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How to avoid burning out your black employees right now

June 10, 2020, 12:32 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Rep. Barbara Lee calls for a commission on racial healing, Kathy Sullivan sets a record in space and at the bottom of the sea, and we learn about how not to burn out black employees and colleagues. Have a healthy Wednesday. 

– Black employee burnout. As we well know now, the George Floyd protests have prompted new conversations in American workplaces about race and racism, unearthing or simply reemphasizing employer shortcomings and prompting promises of change. Underrepresentation must be righted. Pay gaps must be closed. Blind spots must see the sun. These corporate epiphanies are commendable, however self-righteous and overdue.

What they are not is the sole responsibility of black employees. So writes Najoh Tita-Reid, senior executive of marketing reinvention at Logitech, for Fortune.

“Don’t get me wrong,” she writes. “Black Americans are glad that finally after 400 years, there is mass outrage at racial injustice. Many of us have been fighting for change our entire lives, and were taught by our parents that it was our job to uplift our race. And we are glad that nonblack people want to be part of the solution.”

But even in this moment intended to rightly recognize black employees there’s a risk of further weighing them down.

The burden of “dismantling systemic racism must not be placed solely on black employees by asking them to fully lead diversity and antiracism efforts,” she writes. “Black people did not create these problems, so please do not expect us to resolve them alone. After all, we are exhausted.”

Burning out black employees is a real risk right now. “[W]e are leading race relations task forces, peacefully protesting, and working to protect our families that are disproportionately dying from COVID-19 and police brutality,” she writes. And that’s on top of “[having] our jobs to do.”

In her piece for Fortune, Tita-Reid offers tips on avoiding “black burnout while proactively improving your company’s approach to race.” Tip No. 1? “Do not inundate your black colleagues with requests to help you understand and solve racial injustice as if it is their duty.”

You can read more of her thoughtful guidance here.

Claire Zillman

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- Congressional healing. Rep. Barbara Lee introduced legislation calling for the first United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation. Inspired by a similar government effort in South Africa, the commission would examine slavery, racism, and discrimination throughout history—and their effects on current policy. Zora 

- Highs and lows. In 1984, Kathy Sullivan became the first American woman to walk in space. Now. she's the first woman to descend to the deepest known point of the ocean—and the first person to do both. The astronaut/oceanographer emerged Sunday from a 35,810-foot dive to the Challenger Deep. New York Times

-Mixed-up ministry. Macarena Santelices was named Chile's women and gender minister last month. But her appointment prompted widespread outrage because she is a great-niece of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet—and has said that the regime, under which female political prisoners were subject to sexual violence, had a "good side." Santelices, who in the past month oversaw several more controversial decisions (including appointing a former swimsuit competition judge to a position at the women's ministry!), resigned yesterday. Her replacement is Mónica Zalaquett, a politician known for her strong opposition to abortion. Guardian

- LEAP forward. Director Ava DuVernay created the new Law Enforcement Accountability Project, an initiative that will fund 25 artistic works telling stories about police officers who have killed black people. "The cop isn’t hidden behind a body cam or distorted by grainy surveillance video," DuVernay says of the video of officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into George Floyd's neck. "That led me to think, ‘how many of these police officers do we never see?’ ... Somehow, we, as American citizens, have agreed to not speak their names. I do not agree to that anymore." Washington Post

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Harper's Bazaar named former Vanity Fair executive fashion director Samira Nasr editor-in-chief. Salesforce SVP of strategy and government relations Niki Christoff joins the board of MedMen. Horizon Group USA hired Mattel chief franchise management officer Janet Hsu as CEO. FuboTV hired Diana Horowitz, formerly of Telestream, as SVP, advertising sales. Rania Belkahia joins EQT Ventures as a deal partner. 


- Police stories. In an emotional interview, actor Niecy Nash talks about her son, who just last week was stopped by police officers who asked questions like, "how did you afford this car?" Nash plays a cop on the comedy Reno 911, and the cast donated $10,000 to George Floyd's funeral costs. The Hollywood Reporter

- Olympic challenge. The governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, said she doubts whether the Olympic Games now scheduled for 2021 will be able to take place without an international deal on rules around travel and quarantine. She doesn't see the Olympics happening unless athletes and fans are allowed to visit freely. Financial Times

- Problems next door. Nextdoor, the neighborhood social network led by CEO Sarah Friar, has long had issues with racism on its platform. Nationwide protests are again bringing those problems to the fore. The Verge

- Powerful statements. Variety released its annual Power of Women issue yesterday, featuring Janelle Monáe, Cate Blanchett, Patti LuPone, and more women outside of entertainment. Monáe discusses the interracial queer relationship at the center of her series Homecoming, while Blanchett talks about the cause of protecting refugees from the coronavirus. Variety


Quiz: Who do you think Joe Biden should choose for VP? Washington Post

The black women who paved the way for this moment The Atlantic

Daniel Radcliffe speaks out in support of trans women following J.K. Rowling’s tweets Fortune

Bonnie Pointer, founding member of the Pointer Sisters, dead at 69 NPR


"I did a little dance." 

-New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on learning the country had no active coronavirus cases