The name, the hair, the skin—you wish you couldn’t see them. But you do. What is wrong with me? A lawless bandit in the HR department, you see race.

We are all the same on the inside, you tell yourself. I’ll just pretend I don’t know their race and be neutral. I’ll use an algorithm.

And yet—the name, the hair, the skin—they swirl around as excuses and reasons, and you make your decision. Sometimes in favor, with a feeling of solidarity. Sometimes in favor, with a feeling of guilt. Sometimes against, because they just won’t fit in. Sometimes numb to the whole situation.

But the allegations swirl even when the percentages are right: “The war on whites!” “Diversity hire!” “Good ol’ boy club!” And it hurts. The river of bloody half truths runs deep through these lands.

And the algorithm? It doesn’t do much better, screening out those who don’t know how to game the system.

And you care.

Yet something is very right with you. You see race because you have your own skin. You see differences because you yourself are unique and beautiful. Without differences, the world would be a big blur, even more monotonous than this life pushing paper.

Work is not about cutting off half of yourself. You will always be whole.

What if you allowed yourself to be whole? To feel what you feel when you see that name, the hair, the skin—the differences. To push away for a moment that which feels alien, to pull closer that which is familiar.

You take a breath.
For just a moment, you favor whom you favor.
You feel unsafe when you feel unsafe.
You push away what feels like sandpaper against your wounds.
You see the name, the hair, the race.

You feel what you feel without trying to squash it…

And you take another breath, full of conscious racism,
Immersed in the push and the pull, emotions racing.

And the outbreath comes. And another. And another. And the intensity slowly recedes whence it came, back into the splashing waters of the mind. A couple gurgles and it is gone.

Gone, Gone. The fresh waters continue rushing forth,
And for a moment, you See.

You look at the person in front of you… you see the name, the hair, the skin… and the smile. And something feels different as you go about your day.

Disclaimer: Please use this post as fodder for philosophical inquiry and meditative awareness and not as advice on how to manage your hiring process.

What do you think about this post and the concept of conscious racism? Let us know in the comments below. We are available for public speaking or workshops on integrating differences in communities – contact us at Ready@NavigateChange for more information. We have also created a related YouTube video for this post. Check it out here: