How To Be An Antiracist Designer
As Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, notes in his book How to Be an Antiracist, “it’s not enough to simply be “not racist.” “The opposite of ‘racist’ isn’t ‘not racist,’” he writes. “It is ‘antiracist.’
As a collective, if we can come together to share our experiences, inform others, and ultimately co-create a set of guidelines on how to be more inclusive starting within the innovation process itself, we can create new products, experiences, and services that are antiracist, antisexist, and antiageist.
These reasons are why humble, in partnership with Personify, convened designers and entrepreneurs for a virtual event on August 20th to discuss “How To Be Antiracist In Your Design Process.” The event, which over 219 people RSVP’d, kicked off with a roundtable discussion led by hosts, Personify founder, Om Suthar, and myself. The panel proceeded to introduce themselves before Om guided the discussion around questions such as:
1. How do we become antiracist in your design process?
2. How do you identify racism in the design process?
The discussion was so riveting that it went over in time, blending into the networking portion of the event.
“I’m always iterating and redesigning our processes and you’ve inspired me to really think about being more intentional about anti-racism throughout the process. THANK YOU!” — Attendee
Below are video highlights from the 1-hour panel followed by more information about the panelists, top takeaways, and resources shared by panelists and attendees in the chat:
- Host / Moderator — Om Suthar, Entrepreneur + Designer, Personify
- Mona Patel, Designer + Entrepreneur, Motivate Design
- Harry Alford, Investor, humble ventures
- Jeremy Panwala, Product Leader, Microsoft
- Erica Peterson, Founder, Digital Project Masters
- Hameto Benkreira, Product Leader, Capital One Labs
- Jeremy Evans-Smith, Entrepreneur + Community Builder, Ascending
- Juan Arreguin, Designer, Healthy Together
humble’s Top Takeaways
- Rally your colleagues to make changes in the design process.
- Create an antiracist checkpoint just as you would for accessibility.
- Delineate between personas and archetypes. We use personas for marketing/messaging and use archetypes for informing UX/UI. Archetypes are 100% based on jobs to be done & pain points.
- The most successful designers listen.
- Find the discrepancies between revenue streams or business goals and customer goals.
- The most difficult conversations are the 1:1 convos with clients or as a contractor coming into an already small team.
- Being antiracist is a muscle we all need to build.
- At a larger company, you can start with an intentional antiracist design but by the time it comes to production or in the hands of the user it has changed.
- It’s very valuable to create authentic values for a startup that's anchored in your understanding of the customers.
- Make room/giving up your seat at the table for someone who is a better fit.
- Now is the best time to build a cross-section of audience research.
- Go play at the playground to find your people to collaborate.
Antiracism Design Resources And More
Introduction to Human-Centered Design
Master human-centered design with IDEO.org to solve real world challenges
Template: Brand Positioning Framework
This framework is established by Marty Neumeier, a renowned author in the Brand / Marketing space.
About humble ventures
Humble Ventures is a venture development firm that drives innovation forward in partnership with startups, established enterprises, and investors.
We focus on diverse entrepreneurs that are solving problems for the fastest growing demographic segments. We believe that diverse entrepreneurs provide opportunities for disproportionate returns and represent the markets of the future.
If you’re an enterprise in search of new business or delivery models, please reach out. If you’re a diverse founder with product/market fit, looking to scale — we would love to hear from you. If you’re trying to figure out your post-pandemic playbook, how to operate remote first, or how to address implicit bias and systemic racism, drop us a line — firstname.lastname@example.org.