Luckily, with everything having remote options now, it’s actually pretty easy to pop in and simply listen without really being noticed, or at least, feeling a bit better about not being noticed.
And, really, you should. Everyone should. Not because you necessarily have anything to add, but because you have an opportunity to listen.
Listening to different groups of people talk about their issues will open your eyes to the things that we, as white men, don’t notice. It gives us the opportunity to hear about racism and sexism that still happens to real people that we know and interact with every day. The stories about things like street harassment aren’t happening to random women complaining online, they are happening to the same women I just spent hours working through a project with, the people who’ve been victims of racist violence aren’t random names in the news, they are the folks we were just chatting about the weather with before a conference call, and collaborating with on documentation for the last week. The things we might read about adding pronouns to an email signature make it sound like a decent thing to do, but hearing someone you work with talk about how life-affirming it is to not be the “one” person at the company doing it? Yeah, it hits different when you hear that from someone you know.
So, as much as I have gone about my professional life glad that there were resource groups available but not really paying much attention to them, I’ve recently made a change and tried to drop in and listen where I could. It’s been a challenge. These are not fun, light, conversations. They shouldn’t be.