Who are the Othered?
Sometimes when I look at my children, I wonder about the career paths they will choose in life. Vizuri is six years old and demonstrates an inclination toward creative and artistic tasks like drawing and making things with her hands. Emery is five and full of personality with a knack for language acquisition and communication skills. Mkazo, who just turned four, is my most active child and enjoys anything that involves movement! My little ones are young and likely have many years, before they need to make career decisions, but I still think about their current skill sets and their future value within the economic market.
I believe that my children will develop the skills and talents that will enable them to be successful in any entrepreneurial or employment options. I’m not concerned with the type of career my children will select, but I am conscious of the current diversity and inclusion trends among United States’ companies. Yes, we currently live in Mexico, and I remain concerned about the economic opportunities available to my children and people who are often othered in the United States.
To be othered is to belong to any group who is not racially identified as White, heterosexual, and male. Examples of the population who are othered include people socially identified as Black or African-American, Hispanic or Latina (o) (x), Asian, Pacific Islander, women, gay, lesbian, transgendered persons, fluid, etc. My concern about the economic plight of people who are othered within society stems from observations of the business community.
There is ample space for improvement among leadership roles within Fortune 500 companies. One study reports that there are only five African- American CEOs among the businesses that made Forbes’ Fortune 500 list and only 28% report to employing women as directors. This lack of diversity within executive levels of leadership reflects the necessity of significant changes within society and in particular, corporate culture.
The goal of any successful business is to identify a problem, create innovative products or services to address the defined problem, and to most definitely make money! As stated in a previous post, a diverse and inclusive work environment has the potential to improve products, expand services, and increase profit margins. A report published in the Harvard Business Review argues that companies with diverse employees and inclusive workplaces produce more innovative products and services. One component of these results is related to employing others because they can encourage the interruption of group thinking that typically occurs among homogenous groups.
It is possible that my children will choose to create their businesses or identify jobs that bring them fulfillment. The fact that they are othered will likely influence their decision to pursue employment or entrepreneurial options. As a father, my primary role is to provide emotional and financial support as they discover the callings for their lives. However, as a Black male born in the United States, I also understand the challenges that people who are othered encounter to secure lucrative and fulfilling economic opportunities.
Are you a human resource manager or an executive leader interested in employing people who are and creating work environments where everyone’s voices are heard? Contact me at VernonLindsay@vlindsayphd.com and let's schedule an opportunity for me to provide a workshop for you and your staff.