CIO & COO and Co-Founder Nikia Dx Group
The reality for someone who looks like me in a predominantly Anglo-Saxon environment is that I had to learn early on that I have to choose everyday how to find the “Zen” lane. That choice is entirely mine and it is the most important decision that I make every day. I experienced early on in my career that although I knew that I had $1.00 in my pocket just like my peers in the room, when it came time to put my money on the table to contribute to the pool of resources, the world sees 80 cents. So, before I entered the room, I worked harder to make sure that I had $1.50 just in case.
My lived experience is not unique. Every visible minority consciously or unconsciously understands this dynamic and we all either choose to put the extra resources in our pocket or resign ourselves to being seen as 4/5ths. Either option results in real opportunities to recede from being the best version of ourselves. Always being perceived as “less than” and working harder to prove the prejudgement inaccurate can create the opportunity for resentment. On the other hand, accepting that you’ll never be good enough, another prejudgement, creates opportunities for self-doubt and depression.
The balance that Visible Minorities face every day is to find that “Zen”, that balance in our lives where we understand the day ahead and make conscious choices about “How do I be my best self today?”.
That is what life is like as an unwilling participant in systems that were not built to be inclusive. Systemic inequality or racism is real. It’s insidious in its simplicity and devastating in its affect in keeping us all from being our best selves.