Think of this as a follow-up and extension to my article HBCUs Need More Exposure to WordPress.
In my observation of DEI, one of the biggest vacuums is not providing exposure. I can honestly attest that it’s a two-way street though. Many organizations hang their marketing hat on whatever month/week/day it is in the name of being inclusive. Then some of those who are championing the other side or desire to be more included need to expose themselves to these opportunities.
An example of what I mean: As a BIPOC in tech, I’m very much a minority. Not only am I in tech, but I also have a developer background. Ten-plus years in and I just now found out about a tribe (shoutout BlackPress) that I can relate to. The reason I didn’t find them before is that I didn’t put myself out there (accountability), but had I not done so I wouldn’t have known the group existed. The other side of this coin is: Why aren’t groups like these actively represented or marketed in a way to let those who fit in the demographic know you have a tribe to settle at?
We need a round table discussion of sorts to stop this problem from growing. The goal isn’t to create cliques, because that defeats the purpose of inclusion. The goal is to create spaces where people feel comfortable AND are known to exist in other groups or communities as a whole. That way you give equitable opportunities for others to succeed. How does this happen? One word: exposure.
Exposure breeds Inclusion
The beautiful thing I love about my wife is her love of cooking. Since we’ve been married (5 years on 11/03/23), we’ve made it a point to travel out of the country every year for our anniversary. We both grew up in Alabama, and if you’ve been alive in the past few years, you know that Alabama ranks dead last in education. This isn’t the space for me to expose that grievance, but I will say lack of exposure has a lot to do with the problem. So when she and I became adults, individually, we made it a point to travel. Now that we are married, one of our goals for our kids (love you Harper and Averi) is to expose them to much of the world as possible through travel. Hey, they already have frequent flyer miles that started at 6 months old (can we say spoiled?).
All of the same applies to DEI initiatives. Provide equitable opportunities for everyone and expose them to the possibility of growth. Give people hope. No matter your feelings, your duty as a human is to help the next human. Exposure to what’s available can foster more ingenuity in the marketplace.
While pizza is one of my favorite foods (also why I have a disdain for working out), we do not need another “celebration” without action. Let’s establish a way to provide more exposure for EVERYONE about what opportunities exist. Level the playing field and then let the chips fall where they may lay.