We’ve been living in two different countries my whole life.
My father’s whole life.
His father’s whole life.
His father’s father’s whole life.
And I could keep going in building this list, except for the fact that at some point, I won’t be able to trace any further back because that history was never given to me. It was never given to my family. It was never captured because we were never intended to have history in same way as white Americans do.
Two different countries.
And as I wake up this morning, watching the latest in a long history of white terrorists losing their minds anytime their unearned power and privilege is threatened, I have a tightening in my chest. …
As 2020 comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting a ton on the where organizations should go next in moving from a place of D.E.I. programs not resulting in real change to ones that are centering racial equity always.
9 things that I think are holding companies back? See below:
1. Attempting to make diversity, equity, and inclusion (d.e.i.) synonymous to racial equity or anti-racism
The work, approach, and even the core definitions are not the same and are important to distinguish before you commit to doing the work.
2. Removing the word equity and even more specifically racial equity from the conversation. …
I hear it usually first in your voice.
And then, you can see it physically in your body language.
We’re on a call to discuss your new found interest in diversity, equity, and inclusion work as an organization, as a leader, and the second I shift from the word inclusion to the words anti-racism, there is a visible shift. And maybe you don’t notice it, but I do because it happens so much that I’m prepared to expect it. …
I stopped sharing my personal experiences with racism a long time ago.
One, because they happened so often that it was normal and the last thing I wanted to do after experiencing it was to re-live this normalcy in any way by experiencing it through my own words again.
Second, because when I did share it with people, particularly white women,
I would get responses like:
“Oh, I totally understand where you’re coming from because I too have experienced the same.”
(which would then be followed up with a story that was not racism but some other ism)
“Can you tell me more about…
I saw you coming.
it was the night of the Vice-Presidential debate where Kamala Harris said to Pence “ I’m speaking” and the internet lost its mind, you included. I saw you the next morning sharing posts that said “ I’m Speaking ”, telling everyone you knew what an important moment it was for women, cheering these words on, and celebrating them as your own.
Ironically, on that same day, I saw you writing on Black women’s Instagram walls chastising them for speaking too “harshly”, for not being “ kind enough to you”, for being too “ loud” and sharing in a way that, in your words, “won’t advance the movement.” I saw you sending private messages to Black women discrediting their experience, telling them it should be about ALL women, because yes, then it would include you, and pleas to just recognize that you are one of the “good ones”. I saw you take a Black woman’s words and apply them to your cause, your fight with ever acknowledging that your fight is not our fight. …
On November 9, 2016, I woke up, heard the results of the presidential election, and immediately laid back down in my bed. I stayed that way for a while, thinking, “I have to be at work in an hour, but I’m not even sure I can move right now,” and then cried while showering and getting dressed. All day, as I did my best to push through, I wished someone, anyone, would ask me, “Is this meeting really that important right now?” or simply, “Are you okay?”
Fast-forward to 2020. We’re talking a lot about Election Day on November 3, but not so much about November 4, a day when many Americans will have to go to work and pretend everything is normal. It will not be. …
Watching Meg Thee Stallion’s performance on Saturday Night Live recently and her usage of Malcolm X’s words sticks with me daily:
“ The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman.
The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman.
The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.”
Daily as a Black woman, I wake up incredibly grateful for all that comes with being one. And daily, I wake up equally exhausted for all that comes with being one. Sharing 8 things I wish everyone around me would stop doing, to myself and fellow Black womxn. …
A personal reflection from a Black Woman fighting against our own self-imposed silence…
I’m actually not sure when it shifted for me. When the place became a place where it wasn’t safe anymore. When the place of me, the world I live in, the world I work in, was no longer safe. The truth is, it never was. But if I’m being really honest with myself, I remember the exact age I decided to stay silent about it.
Third grade. I was 8 years old. There was a white boy named Brett who really struggled with me because at the time, I was very outspoken and I was getting better grades than him. There was a day that I raised my hand to speak up about something, and Brett turned around and said, “I wish you would stop talking nigger.” And I remember in that very moment pausing because I was so shocked that he said that to me and my parents had taught me very early on what that word was and what it meant. And how wrong it was. And it just hurt me, and then I remember just standing up. …
It’s the start of a new week and while there is still an incredible amount of work to be done that will result in permanent change, many employers are feeling like we’ve done the hard work.
We sent an email, we donated money, we created space for the team to talk last week, we used the appropriate hashtag and shared on social media.
In short: We’re good, we’ve done the work. The reality is, though, the work has truly just begun.
In the same way, we personally have to get beyond temporarily using a hashtag, so do the companies we work for. Here are 5 suggested conversations to start at your organization, in order to ensure real change is happening internally. These are a starting point and by no means the only conversations you should have. The goal is to start somewhere and to not let an email be the only action that is taken.
Note: For full transparency, these are conversations that I’ll be having with my organization too this week but want to remind White Leaders and Colleagues: the burden should not fall to BIPOC on your teams. …
As many of us prepare to go back to work, physically or remotely (and for those who already have), the day may already be feeling incredibly exhausting and traumatizing before it has even really begun.
For Black people, we can turn off social media for a few days, but we often can’t turn off work. We are preparing to be re-burdened at work in an unnecessary way. And for White people and people of color, the need to say something is real. But it’s important that it is approached in a way that isn’t burdensome, traumatizing, or re-triggering.
I wanted to share a quick guide of do’s and don’ts and ideas on how to approach every day at work during this time. As a reminder before you…