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RCause in Conversation: Uncovering Racial Inequality

A conversation with RingCentral employees


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  • Inequality has been systemically embedded in America’s laws and public institutions for centuries. The effects on marginalized populations are still felt today.
  • An “ally” is someone who actively promotes and aspires to advance a culture of inclusion through intentional, positive and conscious efforts that benefit people as a whole.


Racial injustice has existed in the United States since Plymouth Rock. But in recent years these inequalities have been more visible than ever. From police brutality to the disparity in social services, education and opportunity, Americans of every color, orientation and class are seeing our history and our nation in a new light. And that’s inspiring a national conversation. For this episode of the RCause in Conversation series, we had an open, honest conversation of our own with RingCentral employees to get their perspectives on racial inequality—and the ways we can all become better allies and actively contribute to positive change. 

What, exactly is “systemic racism?” 

The term “systemic racism” refers to systems and structures that purposely put particular groups of people at a disadvantage, and the outcomes that result.


Edward Odom, Senior Solutions Engineer, RingCentral

Kira Arnold, Physical Security Analyst, RingCentral


What is “systemic racism” and how do you think it has affected marginalized populations?

Edward Odom (EO): “Systemic racism is embedded in our structures, procedures and processes. I creates disparities in a lot of our success indicators…what I mean by that is things like wealth, criminal justice system, employment… What you discover if you really dig deep into our system is that there is systemic racism that has been historically embedded in them”

Kira Arnold (KA): “A lot of our current policies, laws, procedures that we use today in 2021 were established decades ago. At the time they were established, there likely were intentional negative effects to affect Black Americans, which in turn affected other marginalized groups as well.Even though the intentions that were set years and years ago are not still here in 2021, we still see the same negative effects.”

“Food deserts” a classic example systemic racism

KA: “{Food deserts are] a great example of one of the ways systemic racism plays out today. Just not having access to a grocery store to get fresh food and produce.. Some may argue “why don’t you just drive to the next town over?” but you have to remember where these communities are located, and things like “have they been paid enough money for them to own a car? Is there adequate public transportation?” A food desert isn’t just that main location, it’s all the infrastructure around it as well”. 

What is the difference between “equality” and “equity?”

EO: “Equality just means that every individual is given the same resources and opportunities.. Equity recognizes that each person has a different circumstance and allocates resources differently to ensure an equal outcome.”

KA: “There are many things in the world that do have natural barriers and natural obstacles,however, there are a lot of …needless barriers in the world and so a good place for a lot of us to start is instead of trying to help people get around (this particular)barrier, start by thinking is this barrier even necessary?

How can one contribute to a more equitable society/ workplace?

EO: “Sometimes it’s just as simple as signing a petition.Other times it’s a matter of picking up the phone and calling your local senator or congressman because you saw something that is not right that needs to be corrected…in my opinion there is no excuse to do nothing. Some people have more access and capability to do things but there (are) still things you can do.”

KA: “Taking part in your local elections; don’t just vote every four years, vote every year. Cities and towns hold elections all the time and those local politicians really are the ones who make the biggest impact in your and your communities day to day…getting involved at the local level if it’s too hard to follow at the national level.”

Closing the gap

There is no quick fix for racial inequality.. But there is still a lot one can do to support those who are affected by racism and inequality.. Whether it be recognizing one’s own privilege and using it to get actively involved in social justice issues or simply voting in elections, we all have a role to play in creating a more equitable society, one step at a time. 


Check out the full episode here.

Originally published Sep 06, 2021, updated Dec 30, 2022

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