Right now, what is trending is a sketch that Richard Pyor did in the early 1970’s entitled N%&* v. The Police. It discusses police profiling of the Black community in the 1970’s and part of the reason it is trending is because it is as current today in 2020 as it was in the 1970s. And that is where the frustration lies.
We as a society have been paying a lot of lip service to being a part of a diverse and inclusive society. Most organizations have a Diversity Committee in some form, that placates everyone in feeling that change is being addressed. Having a committee and a policy paper is not good enough. We need to make long standing, substantive change. Because this feeling of frustration over lip service is contributing to the anger being expressed right now.
In the last few years, my husband has become frustrated by my naivity in responding – I cannot believe this is happening in 2017, 2018, 2019 or 2020….
And I become increasingly frustrated. I was recently on a panel discussion on Diversity and Inclusion and was the only minority panelist. After every point I made, the organizer and moderator commented on how well I had made my point, which was not done after the points made by my co-panelists.
This took me back to grade 7 when my guidance counselor commented on how well I spoke English. Are you serious? I was born here. Today, I am an advocate and speaking well and making resounding points is what I get paid to do, and the reason I was asked to be on the panel. So I hope that I speak well, notwithstanding the fact that English is my first language. Surprised? My second language is French – remember – I was born here in Canada. My third language is Bengali…..and my knowledge is limited. Digest that.
And so it is that constant scrutiny, analysis and evaluation, that I experience as a minority, that frustrates me on a daily basis. And in speaking with my black friends and peers, I know that the scrutiny and racism that they experience is 100 times to what I experience as a model minority.
But it feels like whatever changes or advances need to transpire, have been slow in coming, just like other changes, such wage equality or breaking into the C-suite. And that’s why I hope that the changes taking place right now, are important and need to shake up the foundations of so many antiquated systems. As a result of COVID, businesses continue to focus on how to adapt and remain economically viable. And there was concern that any focus on advancing change in organizations regarding Diversity and Inclusion, would become lost in the shuffle.
But the roar that is taking place around the world, cannot be ignored. And although I am heart broken on all of the events that contributed to this change, we are here now, at a time where real action and accountability can take place. And hopefully, my frustration will cool down in order to allow my need to be an author of change rise.
Because I make this vow! My children will not, 20 years from now, be angrily saying, I cannot believe this is happening in 2040, 2041 about actions that mimic the 1970’s.
But that’s just one Diva’s view.