OUTRAGED…Mr. Sterling, Me and You!

Typically I’m not outraged by the ignorant things I see, in my line of work I’d go crazy if I let it affect me, but today I AM OUTRAGED! I suppose it’s been brewing but after reading comments from an article in TIME from Karim Abdul-Jabbar I couldn’t keep it in. Abdul-Jabbar, along with other commentators, questioned why we weren’t outraged about Mr. Sterling’s discriminatory business practices in 2006 and 2009 but now somehow the thing that puts us over the edge is “this ridiculous conversation with his girlfriend” and I have to strongly agree. And no this isn’t a reiteration of what you have read several times on other blogs.

I own a firm focused on Diversity and Inclusion and Personal Development, yet my work is often met with comments like “it’s really noble work” or “you must be a child of the 60’s” or my all-time favorite, “I don’t need any work in this area because I’m Black” Really! The lack of equality, respect, and inclusion in this world is not just the problem of racist like Mr. Sterling, it’s everybody’s problem. The fact that Mr. Sterling has made it to 80 years old and has amassed billions along the way tells me he has run across thousands of people who have rarely educated him or held him accountable for his actions. It also tells me he probably lacks true self-awareness and personal development is most likely low on the list of his priorities. Today you may say “well he’s too powerful to touch” Apparently not! But what about 70 years ago when his belief system was forming I wonder what some of us were doing then? What about 40 years ago, what were we doing and saying to him or the Sterlings’ in our own lives? What about in 2006/2009 when these and hundreds of other documented cases of inappropriate discriminatory business practices were happening, were you awake then? Regardless to how you self-identify, did it cause you to have conversations with your peers about race and inclusion? Did you take a class? Did you read a new article and follow its recommendations for inclusion? Do you assume you have no responsibility because you’re a “minority”? Did you accept my calls when I told you there is a problem in your department or your children’s school? After complaining about how terrible it is, did you engage in an open conversation with your friends of different backgrounds and races about solutions or was it about blame? Did you talk to your children? Did you check to see if you know what it means to create a more inclusive environment in the society in which you are a part of, that you are raising your children in today? Were you too busy for this type of conversation?

I continue to be outraged that as I happily serve as one of the best consultants in the world on the topic of Diversity and Inclusion not only do I have to still explain to people of all cultural backgrounds what I do and why it’s important, but I get to simultaneously listen to the mocking of the industry and yet hear the tears and societal outrage when something hits close to home. I’m OUTRAGED that we don’t seem to get that we are all part of the solution. We don’t seem to see anything wrong with prioritizing education and solutions on this subject at the bottom of the list while being impacted by it every day. It boggles my mind that I can make a Facebook post about inclusion or self-awareness/personal development on all 3 of my pages and maybe 10 out of the collective 2000 friends/fans actually take it in and the rest find it to be cute anecdotes that have nothing to do with real life. THIS IS REAL LIFE! Can we wake up to the fact that societal and self awareness/development or the lack thereof, impacts why Mr. Sterling is able to comfortably say these words, or have a mistress while still married, why Ms. Stiviano SECRETLEY taped the conversation in the first place, why we are okay with some tapings and affairs and not others, why we are so moved by this and not other atrocities that happen every day?

Outside of venting, I’m hoping that this latest Travon Martin, Paula Deen, Mr. Sterling incident causes YOU to take a look at yourselves not for the point of judgment but so you can be a better person, mother, father, friend, boss, and global citizen. I’m hoping that even some of my peers in the industry find time to connect with people day to day even if those people are not able to support their business priorities. So, when you finish punching holes in the style of this article or the areas where you’re in disagreement, I wonder will you stop and take an inward look? Will you ask yourself “what am I doing to create a more inclusive environment?” And yes, financial contributions to worthy causes that help the advancement of people are always welcome, but know that this distant approach is one of the main challenges in our society. We’re all so distant from one another and how we feel that it has become easy for hurtful words, infidelity, racism and depression to become such a normal acceptable part of our society. After writing this post maybe I’m not really outraged maybe, truthfully, I’m just sad and disappointed.