Last week, while in great spirits and with a touch of matter-of-fact humor, I penned a quick update on Facebook confirming the “status” of Black History Month, after reports surfaced debating the use of the descriptor “Black vs. African American”.
To say my remarks hit a chord within my network and beyond would be an understatement.
I’ve gone through life wearing quite a few names and badges, most of which were created by others, for me. As I’ve grown in age and experience, I’ve been intentional about defining myself for myself. I’ve coached others in environments like ours to find their power and voice by doing to same. In fact, I closed my remarks on Facebook by simply stating: #OwnYourNarrative. That could have been a “drop the mic” comment on its own, because it’s the entire point.
As marketers, we bear an awesome responsibility to be curious, fearless, and even imperfect. For the sake of being politically correct, we often avoid questions like, “How do you identify?” or “What term would you prefer I use…?” for fear that they could be seen as negative or even racially charged.
Fear kills curiosity. And lack of curiosity kills creativity. When we decide to be fearless and curious while exercising grace through our imperfections, we begin to see simple truths like those found in the beauty of someone’s definition of themselves. Check out this Buzzfeed video for an awesome example.
As we celebrate Black History Month at DigitasLBi, I invite you to be curious, fearless, and imperfect. Across the country, ONYX — our Black Employee & Ally Network — has a month of amazing activities planned. I encourage you to check out some of the events and spend time with the people in your office who have worked to create them.
Want to learn more? Reach out to your local ONYX, Company Life and Talent leads, or simply drop me a line!
Ronnie Dickerson is Vice President, Director Talent Engagement & Inclusion, North America