Performative allyship refers to activism done to increase one’s social capital rather than one’s dedication to a cause. We see this a lot during major events like Blackout Tuesday and Black History Month. Companies show representation in their promotions and make statements saying they support the cause—but these are often just empty words void of action.
Anti-racism and equity work is not a quick fix. These deep rooted systemic issues go back 400 years, so it’s not enough to simply put out a statement and expect significant change to start happening. It’s an ongoing process that requires continuous dedication and effort.
Colleen James is a Principal consultant at Divonify, where she provides equity diversity and inclusion (EDI) training to organizations, companies and individuals. She is also a professor in the School of Business at Conestoga College. Colleen’s primary area of training focuses on using real-life situations to diffuse uncomfortable conversations surrounding racism, ethnicity and gender.
In this podcast, she offers insights into how organizations can actively engage in anti-racism and equity work 365:
Is your organization ready to do the work required to ensure you are participating meaningfully rather than performatively?