Dear America: Meet My White Boss That Talks About Race

Mandela SH Dixon
Jul 19, 2016 · 13 min read
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Dr. Freada Kapor Klein (right) alongside Patrick Armstrong (left), an IDEAL Scholar, at his NYU Law School graduation. The IDEAL (Initiative for Diversity in Education and Leadership) Scholars Program was a privately-run scholarship and leadership program for Bay Area African American and LatinX undergraduates at UC Berkeley. IDEAL was founded by Dr. Kapor Klein and Mitch Kapor in 2001 and operated until 2011.

Did you know it would travel as far as it did?

Who’s your boss?

Who is this White woman talking about race relations in a work setting?

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Dr. Freada Kapor Klein (middle) alongside Former Vice President, Al Gore (left), and Former NAACP President and current Kapor Capital Partner, Ben Jealous (right), at the LPFI Fairness Matters Forum at Twitter. Image source.

Dr. Freada Kapor Klein

Where were you born?

Who were your parents?

Where were you raised?

What was the environment like at the time?

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Dr. Freada Kapor Klein marching with the Combahee River Collective in March 1979. Dr. Kapor Klein co-authored a piece with the Collective and her White women’s anti-racism study group. Four co-authors (2 White and 2 Black) wrote Face to Face, Day to Day Racism CR (consciousness-raising), a set of guidelines for women’s groups.
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Dr. Freada Kapor Klein alongside Anita Hill (center) and Freida Mock (right) at the “Anita: Speaking Truth to Power” film screening. Image source

Last week, what prompted you to say something to me about the recent police shootings of Black men?

What about your life up this point made you feel comfortable as a White woman saying something about this to me, a Black colleague?

Why did you feel inclined to say something to the Silicon Valley founders and investors that came to our office later that evening for an event?

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USA Today highlights Dr. Freada Kapor Klein as one of 13 leaders aiming to increase Blacks in tech. Image source.

What did you end up saying to them?

As a White woman, have you ever been afraid (or unsure of how) to say something about race?

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Dr. Freada Kapor Klein alongside husband and co-founder Mitch Kapor (left) and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (right), as the Kapor Center for Social Impact receives the 2015 Legacy Award. Image source.
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Dr. Freada Kapor Klein speaking at the Kapor Capital investor meeting about POT companies in September 2015. This slide highlights a small portion of the tech companies Dr. Kapor Klein has educated about hidden bias. Image source

Can you understand how other Whites can be afraid or unsure of how to to say something?

How can other Whites learn to get more comfortable speaking up and taking action against police brutality against Blacks, or more broadly racial justice in America?

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Dr. Freada Kapor Klein and Director Spike Lee at an event for President John Wilson of Morehouse College. Image source.
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What do you respond to those who say the workplace is not an appropriate place to have these types of conversations?

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Dr. Freada Kapor Klein alongside (left to right) Y-Vonne Hutchinson, Ellen Pao, Erica Baker, Laura I. Gomez, bethanye Blount, and Tracy Chou. This group of women makeup 7/8 of the founding team of Project Include, an extensive guidebook to building diverse teams and inclusive workplaces in tech companies. Susan Wu is not pictured.

What role (if any) does tech play in eradicating racial injustice in America?

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What role does empathy play in eradicating racial injustice in America?

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Full interview here

How do we begin building more empathy?

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Dr. Freada Kapor Klein and Mitch Kapor receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at GSV in April 2016. Full video here

Anything else you want to share?

What did you do today with your time, talent, and treasure to fight racism and injustice?


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