People of Color




What do you mean when we say people of color? How did we arrive at this? When we say some are colored does it mean some are colorless? The more I think about this broad classification of the human race into white and colored the more it does not make sense. In our attempt to come up with a simple classification scheme we have created a distortion of the human family that is not necessary. That is why it is necessary to visit this issue and make the necessary changes.

The marketplace is becoming more and more diversified and you will sooner or later work on a team with people who do not look like you. Your effectiveness in interacting with the members of your team will be determined by how you view the color classification scheme that is currently in place.

Is color to you more than the shade of somebody’s skin? In order words do you use the melanin content of somebody’s skin to evaluate their ability to contribute to your team? Do you think somebody’s performance and output is determined by the color of their skin?

Do you think some people do not deserve to be on the team solely because of the color of their skin? Do you reject ideas and contributions from other team members, because you “know” or have been told that people of a certain complexion cannot deliver? Are stereotypes preventing you from maximizing your interactions with other members of your team? It is time for you to drop your stereotypes and begin interacting with your team members based on who they really are and not on the color of their skin.

The companies that are going to survive in the future are those that don’t only pay lip service to diversity but are proactive in unlearning the negative stereotypes used in qualifying other humans.

We have come a long way, but there is a longer road ahead of us. Let us do away with our lazy classification of the human family. If we want to come up with the colors of the human skin let us not use two big brushes to paint two colors. Let us be courageous enough to ensure that every shade of color is represented. My hair is black and I have a hard time understanding why my skin is considered black. Really? Are we color blind?  Maybe the four year old who told her mum, “I have seen a brown baby”, gets it and most of the adults do not. My wife was at the store with our five month old baby and overheard a four year old boy telling her mother that he has seen a brown baby.

Whoever came up with the people of color classification failed to capture the complexity of the color spectrum of human skin pigmentation and it is time to revisit it. You can participate by refusing to use this broad language when interacting with others.


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