We know, we know. We really thought we were past this yesterday, but then the Stacey Dash clip scrolled through our timelines again and we are back to this same place today. Ms. Dash’s willingness to be a pawn in the Fox News regime only broadcasts her confusion and is in turn confusing others. One of our mottos is, “if you see something, say something.” So we’re saying something and calling her out. Again.
#OscarsSoWhite and the issues it highlights are not unique to Hollywood. Not even close. We could literally take the #SoWhite part of the hashtag and put it behind a myriad of other professions and it would be similarly applicable. Allow us to illustrate this concept.
#BigLawSoWhite because for the life of them, large law firms cannot figure out how to fix their diversity issues. The numbers are published every year, and every year certain minority groups, like black women lawyers, continue to decline at the associate, partner, and management levels and everyone pretty much shrugs, promises their clients that they’re trying, and continues on with their lives until the next year when it happens all over again. In fact, many firms continue the insanity of doing the same exact things that produced the previous poor results – limiting their hiring to select law schools that lack diversity, failing to mentor diverse associates or ensure diverse attorneys get the substantive work they need to gain clout and recognition and build good will within the firm. They say that doing the same thing and expecting different results is insanity, and if that’s the case, big law is insane. Like crazy.
#CorporateBoardSoWhite because corporations in America still can’t figure out how to bring more minorities and women into their boardrooms. Just last week, Apple’s board of directors said they would oppose a proposal to diversify Apple’s board of directors and senior management, calling the plan “unduly burdensome and not necessary” (click here to read more). *Blank stare* And in case you were wondering, yes, we both have iPhones and are torn and conflicted about being #TeamApple when they might not be #TeamUncolorblind.
As most people can see (minus Stacey Dash), the lack of diversity, inclusion, and opportunity is a problem in many industries. History tells us that because of these pervasive, long-standing diversity issues, people of color have been forced to go out and make opportunity for themselves. African-American fraternities and sororities were founded because white fraternities and sororities would not allow black members. Outlets like BET, #BlackGirlsRock, and the NAACP Image Awards were created after people of color tried and failed to get visibility on other networks and awards shows. The National Bar Association was created because the American Bar Association would not admit black attorneys to the organization in the 1920s and 1930s. We don’t want to segregate ourselves, but what do you do when the glass ceiling just won’t crack? You build your own.
The decision to form groups, give accolades, and celebrate our contributions to these professions is rooted in the fact that no one would let us be apart or celebrate us and the work we were doing. The decision to create our own did not and does not exclude others; it only necessitates an appreciation of who we are, our capabilities and what we bring to the table.
*Steps Off Soap Box* We’re done. For now. We just had to get that last word in because we don’t want anyone to believe for one second that #OscarsSoWhite isn’t just a microcosm of a much larger, pervasive diversity problem in America. And we don’t want you to believe that it cannot be fixed.
See. Live. Embrace diversity.