We have worked in Insurance and Banking for three decades. We have seen how our White colleagues behave when discussing internally, or when working directly with persons of color.
This video is difficult to present because we don’t dare presume that we know what life is like to be Black in America. We can only empathize and attempt to put ourselves in your shoes.
We share some advice on how you should expect a financial services professional to behave if they are treating you with the equal respect they provide to their white clients. We created this advice based on how we have behaved with clients, knowing that we have standards that are severely Anti-Racist, and how we have observed other professionals with less savory standards behave.
- Language. An Anti-Racist uses language that is respectful at all times, not only the words used, but the tone of voice used.
- Education. The quality professional, treating all customers equally, seeks to educate clients. They bring to the presentation deep reserves of patience and empathy. They never behave in a way that disrespects the client’s lack of knowledge about the service or product.
- On-Time. Your Professional should be on time and prepared for the meeting/call. This demonstrates their ability to take you seriously.
- Respect. The Anti-Racist professional never speaks down to a client. The Anti-Racist professional asks questions with a patient demeanor or explains things in plain English with a respectful tone. For example, “I’m asking for your Identification because I’m required to do so for every client when we will run their credit report.” That’s respectful and seeks to demonstrate a patient educational tone. The opposite is, “I need to see your ID.”
- Polite. Language and words truly demonstrate how a person thinks. When a person is polite to a customer, they use the appropriate words such as “Please” “Excuse me” and “Thank You.”
We recommend that you, as a Black American, or a person of ethnicity or different gender, absorb these key points of behavior and, most importantly, act on the points with the best action you as a consumer of financial service products can take: Walk away.
Too often, we’ve seen an African American customer being treated badly by a white professional but that customer stays in the meeting. Walk away.
The best way to demonstrate your requirement that you be treated equally is to walk away from, or hang up the phone on, any financial services professional who you feel is not sufficiently Anti-Racist. There are plenty of us out here in the world who know how to treat our fellow human being equally and with respect.
Walk away from the racists and find those of us who are Anti-Racist.
We’re here and we’re waiting for you.