One thing I love about TV shows like Black-ish is how they do not shy away from addressing social issues and they do so beautifully.
If you have not watched Black-ish and are considering watching it…..SPOILER ALERT!
Lesson: You got the position, so take up your space!
In their first episode, family man Andre Johnson gets promoted to Vice President of the Urban Division of a marketing agency. Now being promoted anywhere is something to celebrate, but in this particular episode, Andre was not too enthusiastic about being a Vice President for the ‘Urban’ division and questioned why could he not have been Vice President of the entire organisation as opposed to what felt like being Vice President of black people stuff.
This made me think of people who may feel like they were hired to reach a diversity quota. I can picture the excitement of getting a new job then have that excitement and proud feeling stripped away by comments like ‘ you are only here because we needed a diversity hire’. They say this without any knowledge of your background, your experience or education and yet just by your presence alone, they feel comfortable enough to state that you’re only there for one reason. Not because of your vast experience or knowledge but simply because they do not want to look bad in the public.
How do you reconcile with that? As an individual, you know how hard you have worked to be where you are and to have people diminish that. Even worse make you feel undeserving of that position you got or even knock down your self-confidence or self-worth.
Well, like with Andre, he had the same questions, though his initial reaction may have been over the top, he realised, it does not matter how you got there. The point is you are there, so make the most of the experience and show them what you can do. Let them see the value of that diversity hire to the point where they cannot deny it. Educate those around you, they may push back at your new ideas but never stop trying.
Remember you have an entire group at DiveIn Network that will help you and support you, so know that you are not alone.