A Target Corporation diversity executive demanded “White women” get to work to combat the supposed systemic racism in America, while adding the retail giant was making some internal decisions based on predictions of shifting demographics.
“One of the hardest things in the world to be every day is Black,” Keira Fernandez, a Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Target, said in early 2023.
Target has ramped up its DEI efforts, in particular after the death of George Floyd. Target established the Racial Equity Action and Change – which is lead by Fernandez – to rapidly “accelerate” those efforts. The task force focuses on engaging Black customers in stores and ramping up promotions and hiring of Black employees. The retail giant also promised to drastically increase its demographics of Black employees – which was at 50%.
“[W]e’re on track to spend more than $2 billion with Black-owned brands by 2025. We’ve already increased our investments with Black-owned companies and suppliers — including marketing agencies, construction companies, facilities maintenance and more – by 50% since 2020,” Fernandez said.
“And in that shift, it’s important for us to… think about how do we start planting seeds today that prepare for those future… demographic shifts,” she said.
She proceeded to say that it was the role of “White women” to call out “transgressions.”
“I think the number one thing that I would encourage White women to do is take the [DEI] learnings… and use your voice… so the woman of color in the room doesn’t always have to.”
She then singled out a White person present in the panel discussion and said that her voice, on the basis of her race, would be given more weight in the workplace.
“Because whether it’s right or not… there are places that you and I will go where your voice will be heard differently than mine. And that is why we’re doing this work. That’s why it’s so important to have this conversation. But we also can’t ignore the systemic history that got us here and then the things that we have to do differently to remove those barriers,” she said.
Target Corporation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“[Target’s] tolerance for intolerance will definitely be a significant challenge to any company that’s thinking about how they build a culture. It was talking about culture like that’s so deeply woven in your strategy. It has to be,” she said. “So it is daunting. It’s not for the faint-hearted. It is it. But it gets easier every day.”
“Given the calls for racial equity over the past year, we know that many companies are standing up or deepening their investments in their diversity and inclusion work… DE&I is not meant to rest on one individual’s shoulders,” she added. “This work requires shared accountability and responsibility, which is why it’s so critical to create an infrastructure — a system with tools that allow you to integrate DE&I into your ecosystem in a way that truly drives your business.”
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