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Allyship and Anti-Racism Resources

Protest image of Black Lives Matter sign

At this difficult time, we’ve had more requests for resources on allyship and anti-racism. We wanted to share the following in case it is useful for your building of responses and ongoing efforts.

Ibram X. Kendi, Ph.D., Professor and Founding Director of The Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, will be a speaker at our Fall 2020 Corporate Program meeting. We recommend his book How to Be an Antiracist and his writings, including his recent The Atlantic article The American Nightmare.

Watch Kimberlé Crenshaw, Ph.D., Professor, UCLA School of Law, on Intersectionality and police violence towards Black Women.

To understand systemic racism in the justice system, consider reading The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, Ph.D., Visiting Professor, Union Theological Seminary in New York City; Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Founder, Equal Justice Initiative; and Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by Dr. James Forman Jr., Professor of Law, Yale Law School.

From our Stanford colleagues at the Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity (CCSRE)  and SPARQ, we recommend the RaceWorks toolkit. RaceWorks' video series, conversation guide, facilitation toolkit, and education resources aim to better equip students, professionals, educators and community leaders with the knowledge and skills to have informed conversations on race.

The Racial Equity Tools site has many great resources – from individual leadership and activism to education and changing organizations to be more racially equitable.

Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab co-founder Lori Mackenzie co-authored these pieces: 3 Things Managers Can Do to Confront Microaggressions Head On and Want to Promote Allyship in Your Company? Crowdsource It.

Biased: Understanding the Hidden Prejudice that Shapes What We See, Think and Do is a book by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, that examines racial bias at all levels of society and offers tools to address it.

Check out The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dr. Dolly Chugh, Associate Professor (tenured), Department of Management and Organizations at NYU Stern School of Business.

Watch Brittney Cooper, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Rutgers University, in a TED talk entitled The Racial Politics of Time.

In an article for Knowledge@Wharton, Stephanie Creary, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, offers a framework for How to Begin Talking About Race in the Workplace.

In her Bloomberg editorial  "Companies Have the Tools to Fight Racism. Will They Use Them?"  Dr. Joan Williams, Distinguished Professor of Law and UC Hastings Foundation Chair and Director of the Center for WorkLife Law, describes how companies must move beyond awareness and training to approach bias as they would any business problem: by replacing routines with data-driven, evidence-based processes and results tracking. 

Read about the negative effects of racial trauma in “I’m Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired:” Racial Trauma from Dr. Thomas A. Vance, Postdoctoral Fellow, The New School for Social Research.

Read White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education, University of Washington, Seattle; as well as THIS piece about the limits of expressing empathy as a form of allyship.

Co-director of Stanford VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab Corporate Program Sarah Soule co-created the Anti-Racism and Allyship 7 Day Journey curriculum that includes a facilitator guide.

Look inside your own organization and foster structural change at the leadership level. Consider these pieces on the persistent underrepresentation of black employees in our workplaces and look for meaningful company action: Why So Many Organizations Stay White, by Dr. Victor Ray, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Iowa; and U.S. Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism by Laura Morgan Roberts, Ph.D. Professor of the Practice, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia and Dr. Ella F. Washington, Professor of Practice, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

Dr. Laura Roberts  is also a co-author of Race, Work and Leadership: New Perspectives on the Black Experience, which spotlights the present-day dynamics of race in the workplace.  The book, co-authored by Dr. David A. Thomas, psychologist and President of Morehouse College; and Anthony Mayo, Thomas S. Murphy Senior Lecturer of Business Administration in the Organizational Behavior Unit of Harvard Business School, includes contributions from top scholars, researchers, and practitioners on the research and strategies needed to understand and advance African Americans in work environments and leadership roles.  

Consider this list of books foundational to understanding the history of systemic racism in the U.S. towards Black people:

In response to the racism and xenophobia unleashed on members of the Asian community by the coronavirus pandemic, the  AAPI COVID-19 Project seeks to investigate how COVID-19 — as both a virus and a social construction — is impacting Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals and communities.  Led by Dr. Vivian G. Shaw, a Harvard College Fellow in the University’s sociology department,  the project is comprised of a team of eight researchers from multiple universities, and focuses on six main areas: labor and the economy, community-based organizations, health, education, caregiving and family, and online space — the last category inspired by a story she received about an Asian man on a gay dating website being referred to as “coronavirus.”

Harvard Business Review (HBR) has curated a collection of informative articles in the Confronting Racism at Work: A Reading List.  Additional HBR content that may be helpful include the following (also see the "Articles and Publications" section of our members-only section for breaking research and news on allyship, intersectionality and other D&I topics):

  • HBR's podcast "Discomfort, Anxiety and Grief: Confronting Racism With Colleagues" offers insights on how to have difficult conversations with colleagues about racism, and address the pain and trauma underlying police brutality.
  • In the HBR article "The Costs of Code-Switching,"  researchers examine the dynamics around adjusting speech, appearance and expression to better "fit in" with fellow employees.  They describe how code-switching among black professionals in the workplace can impose heavy costs on individuals' mental health and productivity over time, and offer recommendations for promoting dialogue and engagement around authenticity and inclusion.  
  • In "Women of Color Get Less Support at Work: Here's How Managers Can Change That," researchers describe how professional women of color are less likely to have bosses who promote their work, help them navigate organizational politics or socialize with them outside work.  As a result, they miss the opportunities for sponsorship and networking that are vital to advancement.  This HBR article spotlights specific actions leaders and managers can take to better support women on color on their teams.
  • "How to Be a Better Ally" authors provide actionable steps for people in position of power to leverage their privilege by taking an active role in helping marginalized colleagues advance. 


Also, Lab faculty director Shelley Correll highlights the following imperatives:

  • We need to move beyond a short-term focus on “allyship in the moment”; we need to continuously educate ourselves, and White colleagues, family, and friends to get beyond “White Amnesia” – a phenomenon by we frame our modern-day society and organizations as “meritocratic” and ignore our racist history and its ongoing legacy; this leads many to express surprise, shock, and denial, when faced by evidence of systemic racism.

  • Every day, in the workplace and in our personal lives, we need to respond to comments that generate further harm such as “all lives matter” “what about the looting”, or “surely he/she had done something wrong to lead to this violence”? 

  • We need to stop asking Black people to do the educating of others in our workplace and in our communities. This means not expecting Black employees to educate others in their “free time” and without pay. This means ongoing reading and educating oneself about history and systemic racism – in the U.S. and in other countries of relevance to our workplace – work that is up to each of us to do on an ongoing basis and is not a “quick fix” approach.

  • We need to emphasize the need for courage and speak up - compartmentalization on the part of managers in the guise of “professionalism” further justifies silence.

  • We need to pay attention to language and its role in perpetuating racism in our culture. For example, in the current media narrative about “riots” – here are pieces to begin with:

    • Histories of property destruction in many U.S.-based protests that textbooks etc. generally do not describe as "violent." The list in THIS Rolling Stone article illustrates the inconsistencies in how people in the U.S. determine which and what kinds of protests are "legitimate" and how such determinations are racialized and classed.

    • Analysis of violence against Black people that is often ignored as such because it either occurs through state-sanctioned channels or is carried out by white people. See Carol Anderson's book White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide.

    • The words of Martin Luther King Jr., whom people frequently celebrate for being peaceful, talking about riots as "the language of the unheard." View the video HERE.

    • View THIS article in Time for a discussion about use of the terms "riot," "uprising," "rebellion," and the politics of language.