What the EURO 2020 Teaches Us About Racism at Work

The EURO 2020 has not even been over for 24 hours.  However, in no time did upset England fans start abusing three English football players on social media, blaming them for the team’s loss in the EURO finals.

Marcus Rashford (23), Jadon Sancho (21), and Bukayo Saka (19) have now become the targets of severe racial abuse directed towards their African heritage  and the color of their skin.

The EURO is broadcasted live to millions of people all across the world. It is the sporting event of the season and even though the German team did not make it into the final round, many German viewers did follow the game till yesterday.

It’s Monday today and people will go back to work, but you can almost be certain that word about what is currently happening to three young black men in the UK has reached across the pond all the way to Germany. The aftermath of the ensuing racially-motivated hate is affecting those who have themselves experienced racism before – independent of the country. It’s yet another sad reminder of the trauma that has been intensified over the past 1 ½ years.

Moreover, once again employees of several companies have been identified as they engaged racist attacks online.

So what does the EURO 2020 teach us about racism at work? Simple: it still exists and it’s not as rare of an occasions as many would like to believe.

Racism at work is a sensitive issue, but it is one that affects more people than what it may seem. Consequently, many chose not to confront themselves with it. Now that the issue is not directly affecting your own home country, it can be easy to dismiss the significance of what is currently happening.

However, realizing that racism exists, even within someone’s own personal or work context, is central in the process of change. So, this blogpost summarizes some of the readings which offer a glimpse into the world of someone experiencing racism and its effects in the professional context.

1. Racism in Corporate Germany by Alina Richter 

Quote: I felt anger, sadness and frustration. I felt the injustice of the murder of black lives. I felt incredibly helpless. I didn’t hear anyone speak up. I didn’t talk to my colleagues, they didn’t talk to me.

Link: https://www.shecareerblog.com/racism-in-corporate-germany/

2. Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Okay — Chances Are They’re Not by Danielle Cadet

Quote: There’s a tale of two quarantines. And every day, we have woken up and answered the emails and gotten on the Zoom calls. We’ve showed up with a smile, and put the pain and fear behind us.

Link: https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/05/9841376/black-trauma-george-floyd-dear-white-people

3. Black Lives Matter: The Emotional Toll of Speaking Up by Cynthia Keza Birikundavyi

Quote: I’m exhausted. Experiencing racism is a violent experience. These feelings of exhaustion and injustice can be soul shattering.

Link: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/opinion/2020/07/21/emotional-labour-black-lives-matter-humanitarian-NGOs

What you can do to support your colleagues who might be affected by the impact of the events in England:

  1. Acknowledge what is happening and that this can impact someone’s well-being privately and at work
  2. Direct: Simply ask them if they are ok
  3. Indirect: Show support on social media, you can be sure that it will be appreciated

Feel free to respectfully express your opinion on the recent events in the comments. If you have more recommendations on how to support members of the black community, we encourage you to leave them below!

See you soon,

Hannah

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