A Missouri sociologist looks at why workplaces are still failing at racial equality
In her new book “Gray Areas: How the Way We Work Perpetuates Racism and What We Can Do to Fix It,” sociologist Adia Harvey Wingfield at Washington University in St. Louis lays out actionable items employers and colleagues can take to truly support Black employees.
In “Gray Areas: How the Way We Work Perpetuates Racism and What We Can Do to Fix It,” author Adia Harvey Wingfield takes a close look at why, despite a multibillion-dollar diversity industry, Black employees still struggle in their jobs.
Wingfield, who teaches sociology at Washington University in St. Louis, told KCUR it’s the social, relational and cultural parts of a job — what she’s termed “gray areas” — that have perpetuated racial inequity in the workplace.
“For Black employees, these issues of race and racial inequality aren't things that they can check at the door,” she said. “And I found that for many Black workers, when they tried to bring up these issues and talk about how they were present or how they even created different experiences for them, organizations and their colleagues often had a really hard time hearing, listening and responding.”
Wingfield's book offers up a checklist of actions that managers, HR specialists and colleagues can take immediately to address how gray areas may be impacting Black employees in their own workplace.