So I just wanted to take a minute to touch base with everyone regarding the recent announcement by Human Resources that I would be featured in their newsletter’s “Commitment to Diversity” section.
Now, it’s not that I’m not honored by this mention; it’s just that this is now thirteen months in a row now that it’s been me. This leads me to ask: Am I the only “diverse” employee at this company?
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t know that I’m doing a great enough job to be constantly singled out. I mean, my last performance review was okay at best. And, yet, here I am. Thirteen months now. Pretty much the entire time I’ve been with the company, come to think of it.
Granted, this is a pretty large organization, so I suppose I’ve not met everyone yet, but from where I sit in the office, I can’t help but notice I’m the only non-white person on the floor. I’m not complaining; I’m just saying it’s something you kind of notice after a bit, especially when the company frequently highlights inclusion and diversity.
Also, it’s just become a bit much to find myself constantly placed under the microscope in this regard. I find it hard to believe that my coworkers are really that interested in what I do after work or what books I’m reading. I’m flattered that you’re interested, it’s just I don’t buy it. I also don’t have any old-world family recipes to share with you all. My parents made Shake ‘n Bake and Hamburger Helper pretty much every night, and their idea of tacos was Old El Paso. I’m not Latino, by the way, but thanks for assuming.
Some of these questions you’ve been asking are also a bit probing, if I’m being completely honest.
For example, when you asked about my commitment to my community, I’m assuming you mean the neighborhood I currently live in. I’ve only really lived there for maybe a year and a half now. I moved there when I got the job with this company. I’m not sure how I can really be an inspiration to it since there aren’t very many kids in my neighborhood. It’s mostly just young professionals like me.
Besides, am I really doing anything that would inspire the kids in my neighborhood? I’m not exactly living a “follow your dreams” type of life. I’m a middle-management type in a generic corporation. Not exactly shoot-for-the-stars-type stuff. The only real advice I could offer is don’t sign up for those credit cards in exchange for the free T-shirt. That shit will stick with you for a while.
Now, if I’m mistaken and you’re referring to where I grew up, I’m not really sure what to tell you. It was a pretty standard run-of-the-mill suburb to a major American city, which by most standards was actually pretty well-to-do. We moved only because my dad got a job, so I have no real roots there. I imagine it’s still the case, but I haven’t been back since my parents sold their house and moved to that retirement community.
Another question you’ve asked is about my commitment to making the company a more diverse and inclusive space. I’m not sure why you’re asking me this as I have zero say in recruiting or hiring. I referred an old friend for an IT position, but he’s white so I guess that doesn’t count. Plus, he failed the drug test.
To be honest, this whole thing seems a bit self-congratulatory. We didn’t really care about any of this stuff until last summer and now suddenly it’s all very in your face. This sort of thing just needs to happen organically through incremental and social change, not a bunch of buzzwords Jen from marketing pulled off Twitter.
Also, I feel a bit put on the spot.
First, what exactly gives you all the idea I was in any way qualified to interview and hire a diversity consultant? All these committees I suddenly find myself on seem way above my paygrade.
Second, I don’t really have a favorite Black poet or artist I could share an inspirational quote from. The one I included in the Juneteenth email you guys made me write I just found through a quick Google search. I don’t know what impression I’m giving you of how I spend my free time, but I don’t go to poetry slams or anything. These days it’s mostly bong hits and video games. But you told me I couldn’t really talk about that.
It’s reached the point where I don’t even want to come out as gay anymore. Not that I’m scared or ashamed, it’s just that if I did, that’s just another diversity and inclusion highlight reel I’m getting thrown on. I really don’t have time for all of this.
By the way, thanks for giving me the week off for Kwanza again. I don’t celebrate the holiday, but it was nice to get away.