where the words we use to describe ourselves don’t carry the weight of “I’m better than you” or “you’re not as good as me”, where we can just be who we are and all live happily.

I hope we make it there in my daughter’s generation, but I’m not so sure.

Until then, please notice my colour.
It tells you something more about me, and it certainly impacts how I see and experience the world (like my other identities). Not talking about it doesn’t make it better, it makes me invisible.
Everyone wants to be seen.
When we really see each other, we can connect. And it’s through meaningful connections that we will make the world a better place – together.

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Copyright 2015 Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker, Author and Facilitator on issues of Diversity & Inclusion

Radio Show Host – Creating Families


The Manifestations of Inequity in the Workplace

5 Jul

Yesterday I was at the bank, and as I was tired, I noticed that the tellers have to stand all day. (I’m sure I’ve seen branches with stools, but I digress.)

When I asked the teller about this, she replied that “It wasn’t considered professional” for them to sit.


As I turned around and surveyed the many glass-walled offices along 2 sides of the bank, I saw desks and chairs. Not just chairs for clients, but chairs for the staff. And comfortable ones at that! Seems it’s professional to sit when you have a certain title that includes say, “manager” or when you have a certain salary, but not when you are a teller.


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copyright 2012 Annemarie Shrouder
Author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity and inclusion.

Faith @ Work II

22 Nov

One of the workshops I attended at the Nov. 9th Diversity@Work conference put on by Skills for Change was by Nadir Shirazi. He spoke about dedicated spaces in offices for quiet time, prayer, meditation etc.

Nadir’s presentation was very interesting; he shared the challenge for companies to name these rooms, and the lack of follow-up to see who is using them and how they are used. He confirmed that most of the requests for such rooms are made my Muslim employees. And he explained that complexities arise when these rooms are used by many people with different beliefs and needs. Providing a room, as the title of his workshop suggested, is just the tip of the religious accommodation iceberg.

What stood out for me most, however, was the inequity Nadir shared of where these rooms often are. In their commitment to diversity and inclusion many companies have such spaces in their corporate offices. This is wonderful for the executives and employees who work there, but doesn’t help the staff in the company’s call centres, or retail stores, or franchise outlets (for example).

It was an interesting manifestation of privilege within the context of attempting to be equitable; of how easily people can be overlooked even when we are trying to be inclusive. I’m willing to bet it’s largely unconscious that the men and women at head office have a meditation or prayer room while the workers “on the front lines” of these companies may not. But if this is the case, what do our accommodation efforts really amount to?

It sure made me wonder when I placed my order for tea at the Toronto Airport last week before boarding my flight, and noticed that not a single person working there was White.

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Copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity and inclusion

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