I have a love hate relationship with this blog. I hate that I have to write about this content. To me a lot of what I write is common sense, or should be. But then, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that common sense isn’t all that common.
Which brings me to why I love this blog. I don’t actually have to write about this content. I do it because I think it helps. I hope it does. In its own small way, my blog expands the dialogue around diversity and inclusion in the workplace, its value and its challenges, and it gets people thinking. At least, I assume it does based on the comments I get from each post.
But this week I wondered – have I been poisoned by this content?
I follow a YouTuber named Chriselle Lim. She’s a fabulous Asian fashion influencer whose elegant style, authenticity and high production value I appreciate. She posted a video this week with her husband where they talked frankly about their relationship, and viewers had the opportunity to submit questions, which Lim read on camera.
She read one question – it’s at 7:56 in the video – and I posted this comment:
“It seemed dodgy when you said “Laurita (sp?), of course…” right before the how do you keep it sexy question. Some might infer/make a negative connection/assumption between ethnicity and sex…
As one content developer to another, my intention was to point out something she might be unaware of, not to start problems or be hateful. I can tell this woman works hard at her business, and it would be a shame for her to inadvertently earn grief. I know how easy it is to say or do the wrong thing or give the wrong impression because you just don’t know something.
My comment got quite a few responses. Including:
Devon Pfeifer Girl, no one was thinking that. She might know that person, or was expecting a question like that before reading it out loud.
emilyshmelimy Kellye Whitney If someone does that they’re trying way too hard to be offended.
My comment also got an explanation:
MudLusciousSteph When she said Laurita, Chriselle was referring to Laura, her Director of Operations, whose IG handle is @lalaurrrita. Given how close Chriselle and Laura are (she was with Chriselle from the beginning), I think the implication was, “Of course, I can count on you to ask this question, Laura!” (She also pronounced it how Laura would pronounce Laurita herself.)
MudLusciousSteph Kellye Whitney, just thought you might like to know some of the context of the comment. 😊 (Believe me, I’m always on the look out for instances of stereotypes/prejudice in the media myself, so I understand.)
I so appreciate that explanation, and it was delivered in a caring and thoughtful way, which brings me back to my point. “MudLusciousSteph” said that like me, she too is hyper aware of stereotypes/prejudice in the media. But have we been poisoned? Is my worldview too…perverted for lack of a better word, by a continuous diet of diversity-themed material, most of which is negative?
I’ve often wondered who would I be if I did not look through every life lens with a race and gender filter. I suspect I’d be happier, calmer, more focused and more optimistic. I might also be more confused, less aware, less empathetic and certainly less sympathetic to the plight of those who have fewer advantages than I do.
Would that be better? They say ignorance is bliss. Yet, few people like surprises, and so much of the negative information we receive about diversity and inclusion in the workplace and elsewhere is surprising. If only because I often can’t believe I’m hearing or reading what I am.
But I hate to think that doing this work is actually hurting me in some way. That it’s not just contributing to a valuable dialogue, or potentially making someone think and act in a way that serves them and others better. It might be warping my perception or shaping me in a way that goes against everything I believe in.
What do you think? Your thought patterns and behavior can certainly be colored – pun intended – by the information you seek out and absorb. But can too much of a certain type of information actually poison you? And if it does, what’s the antidote?