People who take this message personally should consider why that is, instead of worrying about my “tone.” My tone is dead serious. I’m OK with that.
It’s pretty simple: If you’re making a “best of” list and don’t know a person of color within your network to add (because let’s face it — most of the time the people you add are people you know), ASK SOMEONE OF COLOR. GOOGLE IT. CALL IN A FAVOR.
You might be thinking, “why should I do that? Isn’t that tokenism? Doesn’t that compromise the integrity of my piece?” If you’re thinking that, you may want to google “asshole.” But before that, consider this — YES. You are 100% correct. It is tokenism. It is completely tokenism if you are a journalist or someone who is supposed to be able to figure things out and parse information, and you and your peers at your company have no idea who poc leaders are in this country in the field you’re covering.
So, you end up having to scramble to find “someone brown” to add to your list. And? So what? What is wrong with making up for the fact that your world is sadly so white and that up until this point you never bothered to attain a comprehensive knowledge of leaders in each industry? Because the fact is that there are people of color in every industry making moves.
Yes, there are people of color working in the industry that YOU’RE covering, doing incredible things, that you’ve somehow “overlooked.” And if this knowledge is a surprise to you, and you are an editorial lead making up lists and influencing popular culture with your “expertise,” you have more important things to worry about than my motherfucking tone.
Isn’t it interesting how bigots and lazy people want me to “put some sugar on it”? Why should I coddle your unprofessionalism? Sorry, I’m not being paid to do that. And as long as I have a breath left in me, I will continue to call out publications and networks that sloppily “forget” or “don’t know how” to ensure diversity in their editorial strategy.
It’s your job to know how to find out information. Do your fucking job and in the process you’ll make a positive difference in this world — while being paid for it.