Okay, so Saasy5 is all about 5 things Salesforce each week. Well, this week I’m struck by one thing, one huge thing. I’m shocked by the inequality in my community and my privileged perspective on a daily basis. The other day something hit me and I just can’t think about 5 things specifically about Salesforce.
So here’s what happened the other day:
While sitting at an airport Chili’s getting a snack before my flight, I see a group of about five African-American men heading out for a bachelor trip sitting across the bar. They’re all laughing and having fun with the customers around them about their celebratory trip to Vegas. The scene actually made me smile for a second because of the “diversity” of it all; their server was Hispanic, there was a white couple on one side of the group and an Asian businessman on the other. Everyone seemed to really be enjoying this moment. Then the white couple purchased the group a round of beers to celebrate the groom and a few minutes later she pulled a cellphone with a confederate flag phone case out of her purse. My mind twisted and my heart sunk because I didn’t understand. How could the same woman give the same group such a kind gift and then display such a symbol of hate toward them?
I like to say I believe in diversity and inclusion but the truth is I rarely put myself in a position to stand up for that belief. I am actively working on that though, I’ve joined the Slalom Houston D&I team to learn more. I’m finding that more often I’m putting myself in diverse groups of people with different backgrounds and beliefs. I think to really understand another person’s perspective we have to put ourselves near them. We have to try to see the world through their eyes with their perspective. I think that’s how we bridge the gaps between our differences. I’m thankful for my friends (mostly in the Salesforce community) whom I trust to ask the awkward questions about the parts of all of this that I just don’t understand. By understanding where those that are different from me are coming from and allowing that new knowledge to influence my daily life, my mindset changes. The way I approach things changes.
I’ve always done good things for the community around me; helped at homeless shelters and built houses on summer mission service trips in high school (if you need a new roof, I’m your girl) but that’s different from actively seeking diversity in my daily life. One is helping those in need who often look different than me and the other is actively seeking those who are different than me and exposing myself to their perspective of the world.
There’s something not so unique about me; I’m a smart brunette female who’s worked hard in school and her career to get where she is. I’m a little preppy and like to route for my college sports teams (Go Jackets!!). I’m a stereotype. I hate that because in as many ways as I’m the stereotype I am NOT the stereotype. No one expects that I can do the things I can do with technology. No one expects that I am actively working on myself in the ways that I am. No one expects that I struggle with something inside me that wants to be the housewife who cooks dinner every night in a beautifully kept home while balancing the overwhelming desire to have an extraordinary and impactful career. No one expects that of me but no one holds me back either. No one holds me back, that’s the difference.
I cannot imagine what it feels like to drink a beer given to me by a person who is blatantly displaying a symbol of hate towards me. A symbol that is a reminder of a time in history where my stereotype was accepted as less than the rest of the community around me. It’s probably something like drinking a beer bought by a guy wearing a shirt that says “Women belong in the kitchen” or “Women can’t code”, only far worse I imagine.
I would love your help building out resources on the Saasy5 Pinterest board. Here is what I’ve got so far. What resources do you recommend for those wanting to learn more about Diversity and Inclusion?