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I had the opportunity to have honest and safe conversations with my colleges about hiring African Americans. Using polite language, some expressed that they questioned the capacity of black people to do good work. I heard: “we need to close the skills gap so that we can find more qualified candidates of color.” “They’re just not a good fit for our team because they need too much extra support.” And, “our work is too important to lower our standards.” During these conversations, I asked where their views came from when their experience with black colleagues, including myself, are positive. While we were able to discuss this and grow in our understanding of how we often have negative and incorrect ideas about the skills of African Americans, and how this causes users to have a bias against black candidates, most organizations are not so lucky. This is why, we, the undersigned, ask that all business and nonprofit leaders mandate antibias training within their organizations.
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