Let's Talk about Performative Allyship
What an amazing week it has been!
For the first time since March 2020, I went on a vacation. Before I left, I posted this tweet on my Twitter account.
Imagine my surprise when I realized that as of this morning, my tweet has been shared almost 2 million times and has been engaged with 56,000 times on Twitter. I posted this tweet on LinkedIn, and my account, which is usually quiet, blew up. As of today, it has been commented on almost 1,000 times with 500,000 views. I also have received more notifications on Instagram since I started that account. I was getting hundreds of followers a day. I hit 20,000 Twitter followers yesterday.
More than getting my social media numbers up, I am examining the content of this tweet. The engagement speaks volumes about how sick and tired people are of organizations and people playing with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Last year, we saw umpteen statements and commitments from organizations to Black lives and DEI. If DEI could be a flavor of the month, it would have been sold out in stores around the country.
What I know is that one year after the murder of George Floyd, many of those DEI commitments have not been fulfilled. The Black Lives Matter cries are getting softer. Organizations that never displayed humility started hiring people of color leaders, celebrating Juneteenth, and singing the Black National Anthem. Many of those places have gone back to the original way of doing business, which often didn't include people and women of color.
Organizations hired a boatload of DEI experts last year. These experts are now in positions where they are expected to fulfill the actions of those diversity plans and statements presented in corporate America, higher education, and any number of places around the world. For many, allies and leaders have laid the problems in the laps of people of color who often don't control fiscal or human resources and are not in positions to move needles of systemic oppression by themselves.
It is time for transparency and time to have authentic conversations that did not happen before the pandemic. According to Monica Torres, many employees don't want to return to the office post-pandemic.
That speaks volumes.
Who wants to go back to oppression in all its forms? Who wants to work in a place where injustices are ignored? Who wants to be beaten up every day?
People of color want the freedom written in those organizational diversity statements. We deserve more than what we are being offered. We don't want consolation prizes.
It is time to hold these organizations accountable. We will never go back to how things were.