The Intersection of Racial Justice and L&D

June 10, 2020
6 Minutes
we invite black voices to share their experiences in the L&D field and the ways they are using and asking you to use resources to respond to racial injustice.

It’s been an honour to see how our Instructional Designers in Offices Drinking Coffee (#IDIODC) video- and podcast have grown into a community over the past two years.

Every week dozens of people join us for a discussion on important topics for our industry and for us as practitioners. And every week we try to focus on conversations that can help all of us be better in our work.

For last week’s episode (June 10, 2020) we did something different to focus on the critical importance of coming to grips with racism and how it manifests itself in the learning and development world. The horrific murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 once again showed that even if we don’t think we as individuals are racist, so much of our world is structured unfairly against black and indigenous people. As much as we believe that people in L&D are caring, our industry is a reflection of society as a whole.

So last week on the video-cast Jessica Jackson, Myra Roldan and Nyla Spooner led us through a discussion on The Intersection of Racial Justice and L&D.

Thank you Jessica, Myra and Nyla for trusting us and the IDIODC community enough to hold this conversation.

It was a powerful session. Here’s the recording.

A lot of additional work was happening in the session’s chat, where the community shared links to almost two dozen resources.

We’ve gathered up those resources below.


What’s Next?

This can’t be a one-off event. So what are we going to do to move forward?

From an IDIDOC perspective, we’re adding additional goals to our planning process for inviting and including guests. We already have a policy to ensure our guest list has a 50-50 gender balance. We’re adding to that policy to ensure higher representation of black, indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) guests.

To be clear, this isn’t just to speak about racism as a topic, it’s about any topic that is important for L&D. Spend some time looking at the speaker lists for just about any conference in our industry, you’ll see a low level of BIPOC representation. We can help change that by providing more opportunities for representation.

And we’d love to hear from BIPOC L&D practitioners who have expertise to share with the community. Maybe you’ve got some lessons learned from a recent project. Maybe you researched a critical topic for your graduate degree. Maybe you’ve been thinking of submitting a topic proposal to conferences. Let us know – we’d love to connect. You can email us at IDIODC at dominknow dot com.

From an individual perspective, the resources shared in the session’s chat form a pretty solid curriculum for personal learning as well as for beginning to change how we act in the world.

If you’ve read this far, please think about taking one more step and looking into some of these resources.

We are, after all, the learning and development industry, and we always have room to learn more and to develop new understandings and behaviors.


To help make things easier, we've organized these resources into categories.


Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Teaching / Learning Anti-Racism: A Developmental Approach by Louise Derman-Sparks, Carol Brunson Phillips, Asa G Hilliard III

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

Everyday Bias: Identifying and Navigating Unconscious Judgments in Our Daily Lives by Howard J. Ross

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo and Michael Eric Dyson

Me and White Supremacy by Layla F Saad

Lies My teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Scholarly Articles

Racial Microaffirmations: Learning from Student Stories of Moments that Matter by Rosalie Rolón-Dow

Multidimensional Models of Microaggressions and Microaffirmations by Rosalie Rolón-Dow and James M. Jones

News Articles and Blog Posts

The Racial Bias Built Into Photography by Sarah Lewis

Unconscious bias training a waste of time – 7 reasons why Starbucks training will not work by Donald Clark

Systemic racism in L&D by Sukh Pabial

Inclusive Stock Image Collections

Black Illustrations


Videos and Podcasts

How to be an Anitracist – Session by Aspen Ideas Festival with Ibram X. Kendi and Jemele Hill

The Confrontation – Podcast by Invisiblia

Interview with Toni Morrison on Black Readership

Additional Resources

A Guide to Allyship by Amélie Lamont

Scaffolded Anti-Racism Resources by Anna Stambroski, Nikki Zimmermann and Bailie Gregory

Anti-racism Resources Curated by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein

Tulsa Race Massacre