“Not talking about race actually increases the sense of bias somebody already has … studies show that ignoring race can exacerbate rather than alleviate issues of race in the workplace,” said Allison Manswell, author of “Listen In: Crucial Conversations on Race in the Workplace.”
Manswell, a certified professional in learning and performance (CPLP), delivered her remarks at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Diversity Dialogue titled “Silence Is a Statement: Understanding Race in the Workplace” on Nov. 15.
Race must be discussed — if only to diversify the workforce — particularly at a place such as Harvard, she said. “When you don’t talk about it, you don’t have a frame of reference. You just know what you see on television.
“Because of who you are, you have the responsibility to be the leaders, not just in academia, but in the thought world and in the nation — for doing this right,” Manswell said. “The learning has to come from diverse perspectives in order to maintain its value in academia … The next generation of students is demanding it. They are impatient: racism, misogyny, and those kinds of things — they are not having it!”
Despite the advantages of talking about race, some people still find it uncomfortable, she said. “Some don’t think they have the vocabulary to talk about race or deny that it is an issue.
“Then, there are those who claim they don’t see color. That is antiquated,” she said. “We are past the point where colorblindness is an option.”