LOS ANGELES, Aug. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- HireHer® founder and CEO Ruth Chandler Cook, a tech company entrepreneur whose focus is on helping organizations recruit and retain the traditionally underrepresented in innovative industries, says she finds herself exhausted by the constant chatter about racism, sexism, misogyny and other forms of bigotry as if they were new phenomena.
"The violent images I see on TV of blood-laced faces, blood-soaked sidewalks, and crying children ripped from their parents' arms for one reason or another invades my daydreams and somehow the most haunting nightmares have become less petrifying," Cook says. Yet many must manage to stay productive and accomplish tasks despite the visuals of public discord in order to meet personal, career or business goals.
"Suddenly, some appear more alert and aware of every interaction. It's difficult to ignore so many people on edge as if something is haunting them as well. The pervasive bias that seems to invade workplaces and many situations seems to be causing thoughtful people to appear rude and unkind. Meanwhile, each instance of bias, be it conscious, unconscious or implicit, hits home for some with an unusually harsh bite."
Cook says the perceived severity of Donald Trump's policies or the inadequate rebuke of extreme racial bias is not sufficient to determine any individual's level of humanity. In other words, she says it takes the form of a distraction that may delay one's own self-evaluation, change or growth.
She says she's noticed that the constant regurgitation of extreme viewpoints has impacted how people treat one another in and out of the workplace. "Remember how some things were never appropriate water cooler banter? Can you imagine how sex, hate and politics are being discussed these days in the workplace and how it makes women or people of color feel? Some of us have been living with not so hidden racism, sexism and misogyny for years. I don't recall any point in the past where being a black woman was without complexity in or out of the workplace."
However, today, many are overcoming more sophisticated challenges than some have experienced in the past, such as the not-so-secret expectation held by some in power that women or people of color ought not to expect much in the way of advancement, recognition or praise. Not to mention that some among the groups of underrepresented leaders who manage to gain a seat at the table may be regarded as the harshest critic or "gatekeeper" of anyone else who may attempt to take a seat. Similarly, Cook says, the person of color, race or gender who is willing to laugh at jokes about themselves, or ignore the unfair treatment of others, may be among the chosen few who make it to the top.
Cook advises that it is important for all men and women to turn inward and look at themselves. They must decide to be intentional about creating opportunities for advancement despite race, religion, gender or sexual preference. They need to be intentionally kind and thoughtful about the daydreams and nightmares of the people around them. They need to honestly consider and unlearn bigoted behaviors. She also says that even women and people of color must be more supportive of the advancement of one another. "Let us all intentionally treat one another as equal humans. It's time for the traditionally underrepresented to have easier entrance into jobs in innovative industries and to advance beyond mid-career level faster."
Join HireHer® in ongoing discussions about the "Value of Diversity" at the HireHer Soiree in Los Angeles on August 13 from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Register here. Cook says come learn how HireHer®, which offers Diversity as a Service®, will help individuals or organizations eliminate the barriers to employment for diverse candidates.
Ruth Chandler Cook
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