I’ve been getting on my soap box a lot lately, a lot and I keep joking with friends that I should climb down and keep a bit more quiet. But why? It contradicts everything I’m about, it contradicts everything I write about. I keep saying Be fierce. So it’s about time I started putting my money where my mouth is because quite frankly, no one made a difference by staying quiet. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jnr, Malala Yousafazi, Ghandi, Emmeline Pankhurst and so many more did not make a difference by keeping quiet or worrying about effecting others.
So what am I banging on about today. Well the other day I had an interesting conversation with a couple of friends, we were talking about over coming adversity as well as helping others. One of these girls is the most inspirational people I know, but then again, I’m also one of the most inspirational people I know. Yes I said it and yes I am, why? Well not just because me and her have both picked ourselves back up after shit times, but also because we actively seek to fight for what is right, what we believe in and our good morals. During our chat, she told me about a programme she is participating in, in order to make underrepresented groups feel empowered and confident in the workplace and I shared about the work I’ve been doing to support other victims of domestic abuse rebuild their lives and confidence. Because that’s what we both believe, helping people and giving people a fair chance.
Please note my use of the word people.
Because it’s a people’s world.
I was criticised awhile back, being told (and I quote) “oh god, you’re one of those bloody feminists that hates men!” Needless to say I told this gentleman what a feminist actually is and that I don’t hate men, but I do hate bigots and ignorance. And that’s the truth. I don’t hate men, I don’t hate anyone, I dislike people that show ignorance, selfishness and disrespect. Yes, I do want to empower women and yes I’m a mixed race woman that is ambitious and keen to make a difference but that doesn’t mean I hate a particular group of people, it doesn’t mean I hate men, or hate people of a different ethnic background. That would be hypocritical and in reality all I hate is micro-aggression, the ill treatment or lack of opportunities provided to someone based on their gender/race/religion/sexuality or whatever else. I believe in fair chances.
Someone not long ago turned to me and said that women aren’t successful, that as much as we want to dress it up and say that we’ve women’s independence day etc, women are not as successful in life as men and that it is a man’s world. This has stayed with me for awhile, it’s actually angered me to be honest – not the person that said it and not because they said it, but that it’s what is believed. It’s sad that still in this day and age, people are resigning themselves to the fact that something out of their control, dictates to how successful they will be. That it extinguishes their ambition and reduces their drive and desire to push forward and improve. It’s not a man’s world, it’s not any one person’s world, it’s a people’s world and no matter what, if you want to achieve something then strive to achieve it and do not let anything or anyone stand in your way.
Success is measured in different ways and we should not be comparing ourselves to each other, for some success is the wage they earn, the car they drive or the house they live in, for other’s it’s the difference they make, the impact they have or the good morals and manners they instill in their children. I want to say I’m only the latter, but let’s face it, I’d also like to drive around in a Ferrari if I could! Whatever you deem as success though, the only thing that should make it difficult should be things in your control, things you can address and overcome such as the skills you need to learn, the hurdles you need to overcome, the habits you need to develop and strategies you need to implement. Not who or what you were born as or with.
That said, I also don’t want my success to be because I’m a mixed race woman, I don’t want it to be because I’m heterosexual or because I don’t have a physical disability. I don’t want it to be because of anything out of my control. I want to be successful because of my hard work, my dedication to a given cause, because of my talents and recognition of what I can and will do. I don’t want to be successful because my face fits, I want to be successful despite whether it does or not, I want to be successful because of me and the attributes I bring to the table. Not a single person should accept that they won’t and can’t achieve something because of their background, they should be fighting it to make it despite them and calling people out on their conscious and unconscious biases, me included, if I get it wrong, if I make an assumption, call me out on it, I’m not perfect and I don’t always get it right but I strive to be fair so help me do so.
It’s not any one person or group’s world. It’s a people’s world and I’m not sitting back and not fighting to make a difference just because I do or don’t tick certain boxes on a data collection form.