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Well, it’s finally over, the worst election in modern history. But is it really over? The day following the announcement, nearly all of my friends who work called or texted me to discuss the overwhelming feeling of disappointment and despair in their offices. Workers were upset, and not just blacks, as we can see by the protesting in Portland Oregon, Seattle Washington, Manhattan, and many other places, white people, brown people, all people are upset and distraught over the outcome of this election.
Many of you went to work the next day and really saw the true character of some of your co-workers and bosses. Gloating is an understatement. Some folks have taken this election to mean that racism is okay. Here’s an article about a school in my hometown of Memphis, TN where white kids asked minority classmates, “What kind of slave do you want to be? A house slave or field slave?” Wow! I wonder where teens get that from?
We have also seen a rise in racially motivated graffiti all over the country saying things like “Black Lives Don’t Matter and nor does your vote”.
We, in HR, can no longer act like the things that are happening in news aren’t infiltrating the workplace. I understand HR’s main stance on most issues is to be like Switzerland and stay out of it. Any HR person you know has seen the very best and worst of their employees and usually we focus on the good only. We can’t do that anymore; we must step up and investigate what’s happening in our offices and work environments because millions of people now feel a sense of vindication and entitlement because of the rhetoric of the President-Elect.
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If you support him or not, if your organization is Republican or Democratic is imperative that you stand up and demand that everyone maintains respect and decency with each other. For those who are hurt by this election’s result, you must get over it, move on and leave that stuff at home. Coming to work in a sour mood or deviant is not doing any good for any one – the die is cast; the game is over. You must move forward. For those who are happy with the results, don’t assume that every minority is upset, ready to fight or didn’t vote the same way you did. I went to the store and a lady was talking to me as if she knew which way I voted or if I voted at all. One my buddies, who is a Director, said one of his employees came to his office crying, she was an older white lady and apologized on behalf of white people for the outcome of the election. And he told her, “You have nothing to apologize for. We (all of us) have been through worse and we (all of us) will be okay.” That’s the spirit.
Not everyone who voted for Trump is racist. Not everyone who is a minority voted for Clinton. This country is big and complex and still deeply divided but we are also united as well. One community at a time, we can still work together and live together and get along. Now is the time for human resource managers, directors, leaders and co-workers to really show off their leadership skills and abilities. It’s time for us to move along – together.
So, I leave you with this, Dave Chappelle, the comedian, said it best on Saturday Night Live, I will give Trump a chance and we deserve a chance too.