31st October 2022
Addressing unconscious bias to create a better world for everyone
As Black History Month 2022 draws to a close, Civica’s Adrian Goddard shares his perspectives and hopes with us:
“I’m Adrian Goddard, a Sales Director in Civica’s Workforce Management Division. My area is responsible for all things employees, including the employee lifecycle within organisations, payroll processing, recruitment, and human resource management. We provide applications and services that cater for these elements and more, both locally and internationally.
“Black History Month used to cause me to reflect on the pain of my recent ancestors including slavery and oppression from European colonisers, but my mind was never settled with this perspective. It’s vitally important to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of great black figures, such as Martin Luther King Jr., John Blanke, Harriet Tubman, Mary Seacole, Barack Obama, Frederick Douglass, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou and Madam C.J. Walker to name a few.
“In my generation, the person who’s inspired me the most is Barack Obama. As the first black president of one of the most powerful nations in the world, he led the Unites States of America for two terms through one of its most tumultuous seasons, a truly exceptional feat. He reminds me that anything is possible if you work hard, live by your convictions, and treat all people with respect and dignity.
“Nonetheless, as a black man, I also have to acknowledge that my history didn’t start 400-500 years ago, and that there were great kingdoms, achievements, inventors, and a richness of black history beyond common understanding that occurred prior to slavery! This has inspired me to research and dig through the shallow layers of general understanding to broaden my view of black history and to admire the beautiful and vast lands of Africa and beyond, so luxurious that they provoked foreign settlers to acquire that which didn’t belong to them and attempt, at all costs, to destroy any remanence of the rich history it held. Black History Month to me, now represents a sense of pride in who I am and who we are as people, with the hope that we’ll continue to see the rise and prosperity of black people in all areas of society around the world.
“It’s important to acknowledge that black people today are still negatively impacted by unconscious bias, shaped by centuries of propaganda and still unfortunately reinforced today, causing discrimination and stereotyping. Black people are still facing issues such as being paid less, receiving fewer opportunities, and receiving less recognition. I’ve experienced and seen black people being treated differently, whether subtly or openly; it can include simple things like being greeted with ‘yo’ or a fist bump, the assumption of being a basketball player, lover of chicken, or being uneducated. In reality, I’ve been faithfully married for 14 years with 3 kids, I’m well spoken with strong grades, I hate basketball but love piano. Discrimination can also come in the form of being described as “different, other, or less black”, comments we often see circulating in the media, most recently with Kwasi Kwarteng being described as “superficially black” because of people’s perceptions that he doesn’t fit the typical mould of a black man. Ultimately, as a Christian, my faith has helped me to not feel limited by recent history or current barriers and instead believe that anything is possible.
“I’m incredibly proud to be a Sales Director; I believe that Civica is working to bring change and invest in a more diverse workforce and I’m anticipating continued action to be taken to support this reality moving forward; black progression at all levels will only further enhance our organisation. In support of this year’s Black History Month theme ‘Time for change: action not words’, I’m excited to see how we’ll be supporting greater black representation, especially at senior level, in the UK and beyond.
Sales Director HRP,
For me, the past is in the past. We must acknowledge and learn from it, but to improve the future, we need action, not words. We must come together around a shared common goal to achieve a better world for everyone.