Racial Caucuses and Affinity Groups

March 4, 2022 Run Time: 56 min

Racial Caucuses and Affinity Groups: Creating Space Where Minoritized Individuals and White Co-Workers Can Work Intentionally to Cultivate Psychological Safety at Work, with Dr. Athena Y. Baca-Chieza 

Too often, people do not speak up at work because it does not feel safe. They might feel ashamed of asking a question or fear the consequences of pointing out a potential issue. The term psychological safety, coined by Harvard Business Professor Amy Edmonson, refers to teams that can put themselves out there, ask questions, make mistakes, learn from them and know that’s okay. In creating psychological safety at work, people of color (PoC) also need their own spaces, free from marginalization, mainstream stereotypes, and pressures to “perform” and “code-switch” in settings where often White, Western-dominance is inevitable. In answer to this need for “safe spaces,” some organizations are responding by providing Racial Caucuses and Affinity Groups. Caucuses provide spaces for people to work within their own racial/ethnic groups. For white people, a caucus provides time and space to work explicitly and intentionally on understanding white culture and white privilege and to increase one’s critical analysis around these concepts. This presentation will explore psychological safety at work, the risk for burnout when safety is not established, how people of color are at greater risk for professional burnout when they do not feel safe, and how efforts such as ‘racial caucuses’ might contribute towards culturally responsive psychological safety for all employees.

Please note: Due to copyright issues, 2 video clips were removed from the recorded version of this session.

View the YouTube video of Ted Lasso 

Please note: This an unedited version and contains strong language.

View the YouTube video from The Daily Show