Last week I had a consult with a woman who said, “I’m surprised to see you showing up, you know especially since you don’t see people like us showing up.”
She meant women of color.
I know where she’s coming from. When you look around in leadership or coaching spaces, you don’t see much diversity.
As a woman of colour it can feel intimidating to be visible because you look different. For me, being an immigrant added another layer of complexity because my experiences often don’t match those of the dominant culture I live in.
If you’re stuck here, the first bit of work I recommend is looking at your own internalized racism.
Here’s an excerpt from Thought Co. that might help:
“In a society where racial prejudice thrives in politics, communities, institutions and popular culture, it’s difficult for people of color to avoid absorbing the racist messages that constantly bombard them. Thus, people of color sometimes adopt a white supremacist mindset that results in self-hatred and hatred of their respective racial group.
Those suffering from internalized racism, for example, may loathe the physical characteristics that make them racially distinct such as skin color, hair texture, or eye shape. Others may stereotype those from their racial group and refuse to associate with them. And some may outright identify as White.
Overall, those suffering from internalized racism buy into the notion that White people are superior to people of color. Think of it as Stockholm Syndrome in the racial sphere.”
Do you believe that you deserve less visibility, leadership, or success because you’re a woman of colour?
So many of us are hiding because we’ve unconsciously agreed with white supremacy culture.
We’ve unconsciously agreed that we shouldn’t be too loud or too bold, or too visible. Beyond this unconscious agreement is a whole other layer of trauma that’s carried in our ancestry. Like my friend Swapna Thomas said, “When for 300 years your ancestors have been told that they are not good enough, it percolates in your soul.”
I’ve been where you are, and this is the exact reason why we must show up.
Being visible and loud about the world changing work you offer is how you’ll change the culture.
Being visible and seen as a leader no matter what your ethnicity is how you’ll change the culture.
If you want to see more brown women lead, be the one to go first.
If you want to see more big women lead, be the one to go first.
If you want more diverse coaches, entrepreneurs or leaders, be the one to go first.
There’s someone on the other end whose going to be so grateful to see a woman like you take up space.
P.S. I help female leaders, coaches & entrepreneurs lead with courage. If being visible in the world, offering and selling your services, leading workshops or trainings in your field feels intimidating, this is exactly what I can help you with. Click here to grab a free call to see if working together is the next right step for you.
P.P.S. I’m not an expert on diversity or inclusion, so please take what serves and leave the rest. I’m sharing my own experiences here and sometimes I might say the wrong thing. That said, I’m always open to feedback on using more appropriate language or phrasing, and am always willing to do better.
Photo by CoWomen