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Confronting Whiteness in the Workplace

May 24 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am

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Working toward incorporating antiracist principles into organizational culture, policies, and practices requires reckoning with the mechanics of racism in all its forms.

Racism can only be confronted if leaders and decision-makers acknowledge their complicity with the manifestations of Whiteness: how it shows up in the way we interact with others and how it influences the decisions we make in our everyday work.

In recent years, tragic anti-Asian hate crimes have rattled AAPI communities. Even as AAPIs organize to raise awareness about these issues, what often remains unspoken is denial of racism and anti-Blackness among the AAPI community. Thus, the WTIA DEI COE Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month presentation will be delivered by Dr. Cheryl Matias, a professor at the University of Kentucky who identifies as Filipino-American. Her research focuses on race and ethnic studies in education with a theoretical focus on critical race theory, critical whiteness studies, critical pedagogy, and feminism of color.

Specifically, Dr. Matias uses a feminist of color approach to deconstruct the emotionality of whiteness in urban teacher education and how it impacts urban education. Beyond her focus on academia, her research has applications for how proximity to and complicity with Whiteness affects organizational cultures. She delivers national talks and workshops on whiteness, racial justice, and diversity.

In this talk, key takeaways will include:

  • Learn about one scholar’s journey to understanding impacts of Whiteness on systems and institutions
  • Hear a personal story of AAPI reckoning with racial identity
  • Discuss the impacts of racism on employee morale, productivity, engagement, and talent retention
  • Advice for White women leaders for how best they can advance the values of DEI in an organization
  • Advice for DEI and HR practitioners about what they can do to mitigate the effects of racism


May 24
10:00 am - 11:30 am
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