E191 - Equality Matters with Javed Thomas
“…the experience is, if someone has a more challenging name in that room, they will be asked less for their opinion.”
- Javed Thomas
In this episode we speak with Javed Thomas, co-founder of Race Equality Matters and founder of the collaboratory. We speak about creating a sense of belonging for everyone and how the charity sector, charities, and individuals can go about doing this.
1. Getting people’s names wrong
The consequence of people pronouncing names incorrectly can lead to a feeling of being disrespected, and people literally being excluded. We heard from Javed a couple of examples of this.
While it is reasonable to take a stab at trying to pronounce a name we haven’t come into contact with before, how hard is it to pluck up the courage to ask someone how to say their name and then make an effort to say it in this way. Many of us haven’t had the indignity of being called by a name that isn’t ours, but we're sure those of us who haven’t can guess what it might be like if this were the case. This isn’t a hard behaviour to change, and the possibility this poses to incrementally building a more inclusive, or as Javed said ‘belonging’ environments, means that it is crucial for us to all adopt this as a new norm.
2. Being an active ally
Building your muscle for asking how to prounounce people’s names and learning a wider variety of names should be part of our personal progress – the skills and experiences we have the courage to seek out to actively live out the changes we want to see across our society. The passivity of not being racist isn’t enough in a world where racism is clearly thriving allowed by the status quo.
We all need to understand how we can step in and challenge racism and microaggressions. A first step in doing this is working to understand what these look like and then learning the things we can do when we witness it. Listening to this conversation might be one of these first steps but in order to truly live as an active ally of anti-racism we need to keep on moving forward and not resting on our laurels.
3. Steps forward for charities and individuals
Javed reminded us that there are benefits for organisations to demonstrate their anti-racism and the efforts they go to to create belonging. The growing value of anti-racist, and inclusive business cultures can be measured both by recruitment and wellbeing surveys, and the growing importance to charity funders.
Reports and charters are not enough. Charities need to do more to bring about a more equal sector, and a more equal world. As Javed said it is uncomfrotable to challenge but we need to normalise this. Our sector is built on kindness, but also a willingness to challenge the norm and add power to the voices wanting progress and change.
We need to get our organisations to a place where they can give examples of when they’ve called out or dealt with racism. Where a business priority is given to creating a culture of belonging, and where funding is invested into it, not just asking ethnic minority colleagues in your organisation to find the answers for your organisation as a nice-to-have hobby. Most importantly, we need to measure progress, individually, organisationally and as a sector. When we are doing this we can truly shift the dial in the short and long-term and achieve what many of us would put our hand up for – a diverse and welcoming charity sector, championing equality, diversity, and inclusion.
4. Find out more about Race Equality Matters and the Collaboratory
Check out their websites:
This episode of Charity Chat has been brought to you by our platinum sponsor Work for Good. Work for Good believes everyone should be able to turn the work they do into good. Through their fundraising platform, they offer charities a way to engage and work with small businesses, including founders, owners and sole traders who want to make an impact for charities through their sales. To find out more, please visit workforgood.co.uk.
We hope you enjoy this week’s episode
Related episodes that you may be interested in:
E190 - De-biased hiring with Khyati Sundaram
E189 - Theory of Change with James Noble
E182 - Challenging The Status Quo To Achieve Change Wth Tom Vozzo