Racial Justice at Work: The Problem with “Professionalism”
Day 3Session Code: S7-E
When: March 29, 2023
Track: Innovation & Transformation
Presenter: Tami Jackson, The Winters Group, Inc.
Prerequisite: Foundational understanding of systemic oppression and how anti-Blackness operates in the workplace; Completing session pre-reads is strongly encouraged
Prior to entering the workforce, many of us were taught the “universal tenets” of professionalism — everything from how to dress, speak, and engage with our colleagues in the workplace. But have you ever thought about how these seemingly innocuous expectations are rooted in white supremacy, control, and intentional distancing from “the other”?
How does our universal adherence to professionalism in the workplace continue to harm Black and other people who have been historically excluded, while also perpetuating the false need to center the white gaze as a requirement for assumed competency, ability, and success?
• Gain a broader understanding about how adherence to the ideals of professionalism has affected Black and other historically harmed people
• Identify ways you may consciously or unconsciously adhere to the unspoken tenets of professionalism and discover why/how you may have learned that
• Learn strategies and techniques on how to spot weaponized professionalism expectations in the workplace and disrupt unchallenged norms