Race at work: ‘Colour blindness’ is just blindness

Neutrality on race allows implicit bias to run rampant.

by René Carayol

Sitting in the reception, I was due to see John McFarlane, the chairman of Aviva at the time, to negotiate the severance package of one of my coaching clients. Some departures can become difficult and are better handled by third parties.

A PA came down to fetch me. When she arrived at the reception desk, they pointed her in my direction. I was seated next to a courier dressed in figure hugging lycra, with a cycling helmet on his lap. 

She stopped and double checked the name on the slip of paper. In a flash, this experienced performer had lost all her poise, and a panic spilt over her face. With a less-than-confident staccato voice, she said to the both of us, “Er ... Mr Carayol?” We both said nothing. 

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