Based on an episode of react podcast EP 103 | Black Tech Pipeline.
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I was particularly inspired by @chantastic episode 103 of the react podcast with @ParissAthena. They spoke about the black tech pipeline as well as Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Pariss is quite an inspiration. She has done so much work to create a better place for POC in tech. I like that not only is she helping them get jobs but acting as a mentor for their first few months on the job to make sure that they are able to find their place and fit in.
One thing that Michael brought up was the feeling he gets when he has other Asian friends to collaborate with at work is just a feeling of fitting in. All too often he feels like he has to put on this persona of "Hamburgers and Beer are my favorite thing, like all the time" just to fit in.
I grew up in a very rural part of the United States Dominated by Whites with a prominent Mexican community, there was almost no Asian or Black. I can't tell you how many times I heard, "I have this friend John, He's black, but he's not really black." I will say that I was never quite this low, but growing up in a region where this was the norm, I probably wasn't the best ambassador either.
Years later I recall taking some training for work that could not have described the people I grew up with better. It described rural parts of the United States as completely accepting of any POC as long as they completely leave their culture behind.
"I have this friend John, He's black, but he's not really black."
I heard this statement far too many times coming from rural United States
Thinking a little bit more into this statement I realize that as a culture Rural America was very open to POC, but not at all open to their culture.
This is where a lot of what we were taught in school in the '90s and '00s falls short. We were so heavily focused on, " I don't see color". We were taught that race was all about color, having friends of color, and treating everyone equally. But I think that not seeing color puts us in a situation of not really treating everyone equally. Their color may have been seen as equal, but their culture wasn't.
We have failed to embrace others the way we would want them to embrace us.
"Hamburgers and Beer are my favorite thing, like all the time"
This is where I really connected with Michael's statement "Hamburgers and Beer are my favorite thing, like all the time". So often we can look past color, but we completely miss making a real connection with other cultures.
Like, really welcome them.
Further, into the episode, Pariss spoke about being hired into tech and feeling left out of the conversation because she didn't feel like she fit in. She would hire in with a non-POC on the same day and felt like people would stare at her like a zoo animal while treating the other new hire as a real person.
people would stare at her like a zoo animal
I know that I do not want to make anyone on my team feel like a zoo animal. I feel like listening to this episode gave me a bit of perspective into what it might be like to be just a bit different than everyone else. I really appreciate the both of them for being so open about sharing their experiences. I will definitely think of ways that I can make any new hire just a bit more welcome next time.
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