UTA’s Multicultural Affairs office and Women’s and Gender Studies program hosted a Zoom workshop with Marcus Stanley, change agent and public health practitioner, to discuss racism, anti-Blackness, systems of oppression and disease disparity.
The objectives of the workshop were to identify elements of white supremacy in work culture and how anti-Blackness manifests within organizations and to provide recommendations for dismantling white supremacy work culture.
Stanley, who is president, founder and CEO of Black Power, Liberation and Healing Now Inc., runs a nonprofit dedicated to creating Black healing and liberation within the workforce. He also serves as a project officer for the SUSTAIN Wellbeing COMPASS Coordinating Center at the University of Houston.
White supremacy is the political or socioeconomic system in which white people enjoy a structural advantage, or privilege, over other ethnic groups on both a collective and individual level, according to the presentation.
Stanley said it is important to identify anti-Blackness because organizations want diversity. Organizations tend to bring in people of color without changing the culture or building skills and policies needed to gain and keep members.
“You can’t have my rhythm without addressing my blues,” he said.
There are multiple dismantling strategies for social constructs, Stanley said. Developing a culture of appreciation can fix issues surrounding perfectionism. Discussing and making realistic work plans can dismantle a sense of urgency.
Sharing value statements expressing different ways to do work can dismantle quantity over quality and sharing decision making processes can dismantle paternalism, he said.
In addition to racism in the workplace, there is racism in public health, Stanley said.
“So the main public health issue, I would say, would be racism,” he said.
Stanley said being transparent and upfront about the issue is the best method to dismantle bias and racism. He also advises to welcome feedback and stand firm through adversity.
“We all have the power here, but the question is, how will you use yours,” Stanley said.