The 2019 design census states that 3% of the design industry are African American/Black designers while 71% are White/Caucasian. Anthropologists Audrey and Brian Smedley wrote “Race in the American mind was and is a statement about profound and unbridgeable differences…It conveys the meaning of social distance that cannot be transcended.” Racism is divisive and destructive. DesignOps practitioners often find themselves facilitating difficult conversations, pointing out disparities, and creating safe environments for teams to do their best work. So, how do we as practitioners remain resilient when faced with the complexities of racism within our organizations? The goal of this talk is to provide a protocol in which design leaders can engage uncomfortable conversations to help teams become more inclusive. We will explore an often overlooked yet valuable source to ensure the future effectiveness of our design practice, black youth.
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