By Nadeya Hussain –
With movements and awareness being made worldwide now more than ever within society, the question that is being raised is are businesses doing enough to tackle racial inequality from within?
When inspecting business and platforms, many have pledged to tackle inequality. However, not all have been able to produce results from their promises.
Large corporate companies that you recognise and may actively use, such as Amazon and Google, have been identified in the past for creating what is referred to as ‘economical discrimination’.
One example of this is through the use of algorithmic data, which then fosters discrimination through gender and race. Many large companies have had issues with their products and services being biased through algorithms mainly due to the way they were created.
Google has previously been flagged up as presenting racist and sexist search results.
When researcher Safiya Noble conducted in-depth research in 2018, she noticed the representations of women in the search engine underscored women statuses.
When she searched ‘black girls’, her search results were filled with derogatory results. However, when searching ‘white girls’, the results produced were the opposite.
This is just one example. There have been software’s produced, such as facial recognition, which have had a long chaotic history of reproducing racial inequality.
These issues, if left unaddressed, could have lasting effects on the ongoing fight against racism and discrimination.
In the Workplace
According to The BBC: “boardrooms remain overwhelmingly white and black workers dominate low-wage, entry-level jobs.”
This is another issue with the job roles within the offices. Many ethnic groups are fighting their way up in job roles, trying to prove their worth, where other groups may receive it easier.
As well as this, there are also difficulties for those from a working-class background to get a well-paid job.
Many recent studies show that hiring managers find job applicants with a higher social class as more competent. This may be indirectly done, e.g., through assessing your speech.
The Daily Mail stated: “Job candidates are judged on their social status just a few seconds after they start to speak.”
They also claimed that although companies may deny this social class discrimination, in reality, “the socio-economic position of an applicant or their parents is being assessed within the first seconds they speak.”
Local Public Authorities
When exploring racial inequality within businesses, it is important to evaluate local businesses, such as the local authorities and the political leaders in areas such as Leeds, Wakefield, Kirklees, Calderdale, and Bradford, to see the progress of representation.
Let’s look into the political leaders for each area:
- Wakefield: Councillor Denise Jeffery (Labour leader).
- Kirklees: Councillor chief Shabir Pandor (Labour leader)
- Calderdale: Tim Swift (Labour Leader)
- Leeds: Cllr James Lewis, (Labour Leader)
As for West Yorkshire’s metro mayor candidates, here were the seven candidates for 2021.
- Tracy Brabin – Labour
- Matt Robinson – Conservative
- Bob Buxton – Yorkshire Party
- Stewart Golton – Liberal Democrats
- Andrew Cooper – Green
- Wajid Ali – Reform UK
What is interesting to see here is there is a lack of diversity. Although there is some gender diversity with the West Yorkshire mayor candidates and the political leaders, there is a common pattern of lack of minority candidates and leaders.
There is a lack of ethnic and racial representation. There is one mayor candidate and one political leader from an Asian background; however, where is the inclusion of other ethnic groups?
To allow voices to be heard and opinions to be expressed, we need various people to push these changes.
On the other hand, despite the discrimination and lack of representation produced through examples explored, there are many positive examples of how businesses are actively tackling racial inequality and trying to create parity.
Companies were quick to speak out from the #BlackLivesMatter movement last year as they released promises to fight racism to avoid the consequences George Floyd had to face. The murder of George jolted these companies to create action.
Some examples include:
- Sony Music Group (SMG): created a $100m Global Social Justice Fund to fight racial injustice.
- PepsiCo: The CEO Ramon Laguarta stated, “we know that the first step toward change is to speak up, so I want to be very clear: Black Lives Matter, to our company and to me.” He then announced a large commitment of $400 million over five years to “to lift up Black communities and increase Black representation at PepsiCo.”
- PAYPAL: They provided $10 million in emergency grants to Black-owned businesses impacted by COVID-19 or the racial justice crisis in the United States.
These are few examples of companies that have spoken up to create change and eliminate racial inequality.
After over 55 years after the first race relations legislation came into force in the UK, it is time to see the difference.
Organisations should step up, just like these few mentioned. Large companies and smaller businesses should create a space within the workplace, within wider society, within the community to build a diverse community that is supportive, respectful with no prejudice.