#83: A Conversation about Practicing Anti-Racism in Freelancing, with Eva Jannotta

Today’s guest is Eva Jannotta. Eva lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and helps bold women leaders defy the status quo, amplify their influence and expand their wealth and power. She does this through providing thought leadership strategy and advisory services as well as communications support. Her Big Hairy Audacious Goal is to end gender and racial discrimination.

Many white people in the U.S. grew up believing racism was overt, discriminatory behavior. In reality, it’s a power structure that was created that we all participate in, without our consent.

In her business, Eva is committed to representing diverse voices in the content and sources she curates and shares with her clients, as well as representing diversity in the images they use. She knows some white people are uncomfortable with the idea of “counting” the number of images or people, as if we’re filling a “quota.” However, “intention does not equal impact.” You need to track and measure how you’re doing compared to your intention. That’s how you measure progress and whether you’re adhering to your values.

For example, you can set a goal such as making sure that 50% of the content you share or curate (for you or your client) is created by people of color. Then, in a spreadsheet, you can add a column to track the race of the author (or interview source, etc.).

Earlier this year, Melanie did an audit of her Deliberate Freelancer podcast guests, and found only 20% diversity (as identified by race and LGBTQ) over about a year. She recommitted to increase the diversity of her guests and began to research and ask on social media for recommendations of diverse voices. Melanie wants experts who are people of color; she isn’t asking people of color to talk only about diversity and inclusion. She is focusing on the expertise they have as it relates to a freelance business.

Melanie is also on the board of Association Media & Publishing, and for the last several years she and others have used their power to push for diversity in content and among speakers. White people need to speak up about diversity, so it’s not left to people of color to bring up the topics of representation or diversity and inclusion every time.

Melanie also talks about how freelancers can share their products with underrepresented groups for free or at a discount. So, for example, give out scholarships to your freelance business course or give away copies of your book or e-book.

Mistakes white people make as they talk and learn about racism include defensiveness (“I didn’t mean that …”) and gaslighting (“I don’t think that’s what the person was really saying …”).

“Perfectionism is the ally’s enemy,” Eva says. We are going to have to make mistakes in order to learn and grow. Perfectionism can hold us back from taking action, from having conversations that may make us feel awkward, from asking questions.

Melanie talks about how she does not like what she perceives as “conflict,” and she’s very sensitive to having uncomfortable conversations. But when it comes to anti-racism work, she knows she has to have and push through uncomfortable conversations.

Our social circles tend to look a lot like us. In a freelance business, that might mean you hire subcontractors or a virtual assistant who are the same race and gender you are, instead of, as white people, looking for more diverse candidates. Eva recognized this problem when hiring for her business — asking for referrals from her network provided candidates with identities similar to Eva’s. Instead, she posted the position on social media and went through an application process. She developed internal criteria and interviewed people.

It does take some extra time to go outside your social circle or your professional network to look for diverse candidates or sources, but it’s important to avoid perpetuating a type of nepotism and only selecting people with identities that are similar to our own.

White freelancers also have a power in referrals. If we expand our network and our pool of various types of freelancers, when our clients or potential clients ask for recommendations for graphic designers, editors, photographers, marketers, writers, translators, etc., we are more able to share names of people from underrepresented groups.

Biz Bite: Create email templates

Resources:

Eva Jannotta on LinkedIn

Eva’s free course: The 5 Pillars of Magnetic Thought Leadership

James Pogue, of JP Enterprises: “The ‘Right’ Kind of Uncomfortable

Organizer and Activist Leslie Mac

Follow Leslie Mac on Twitter

Episode #61 of Deliberate Freelancer: 6 Ways to Be an Ally with Your Freelance Business

How the concept of “race” began with enslaved Africans in the American colonies

103 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice

These 7 courses will teach you how to be anti-racist

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