Aug. 2022, Milwaukee, Wisconsin - As a black, indigenous, and person of color (BIPOC), life in the greater Milwaukee area can be a real rollercoaster. In the one instance your family expects excellence, high achievement, and unwavering character. You quickly find out, however, that in other instances, the predominately white community views those attributes as a liability for BIPOCs looking for jobs.
More than 50% of the population in the City of Milwaukee, and 30-40% of the county, are people of color. This demographic would suggests that every company in the area would have a racially diverse workforce. But yet many companies in the area remain predominately white or only white. So, what is really going on?
Diversity and Inclusion: Companies claim it impossible to find qualified BIPOCs to hire, retain, and advance. Those same employers will support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs. Yet so many BIPOCs find themselves iced-out of employment opportunities. Do the knives come out for BIPOCs?
Protection of bigotry and/or racism has seemingly become more important than diversity, equity and inclusion.
Employers have plenty of reasons (or excuses) to deny the inclusion of BIPOCs. Or, if a BIPOC is hired at a company, without fail there is always one or two people who intentionally create a toxic environment that seeks to minimize, demean, or ridicule people of color. We may need to start calling out these employers. Usually, the guilty are the ones who proudly display exclusively white workforce while openly claiming that BIPOCs are simply not qualified or incapable of being a part of their organization. There is never a legitimate reason for any American company to exclude someone who is willing to work. Especially when that individuals is qualified, accomplished and has earned their chance to shine. Employers must be held accountable in their failure to extend opportunity to and supporting the success of BIPOCs.
SAFE SPACES WHERE DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION IS CELEBRATED
In 2022 and beyond, let us all call for more spaces where BIPOCs can be nurtured, encouraged, and celebrated for their excellence. Instead of sitting back while bigotry continues to influence and interrupt progress, each of us should feel a sense of duty to support environments where we all can thrive.