The digital marketing community has a lot of anti-racist work to do, particularly white people. Correcting anti-Black systemic racism takes more than including Black voices within lists of influencers or properly announcing anti-racist work (even if it comes with donation receipts).
That’s because anti-racism is an ongoing, lifelong project that requires looking both inward and outward from the white population. To quote educator, speaker, author, and rapper Dwayne Reed, “White supremacy won’t die until white people see it as a white issue they need to solve rather than a Black issue they need to empathize with.”
Here are some resources for digital marketers, with a focus on white digital marketers, to use as part of their anti-racist work. The words of Ijeoma Oluo, New York Times best selling author of So You Want to Talk About Race, serve as a useful starting point, “The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”
Hire Black Talent
Image Courtesy of the Jopwell Collection
As we saw when we put together our list of Black influencers, there’s an abundance of Black talent to hire. There’s also an abundance of good reasons to hire Black talent and to have a more inclusive workplace in general.
- You get access to different perspectives.
- Different perspectives increase creativity.
- Different perspectives and increased creativity leads to higher innovation. Industry analyst Josh Bernsin found that companies with diverse workplaces have a 1.7 times greater chance of being innovation leaders in their niche.
- A study by the Harvard Business Review showed that inclusive teams solve problems faster.
- A diversity of perspectives leads to better decision making. The online decision-making platform Cloverpop found that inclusive teams outperform decisions made by individuals upwards of 87% of the time and made their decisions faster as well.
- All of this adds up to increased profits. A survey by McKinsey & Company conducted a survey of 180 French, German, English, and American businesses found that greater diversity resulted in greater earnings.
- Workplace diversity leads to greater employee engagement because employees who feel included are more engaged. A study conducted by Deloitte, for example, of 1,550 employees across three large Australian manufacturing, retail, and healthcare companies found that engagement is a product of diversity and inclusion.
- Employees who feel more accepted and valued reduces employee turnover.
- As you might have guessed, all this improves a company’s reputation.
- Add up all the above and you get improved hiring results. A study by Glassdoor revealed that 67% of potential employees value a diverse workforce.
It’s also important to include Black people in your hiring process, and to have an inclusive hiring process in general. Lauren Rivera, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management, learned that people tend to hire people like themselves. Take these steps to have a more inclusive hiring process.
- Explicitly state that the company values inclusion.
- Educate the hiring committee about the value of inclusivity.
- Have a discussion with the hiring committee about implicit bias and/or have them read articles or watch videos about implicit bias. Finally, have members of the hiring committee take an implicit bias survey, such as this one from Harvard, to further cultivate self awareness (you don’t have to share the results).
- Scrub the job description of gendered language that may discourage women from applying.
- Have HR conduct equity review during the hiring process. This entails comparing the workplace demographic with the demographics of the labor market and looking for inequities.
- Expand your candidate search if you find that your talent pool is not inclusive given the findings of your equity review.
- Have a blind review of résumés, which means removing the names and years in which the degrees were awarded.
Finally, while it’s a common practice to promote from within, make sure to follow these same procedures when hiring from outside the company to fill upper level positions with Black talent.
Tab for Black Lives Matter
The product of NYC Coders’ virtual Hack for Black Lives Matter hackathon, Tabs for Black Lives Matter (T4BLM) is a Google Chrome extension that keeps you involved in the Black Lives Matter movement on a daily basis. Every day when you open a new tab, you get:
- Three petitions to sign.
- Three charities to support.
- Three articles to read about the global BLM movement.
- Selected art by Black artists.
T4BLM is the perfect way to keep up with BLM even when it’s out of the news cycle. And once enough users download the extension, T4BLM will be able to generate revenue using advertising with much of the proceeds going to charities that empower Black people. So, download and share T4BLM to keep up to date with and support the BLM movement.
Amplify Black Talent
Instead of waiting for influential digital marketing publications to properly highlight and connect Black creators, you can highlight Black talent yourself via the following platforms:
- The Black Creator Connection: Founded by writer, performer, and entrepreneur Lauren Clark, the BCC is a community, podcast, networking, and education opportunity for Black creators.
- B-Digital: Is a digital marketing platform that highlights Black talent within the global digital marketing community.
- #BlackAndBrilliant: Tony Effik, a senior vice president at NBCUniveral, created the hashtag #BlackAndBrilliant to highlight Black professionals and leaders to correct the misperception that the lack of Black representation in leadership roles is caused by a lack of Black talent. Now what initially began as a way to highlight Black talent has turned into an opportunity to connect Black talent.
Inclusive Stock Photos
Make sure the images on your website are inclusive. The images we use shape people’s perceptions of others, so it’s important to accurately represent people of different skin tones, religions, expressions of gender, ages, body size, and ability.
It’s important to note that inclusivity doesn’t just mean using particular imagery when talking about stories related to different demographics. Inclusivity is using a variety of representations for all sorts of stories because all people have their own versions of all stories.
- Nappy: Free stock photos of Black and Brown people.
- Create Her Stock: This is a platform of stock photography that aims to increase representation of melanated women. It’s a subscription service, but you can also get over 185 images from 2019 for free. And when you sign up for the email list, you get new photos sent to your inbox the first Sunday of each month and you get two months for $12 on the Blogger Plan.
- The Gender Spectrum Collection: Created by Vice, these free photos provide an accurate representation of the entire gender spectrum. The collection was intentionally created to provide images that can go along with any type of article, allowing you to expand the scope of gender representation to include every type of content imaginable. Additionally, each photo is captioned with the subject’s gender identification to help creators avoid making assumptions when choosing their images. To use these photos, credit The Gender Spectrum Collection.
- #WOCinTech Chat: #WOCinTech Chat began as an attempt to connect women of color in tech. That goal was achieved, and was documented in a collection of free photography that you can use so long as you link to the collection and/or use the hashtag #WoCinTech Chat.
- UKBlackTech: These free stock photos provide Black British representation. All you have to do is tag them with UKBlackTech or www.ukblacktech.com.
- Picnoi: Free, inclusive representation that you don’t even have to credit (although you should).
- AllGo: AllGo is an app that allows people who identify as plus-size to find comfortable and accessible businesses including salons, restaurants, theaters, and more. Founder Rebecca Alexander also created a free collection of inclusive stock photography so that people of all sizes can be represented. Photos can be credited as, “Photos curtesy of Michael Poley of Poley Creative for AllGo“.
- The Jopwell Collection: Jopwell is a platform for advancing the careers of Black, Brown, and Indiginous students and professionals. This is their collection of free workplace images. Jopwell also created an intern collection, which provides inclusive representation of young people in office settings. To use these images you just need to include an attribution to Jopwell or Jopwell.com.
- Disability:IN: This is free stock photography of people with disabilities. To use it, all you need to do is credit Disability:IN.
- Black Illustrations: Created by John D. Saunders, this is a resource of illustrations of Black people to incorporate into your website’s design and digital marketing endeavors.
- All Go: AllGo is an app that allows plus-sized people to see if establishments offer comfortable accommodations to suit their needs. The company created a collection of stock photos to accompany their Instagram posts.
- Eye For Ebony: This platform, which has both free and paid options, includes bundles such as business, yoga, and maternity.
- Iwari: This platform focuses on Afrida with such categories as work, leisure, and cuisine.
- She Bold Stock: Get 20 free images to start, and then get access to over 2,000 images, 500 quote graphic, and templates.
- Burst: A collection of stock images ranging from portraits and selfies to crowds and community, providing photography for any type of content.
- Rawpixel: Upwards of 10 images free images today, curated to “reflect today’s society as it really is.”
Many American holidays are rooted in America’s history of racial violence, while other events that celebrate or facilitate steps toward correcting America’s injustices are slow to be made. Rather than wait for the federal government to designate these days as national holidays, your SEO agency, PPC media agency, or social media agency can help make some of these corrections by making the following days company holidays.
While President Abraham Lincoln had issued his Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, it wasn’t until Union general Gordon Grander announced the order in Galveston, Texas on July 19th, 1865 that all enslaved people in Texas were free. That’s because enforcement of the order was contingent upon the presence of Union troops, and Texas was the state furthest away from the advance of the Union army.
Juneteenth had been celebrated as early as 1866, but it’s only now that the push for making it a federal holiday is gaining significant traction. Your company can help by observing it as a company holiday before the federal government does.
Unfortunately, Juneteenth isn’t discussed in enough schools, so many white people are only recently learning about it. This article is a good way to learn more about Juneteenth.
A big way to effect change nationally and locally is by voting, yet Election Day isn’t a federal holiday. For too many people, getting to vote is challenging enough as it is. By making Election Day a company holiday, employees can take one more step to correct anti-Black systemic racism.
Indigenous People’s Day
Columbus Day is a national holiday that commemorates Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. Columbus, however, ushered in the genocide and enslavement of the Indigenous People of the Americas. While Columbus Day remains a national holiday in the US, a more fitting holiday is Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which honors and celebrates the lives and culture of Indigenous People and properly frames Christopher Columbus as a figure deserving of collective condemnation. Observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day is yet another way to address America’s history of genocide and enslavement.
According to the Brookings Institution, Black people make up 12.7% of the U.S. population but are only 4.3% of America’s 22.2 million business owners. Because of anti-Black systemic racism, Black owned businesses face far too many obstacles. One step, then, that your SEO agency, PPC media agency, or social media marketing firm can take is intentionally making purchases from Black owned businesses.
Apps like Yelp, Drizzly, and UberEats have added or are in the process of adding features that make it easier to find Black owned businesses, but there are also apps that are themselves Black owned and created, which are a better way to support Black creators and business owners.
While these tools are useful, it’s important to note that their ratings on many app stores are dragged down by racist reviews. So, writing positive reviews to reflect your positive experience also helps.
Eat Okra: Will help you buy your company lunch, or any meal, from a Black owned restaurant. The app was created in 2016, and has been so successful that they recently launched a crowdfunding campaign, which ends August 9th, 2020, to more quickly process the over 5,100 new listings that were added between May 28th and June 4th of 2020.
Fund Black Founders: In addition to empowering Black creators, this crowdfunding platform helps create more safe spaces for Black people.
Buy it Black: Is a marketplace of Black owned businesses where you can buy everything from skincare products to pralines.
WeBuyBlack: Is the internet’s largest marketplace of Black owned businesses, selling everything from laundry detergent and toys to pet food and light bulbs.
Auntie’s List: Is a directory of Black owned businesses.
Black Health Wealth: Highlights Black owned businesses, and also provides networking, education, and other opportunities for Black creators and business owners.
Support Black Owned: Is an app and growing directory to help you find Black owned businesses.
The Black Wallet: Is an online hub for Black entrepreneurs that features an app, podcast, and directory of services meant to highlight and inspire Black business owners.
BlackGuide App: Is a “Black city resource guide” that includes event listings, local news, business directory, and more.
Bank Black USA: Lets you compare Black owned banks nationwide, both online and using an app. You can see all the services the banks offer and what they do with your money.
Shop Black Owned: Is a free, crowd-sources, map-based tool to discover and support Black-owned businesses in 8 cities including NYC, LA, and Chicago.
This is a list of various resources to educate yourself on America’s history of systemic anti-Black racism and what you can do to work on the problem within and outside of yourself. These lists contain:
- Films & Documentaries
- Twitter Accounts
- Online courses
- Children’s Content
- Charities to Support
A corporate matching gift program is when a company matches employee donations to eligible charitable foundations. Such programs can be used to encourage charitable giving and action for the benefit of the Black Lives Matter movement.
These programs are great for companies because they allow employees to increase their donations thanks to the match made by the business. Matching gift programs also encourage trust between the company and employees and the general public by highlighting positive social actions.
Matching gift programs take many forms, including but not limited to:
Fundraising Matches: This is when a company matches an employee’s contribution to a fundraiser like a walk, run, or bike ride.
In-Kind Donations: These are donations of goods or services made for a reduced price or for free to a nonprofit. Examples include products, consultation, food, or medical supplies.
Volunteer Grant Programs: These programs entail donating an amount of money equal to the number of hours an employee has spent volunteering at a nonprofit.
Team Volunteer Grants: This is when a business makes a matching donation based on the number of hours a team of employees has spent volunteering at a nonprofit. It’s great for team building and increases the number of volunteers and contributions that a nonprofit receives.
Companies can also provide employees time off to volunteer, or go to protests and vigils.
There’s a lot that needs to be done in order to correct for systemic anti-Black racism within the digital marketing community and beyond, particularly by white people. It’s also important to note that even after all of these steps are taken, it’s still possible and likely for racism to exist within the workplace and for racist attitudes to exist within people, including the very people working to outwardly combat systemic racism.
Anti-racist work is a lifetime commitment that requires people to accept that they will make mistakes and that there’s always more work to be done. But it’s in that room for improvement that we discover the same creative spark that makes the digital marketing community so resilient, and capable of growth, discovery, and learning from our mistakes.