White Male (WM): “There are more important things in the world and we’re worried about our graphics not being representative enough of all?”
Me: “It’s important to see everyone reflected in our endeavors so no one is left out. Let’s make the people a different color and not have all of the men in the imag shown as the boss because we have several female leaders in this organization. Maybe let’s just use another image altogether instead of people?”
WM: “Yeah, more important things in the world like the Freddie Gray trial, and people dying than caring if we’re universally liked or not, but yeah this is important.”
While I agree that there are many important things in the world to worry about and to remedy, and that they should be addressed, I can’t help but think about how seemingly small details create issues where those who not represented, not heard, not included, rage against the machine and those in positions of authority.
When you do not see anyone in positions of aithority who looks like you or sounds like you, or when you’re in a community that feels neglected and worse, when your community is recognized, but only it’s only for negative aspects, it can be disheartening. It also leads many to feel as if no matter how far they get or how hard they try, the system is against them.
Take for example, your church or your school system. These are life-altering and life-shaping organizations. When your teachers, principals, priests, pastors and other religious leaders do not reflect you as a human or those similar to you – from the physical appearance, to the way you speak, laugh, live, etc. – will you feel included or neglected? Will you truly believe that by being yourself, looking, speaking, laughing, and living as yourself, you will be accepted and able to step onto that path to becoming a successful member of society and the world as a whole?
Of couse many have thrived in environments where they are neglected because they are determined and they fought hard to beat the odds. However, when you feel welcomed, cherished and appreciated for who you are, that’s immeasurable, not to mention, makes life a little more pleasant. When you see others like you who may have had similar experiences, you may believe that if that person can do it, so can you. See, it’s all about creating stronger and healthier humans.
Don’t believe me? Ask minorities how they felt to see the first Black President of the United States elected and sworn in to office.
P.S. Of course, not everyone who looks like, and sounds like us, are for us. But those turncoats, haters and Uncle Ruckuses will be discussed in a separate post. This post is about being seen, being represented and knowing that we all have a shot at greatness.