My friend recently told me that she was joining a minority networking group, and asked if I participated in any of the minority groups when I was in undergrad or in law school. I said no and she was shocked and then launched into a passionate argument about why “minority” women and men should participate in networking and socialization amongst themselves to battle the inequalities they face.
…I cringe as I type those words. Battle? How is it a battle? People who discriminate in that way won’t change because you get together in a group and tell them they are meanies. And a battle is not how you win the war.
I fully recognize that for some people, all they see when they look at me is the color of my skin, the shape of my eyes, and the arch of my nose. I know some people will see me, and never see past my physical self. And, I’m okay with that because there are plenty of people that I will only ever be able to judge and see for their physical attributes, and most of all…. Because I know with absolute certainty that there is more to me than my face, my skin, and my so-called minority status.
The truth of the matter is that I have grown up more privileged than most of my non-minority friends. I’ve never wanted for anything. I grew up in a idyllic town and was ushered to school in my parents’ luxury cars, and I continue to enjoy a comfortable life.
More that those simple economic facts, I know that ME as a professional transcends my physical appearance. I know that my sex and my appearance are NOT the most interesting or most important things about myself. I know that I am well educated, smart, and hardworking. I know these things and I know my value as a person. Just a person. Not a minority, not a woman, nothing else.
So why… Why would I ever change the focus of my person to my sex or physical appearance when I KNOW everything else about me is interesting and awesome? Why change the focus of my person to something so silly and invaluable? Why focus on what people “might” think to a conversation that pulls the focus from who I am? Let’s just focus on me as a person. Yes. Just me. Without being concerned with those preconceived notions, bias, and whatever else. Because at the end of the day – I am me. And I know my value without focusing on the minority. I am just a person, just let everyone else.
So. Let’s just focus on being the kickass people we are and stop changing the conversation to what we look like and our gender. We are just people.