2019. Grace Aiyedogbon. All Rights Reserved.

HOW TO RELAX YOUR COLORED FRIENDS AT THE WORKPLACE.

DIVERSITY: BUZZWORD, PROSE, STILL ALL TALK.

As a not so recent graduate, two years out, i've spent some quality time and sometimes real life monies on the job/career hunt.

Truth be told, I haven't found great luck in securing the opportunities that I really want, but I work, yes it's not related to my desired career path, still, I work. I am quite aware of the position of privilege I have to say that I'm employed and reasonably compensated and I'm happy for it.

That withstanding, I remain on the hunt.

In my search, as a person of color, I often come across the word 'diversity', sometimes highlighted in red as a sort of warning sign, 'Warning; we hire black ?'. In most cases or whenever I've stopped to consider it, it rubs me entirely in the wrong way. Why? Because often times it's neither reflected nor true.

"How To Relax Your Colored Friends At Parties" by Lenny Bruce, as performed on the album "Let The Buyer Beware".

It is as simple as looking up a firms list of employees and seeing, well, just white (men and women alike). Having put in research into several companies, this seems to be the running trend. That's not to say everything can be viewed from this surface level, but of course as humans we reach for what is familiar, and that cycle continues.

A well used counter point is that POC candidates are often times not qualified - that is false.

 

The argument is that maybe, just maybe, we're not as far along as we'd like to think we are, and when I say 'we' I mean the people in power, it's stark but true to say; white people. The faux altruism attached to the idea of diversity is certainly a marketing success and of course a disaster in implementation, and any kind of change is incumbent on the white majority.

As young people continually enter into the workforce, it's clear that the opportunities are far more skewed in favor of the majority. This becomes a frustration during the search for POC's when the word 'diversity' is recycled by companies,that upon a deeper glance, know nothing of it. 

It's not enough as a disclaimer or a legality, a true enforcement is due. The incentive? Growth. What is meant here is a genuine fairness in practice, not a one black hire every decade to keep a quota.

I leave you with this clip from Lenny Bruce's 1961 act "How to Relax Your Colored Friends At Parties" - there's a lot about this interaction that's on the nose in this climate .