Race Reflections AT WORK

04-03-2024 • 20 mins

In today's episode Guilaine reflects on the phenomenon and social dynamic of what has been called whitelash, a combination of white/whiteness and backlash.

The term was coined by African-American journalist Van Jones to describe the backlash of White America coming together to reject what had been seen as a liberalisation of the USA under Obama. And in a more general sense it describes the sense of grievance, the sense of anger, the sense of frustration that originates from people racialised as White that comes from an often misconstrued and misconceived sense of displacement and social change which is a reaction to a perception that social advancements are being made in terms of equality. This is a concept and area that is expanded on in Guilaine’s second book White Minds.

After defining and exploring the concept she then considers it within the terms of group analytic thinking, theory and practice, and looks the relationship between the socio-political and the ways that institutions, organisations and individuals relate and interact, focusing on the workplace.

She considers the whitelash that we are currently experiencing almost 4 years after the murder of George Floyd galvanised institutions to make commitments and how those words and sometimes actions are now being pushed back against very strongly. And how this whitelash is also being felt across many intersections and identities.

She then shares some observations from her experience of delivering work related DEI training and looks at the affect of whitelash on Race Reflections as both an organisation and as a business.

White Minds is available to buy here: https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/white-minds

Van Jones on whitelash: https://www.vox.com/identities/2016/11/9/13572182/van-jones-cnn-trump-election-2016

Subscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts.

To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.co.uk