The topic of racism is often brushed under the carpet by employers and employees because no one wants to acknowledge the implicit elephant in the room. For many there will be deep-seated ideologies that prevent them from leaning towards difficult conversations, especially on race. Race can be often discussed in unmanaged and potentially destructive, rather than in a constructive manner. To some people, racism does not even exist and for reasons unknown, many are oblivious to the hidden and implicit threat that will exist in their work environments. As a psychotherapist, I understand that it may feel uncomfortable to speak about racism, primarily if you are addressing race for the first time. The reason is that every individual understands, witnesses and hears about race through his or her own personal filters.
The recent attendees to my "How to become an Anti-Racist Supporter" workshop shared their race experiences and what it meant for them. Some felt guilty, awkward, ashamed and reluctant to engage in the topic and this maybe because matters of race can require for some relentless efforts. Nobody wants to offend and nobody wants to feel under threat. In the face of this adversity people of all backgrounds unknowingly can be in denial when the topic of racism comes up. This undiscussable is proving to be more problematic than ever. Furthermore, there may be a lack of awareness around the subject or understanding that there is a problem, and through personal choice many behave as if it is not their problem to address. Employees learn very quickly that it is better to be quiet than to speak up and appear naïve. Nevertheless, the silence can be deafening if the elephant is not addressed, and as a psychotherapist and group facilitator, I am always curious to understand what are the beliefs and where do they stem from on the topic of race. As a result does it go back to their childhood, or is it a part of their organisations' culture? So in 2020, who is responsible for discussing the undiscussable?