White Coworkers – This is What I Want You To Say To Me After Tuesday’s Election

November 10, 2016 Opinion, Tech Diversity

I stayed up the night before in disbelief. Not sure how this country elected a man, who has made discriminatory remarks against women, blacks, and muslims, as their next leader. He has made discriminatory remarks against many other marginalized communities, but the intersection of the three communities aforementioned, is where I sit.

Yesterday, morning – I headed to work with only two hours of sleep. But before heading into the office – I dropped the below line in our team slack channel.

We are a small team of 8 developers, (2 women of color, 1 man of color, and 5 white men). If we’re using the average tech company’s diversity metrics as comparison — then, yeah, we’re pretty “diverse.”

I arrive at work a tad late for our morning standup.

Our program manager, white man, leads by saying, “Before starting, I want to give space for anyone who wants to talk about last night’s election results.”

The white men on the team lead with the below comments:

“I’m too angry to discuss what’s happening in this country.”

“I know folks who voted for Trump. Maybe I’ve been too much of a ‘nice liberal’ when talking to them. Maybe I’ve should’ve shown more anger, more pain. Cause now, I’m ready to fuck shit up”

“I don’t know how to say this…but how do we, as white people, come together to show more support for marginalized communities”

Exhale. It is so comforting to be part of a team with empathic values.

Maybe you don’t feel the same way as my team members. Maybe you voted for Trump. And maybe your reasons for voting for Trump are not the same as my reasons for not voting for Trump.

But we are here now. And while we are here now, what is needed most is empathy and compassion. We can start by opening spaces in the workplace, just to have the conversation.

Thank you for creating a space for all of us to belong.