Last week, we kicked off Black History Month, a celebration of Black history and excellence, and a continued moment to focus on interrupting the ways in which anti-Black racism permeates our workplaces and society at large.

Over the last few years, it was so encouraging to see organizations working actively to address systemic racism and to hold difficult anti-racism conversations, and in particular about anti-Blackness. This said, I’ve been thinking about how it feels like the commitment to focus on racial inclusion in the workplace has lessened lately, which is affirmation for why we must keep the spotlight on anti-racism—and anti-Blackness specifically—in our DEI efforts.

It’s also a reminder for why we want to continue to talk about white fragility. By white fragility, I’m referring to the defensive reaction that white people have in response to learning about their position in the structure of racism. It can give rise to a broad range of emotions from discomfort, hostility, and fear to rage, guilt, and more.

Admittedly, it’s a prickly topic to discuss openly—which is another reason for why it must be actively raised—but it’s essential that we explore it as part of our DEI work to create more racially equitable and inclusive workplaces. Why is this? Quite simply, white fragility can destabilize and shut down important conversations around racial inclusion and limit workplace anti-racism programming, all of which is essential for advancing professionals of color and Indigenous professionals.

As I highlight in this video, it feeds into creating environments where white team members are hampered from learning about and interrupting racial biases, and where BIPOC team members and allies feel unsafe to share their experiences and observations. And this is exactly why we need to talk more directly about it as part of our DEI efforts, especially during this moment in time when it feels like the racial inclusion momentum is dying down.

To help you to make this happen, and to learn more about the concept, I wanted to share a few resources. Please check out:

While it may feel like white fragility is an impossible topic to discuss in the workplace, and specifically with white leaders, it’s so important that we make the effort to uncover how it’s thwarting our anti-racism initiatives, particularly the momentum around cultivating racial feels like it’s subsiding.

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Is there a DEI area you’re interested in learning more about or question you’d like us to answer? Email your thoughts and questions to

Dr. Komal Bhasin, MSW, MHSc, DocSocSci

Komal is bci’s Senior DEI Consultant and Mental Health Expert-in-Residence and an accomplished DEI facilitator, coach, and strategist. Komal has over 20 years of experience in providing strategic and advisory guidance and program development across a range of sectors, with a particular concentration in mental health and racial inclusion. Komal is also the founder of Insayva Inc., a social enterprise focused on providing accessible DEI and health equity support to charities and non-profit organizations.

Komal has extensive experience in creating and delivering programming in a range of DEI areas, including unconscious bias, cultural competence, mental health inclusion, psychological safety, and allyship. She is passionate about driving transformational change in workplaces and has worked closely with bci clients — corporations, professional services firms, health care providers, and educational institutions — to embed cultures of DEI within their organizations.

Komal has provided one-on-one inclusion coaching to hundreds of senior leaders and brings a unique approach that is informed by her background as a therapist. She is able to expertly handle sensitive conversations and situations and works with leaders to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to advance racial/ethnocultural, gender, and mental health-related equity across teams and organizations. Komal also offers a performance coaching program designed specifically for BIPOC leaders. This program aims to help BIPOC leaders harness their place, position, and identity to thrive in the workplace and beyond. Komal is a qualified administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI).

As bci’s Mental Health Expert-in-Residence, Komal offers tremendous expertise around workplace mental health. As a doctoral trained mental health clinician, certified health executive, and registered social worker, Komal has assisted organizations looking to advance employee mental health inclusion and well-being through offering programming on inclusive dialogue, anti-stigma, burnout prevention, psychological safety, resilience, and self-care. Komal is committed to advancing mental health and wellness across the life course; she currently serves on the board of the Alzheimer’s Society of Ontario and previously served on the board of Children’s Mental Health Ontario and the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

When Komal is not working, you’ll find her painting, cooking or snuggling with her cat.