#HERcollective Contributor: Kayla Greaves (@KaylaAGreaves)
Over the last few years, the term “diversity” has become somewhat trendy.
Companies and other organizations alike seem to be throwing this word around to prove to the world that they finally acknowledge, that women, people of colour, LGBTQ folks and others who fit into this “category” exist, and are just as capable as white men of getting the job done.
And while the concept of diversity can be seen as, and in general is a positive thing, I hate that this is even a topic of discussion in the first place.
Non-white people didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. We have literally been here since the beginning of time. And the fact that it is only now recognized that we deserve a dog in the race is infuriating.
What troubles me even more is that I’m not sure these companies are truly being genuine. Do these CEOs really care if their staff is comprised of LGBTQ people? Are they really concerned whether or not people of colour are making vital decisions for the company? Do they truly believe in these employee’s creative visions? Or do they just want to capitalize off of us because diversity is profitable?
Over the summer, I spoke with Canadian model Shivani Persaud for the Huffington Post. She recently worked on the #AllWomanProject, a campaign that’s centered around showing women of all ethnicities and shapes and sizes in one single editorial campaign. As a woman of colour, Persaud too worries that when it comes to diversity, the ideas that companies and brands are publicly embracing may be a facade.
“Honestly I’m very scared that it’s just a trend,” she shared with me. “I’m scared that it’s convenient because of what’s happening in the world right now. I’m scared people are picking up on it to seem ‘socially conscious’ but they’re really just bullshitters.”
The model continued, “There’s a part of me that prays it’s real. I mean, I’m going to try my best to make it real because for me, the stuff I experience isn’t a trend — it’s my life.”
Like Persaud, as a woman of colour this is my life too. And while I’m ecstatic to see other women and groups who look like me (and those who don’t) be included in these previously white-only spaces, I long for the day when we can just be a part of the everyday narrative. I long for the day when everyone no longer feels the need to scream from the rooftops that they’ve involved a black girl, a trans man or a hijabi woman in the conversation, or made them visible. I long for the day when PoC, LGBTQ groups and others can simply just be included without us having a word for it. And I crave the day when children can turn on the TV, enter an office building or look at a billboard and see themselves being represented, no matter who they are.