He: “In the present climate, this doesn’t look good. Does it? Two white men, Clifford and I, leading this place.”
Me: ‘I think it’s great as you both know your stuff and work well together. Also, the organization is gaining strength and reputation under your leadership. Give it at least another year before you change anything. Everyone’s happy.’
He: “Yes, but … it doesn’t look good.”
Me: ‘What do you mean? Who’s looking? So long as the job is done well and the purpose of the organization is served, I don’t see the problem.’
He: “Yes, but, could I ask you to be my Deputy?”
Me: ‘Oh. Me? Hmm. What does the role entail?’
He: “I will find out the details and let you know.”
Me: ‘So, you are offering me a role and you don’t know what it is?’
He: ‘Yes. But I’ll let you know very soon.’
Me: “If you don’t know what the job is, how can you offer it to anyone? How can you know that I am capable of doing it?”
This was wrong at so many levels. Don’t use people to make you look good. See beyond their ethnicity and gender and think about the job at hand. Think about their abilities and aptitudes. Remember meritocracy? Would you have a doctor or a lawyer or a car mechanic or an architect look after you only because they had particular demographics or because they had the right credentials and were bloody good at their jobs?
Moreover, my colleagues would know that my promotion had little to do with my capabilities or performance and everything to do with the fact that I am a ‘woman from a minority community’. It would be insulting. No. Thank you.
We are one race – the Human race. Each individual, fully deserving to be seen as their unique self, way beyond their gender or color or creed. Let’s not loose the plot altogether.