Racial Anxiety

In recent months, we have had many discussions about racism. Absent from most of these discussions is the topic of a subtle obstacle to solving the issues of racial injustice and unconscious bias: racial anxiety. This is when, in an interracial interaction, one participant is distracted by fear of experiencing prejudice, and the other is distracted by the fear of appearing racist. This is emotionally and mentally taxing for both parties, and as a result, neither party is her best self. Training facilitated by an expert can help, by allowing people to have authentic conversations in a supported environment. In addition, task-based interactions, where participants work toward a common goal, have been found to reduce racial anxiety. This is yet another reason why diversity in the workplace is important, because the workplace is the epitome of task-based interaction.

If we can resolve these important issues at work, we are one step closer to resolving them in society.