FEBRUARY 1, 2022
Don’t Call Me A Minority
A few days ago, I was chatting casually with a White male friend when he said, “I’ve talked to other minorities about this and heard that…”
I cut him off, firmly but politely. “Hold on!” I said.
He knew something was wrong and froze.
I said, “I’m not a ‘minority.’”
My friend looked confused. “You’re going to have to explain that to me,” he said. “You are still Black, right?”
“And Beautiful,” I said. “But the term ‘minority’ implies a ‘less than or different.’ I’m not a minority. I’m me, and I have power, influence, and impact. In fact, I’m part of many ‘majorities.’”
He thought about this. “You’re right,” he said. “I didn’t think of it that way. My apologies, and thank you for sharing.”
And we continued with our conversation.
Labels are Limiting
Calling Black people and other people of color a minority is disempowering. It’s just another label in a long line of labels. Slave. Negro. Colored. Underrepresented. Minority.
A label puts the person in a box. No matter what they do or say, they can’t get out of that box. The label defines them.
To bring my complete identity to a conversation, including Black, Woman, Mom, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Muslim, Boss, Coach, Engineer, Intelligent, Entrepreneur, Wise, Strategic, Creative, Giving, Intuitive, and Expertise – I can’t be seen as stuck inside a box given to me by someone else. I must be seen as unapologetic and uniquely myself.
Names have power, so if you don’t like the name someone is giving you, it’s an opportunity for you to educate, inform and to walk in your power – by telling them how you are not a label.
Your personhood should be about how YOU move in the world, not a box someone else puts you in to make them feel comfortable or for you to feel accepted by others.
Organization At Its Best Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Tawana Bhagwat, has more than twenty-five years of experience directing Human Resource administration, change management, learning and development, facilitation, DEIB, and executive coaching.