If You’re Going Into A Corporate Job This Week: Make Change for BIPOC Employees

I’m unemployed so I’m not going into an office (or remotely dialing into meetings) this week.

But if I were the first thing I would do – as a manager and leader –  is talk to my team about how they’re feeling, what they’re feeling, and what they need.

The next thing I would do is write an email summarizing the conversation I had with my team.

In this email I would ask about how the company is going to publicly take action in lending aid to what is happening to the Black community. 

In this email I would also ask how the company is going to ensure that they do no harm or retaliate against any employee who wants to speak on what the 

company can do better.

I would also ask about a timeline for when the employees can see an action-plan on what the company is going to do to proactively address EQUITY amongst BIPOC employees within the company.

I would ask how they plan to address systemic prejudice and racism within the company BEYOND what is written within their boilerplate ethics documents. 

I would offer my assistance in relation to the above.

I would send this email to the CEO, any other C-Suite executives, any heads of whatever diversity or minority committees exists, the head of HR, the entire Internal comms team, and the PR team.

I would then take notes on how long it takes to get a response and whether that response has any actual merit to it or is just boilerplate. I would hope that it wouldn’t be the latter, but based on past experience I wouldn’t expect it to be much more than rote.

Then I would either aid and assist in necessary change.

Or, and more likely based on my past experiences where I have done some or all of the above, I would slowly see myself ostracized and labeled by leadership. But I would keep doing it anyway and make myself ‘that person’ to them.

I hope some of you go into work this week and make change.

Failure As A Privilege

The exaltation of failure is the result of lucky people not knowing they are lucky.

If you live with a mindset wherein failure is acceptable as part of life – or worse, desired – you are privileged. If you can dust yourself off and try again, you are privileged. If you think others should ‘pick themselves up by their bootstraps’, you are brain-washed.

The privilege of failure is often confused with tenacity, or discipline, or ‘hard work’.

For many, failure means they don’t get to eat, pay rent, survive, making failure a path towards destitution. Failure can mean a spiral into unchecked mental and physical demise, which one needs a societal and personal support system. The former of which does not exist at an easily accessible level in the US system.

Minor failures can help you grow. Major failures can kill you. Unless you are lucky.

This post brought to you by frustration with society’s constant advocation of the illusion versus reality of the American Dream.

There Will Always Be One More Thing

We lost Toni Morrison. A woman who understood humanity like no other. I remember, years ago, in the infancy of the public internet, scouring the web for interviews with people whom I wanted to learn from. She was on a short list. She was a teacher, philosopher, a fucking god, and – yes – a hell of a writer. The best writer. It was a privilege to read her work.

I remember reading a quote of hers on racism; just looked it up to remind myself:

The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.

Toni Morrison

This quote makes me reflect on countless experiences where I have – intuitively or logically- held myself back from doing or saying or being so I can survive both the moment and the marathon, on how hard I’ve worked, how much extra I give for what I have, how tired I am.

I love her for understanding where so few do. And I thank her for the privilege of reading her words. And I will miss her. While we do not live in a good world, it is a better world because Toni Morrison helped it be so.

The State of the World

The term ‘the state of the world’ isn’t something I would have used to describe anything until recent times. I find that the West – particularly Americans – believe Western/American events are world events instead of localized.

And while I still believe that, times have shifted a bit.

Climate change. Mass shootings. Fascism. Drastic inequality. These are world issues in that they not only affect all of us, but in that a unified, global front must be had to contend with them.

One can argue mass shootings are a uniquely American phenomenon and – to a point – they are in modern times. That a supposedly advanced society breeds such archaic laws and the mindsets that accompany them is unique. But every single region that has experienced genocide or executions or terrorism or war has had mass shootings. The mindset to commit these atrocities is global. The access to commit them is American.

The pressure to stop it, all of it, must be global.