There are a several major shifts happening in American society right now that I find both inspiring and exciting. It can also be humbling. I joined the race for true equality many years ago, but even I experience moments of fatigue.
I was amazed to read that NASDAQ passed a new requirement regarding diversity. All companies being traded are now required to have LGBTQ, as well as, BIPOC representation on their boards. If they don’t, they have to explain why and it will be noted for potential buyers to peruse. Wow! I had heard rumors of such requirements years ago. But I didn’t think I would live to see the day that it would really happen. This feels like what America was always meant to be – a true melting pot – with representation.
As we begin a new season of inclusivity, corporations are making the necessary changes to ensure true equality. Of course, those who have experienced prejudice first hand will tell you, it is a long time coming. Previous efforts have often proved inept. We don’t expect real change to happen overnight. However, these new endeavors will go a long way in teaching society how to behave in a comprehensive manner.
Two days ago, the Biden-Harris team announced that their Communication Staff, for the first time ever, are all women. Of the seven chosen, five are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). These will be the faces that represent our country during the Biden-Harris administration. They did a phenomenal job of reflecting the true America and the varied voices that reside within. This is major progress.
After receiving all of this great news in a short period of time, I was flooded with emotions. First, I was elated – felt empowered. We are moving forward in the marathon towards equality for all. My next thoughts were, “will I be lost in all of this? As a white female, will my talents be acknowledged? Or, will I be left behind?” Then I reminded myself how few chances the LGBTQ & BIPOC communities have had in the past.
I was immediately flooded with guilt. This is what I had been longing for and working toward for years. My first book was anti-racist. My second book, due out in a couple of weeks, is feminist and LGBTQ inclusive. My next project is titled, “BIPOC Entertainers in 20th Century America”. My life purpose is to pursue equality for all. Of course I want this.
Then why did I have that thought? More importantly, why am I sharing it with you? Because, we are all human beings navigating our way through a world filled with prejudice. These reactions are human nature. Unwinding ourselves from a lifetime of biases, many closeted, are where we are in this marathon. We have work to do and that includes training.
The bottom line is, we are all human beings working through this at the same time. It’ll be easier if we work through it together. We have to acknowledge our emotions and dissect our thoughts. It is part of the process. That is how we will win the race.
Once I acknowledged I was already mid-dash, my reaction seemed less catastrophic. It would have been worse had I never begun at all. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. There will be moments when I need to rest and learn from someone wiser and more experienced. This will give me the opportunity to listen
and grow, as well as, coach others. There is a place for us all in conquering prejudice of every kind. But none of us can do it alone. Will you join the team?