Of late, not a day goes by that I don’t see some kind of racist or sexist article in my Facebook feed, on the front of the Daily Tele or even on posters near my house….
So with this constant barrage of vitriol, I have often felt saddened but most of all angry. So I recently took a moment to reflect on why I felt so strongly about this. Yes, it isn’t nice or fair but there’s something more to it.
For those who don’t know I was adopted from South Korea into a super white family (Welsh and Irish ancestry) and my parents raised me with the mentality of a white male (yes, I’m generalising here).
I was told that I could do anything if I put my mind to it and worked hard enough. Anything was possible. As long as I worked hard enough.
It wasn’t until my 20s when I became aware of not only the glass ceiling but the bamboo ceiling. I realise that I was very naive until this point. I knew prejudice existed but I didn’t realise how prevalent it was and how much of a serious issue it was in the workplace.
So here I am looking like every other Asian out there but with the mentality of a white male and so a dissonance exists within me.
I refuse to play the victim card or poor me, or ever use this as an excuse but I have found that in order to be listened to I need to assert myself a lot. I can now see this as a positive and has forced me to back myself and be more confident in myself. I can confidently say that I know my shit.
I don’t have a solution but will leave you with these final thoughts:
- We all need to work harder on not jumping to conclusions about people, not judging books by their cover and on a deeper level, working on our unconscious bias. To test yours head to: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/
- In the immortal words of Sheryl Sandberg, ‘Lean in’. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, be confident and back yourself 100% and assert yourself in your specialist areas.
I don’t believe the above will solve all our problems but it’s a good place to start and I believe that it’s important to recognise that we can all make a positive impact (from both sides).