The “Creative” Diaspora Problem of the Workplace

After immersing myself with the culture(s) of the entertainment industry, my eyes started to skim around and the realization I was the only person of an ethnic background. I began to wonder as to why this was- could it be the mere idea that this is an industry focused on entertainment, media, and the arts? I say this for those of the Asian descent, it is understood that our career paths would either be in the health or engineering/software industry.

Why is that there are certain cultures that are foreseen going into certain professions, and anyone who seems to go into any other field is considered an outlier? I guess the best way to describe this concept is to relate it to arranged marriages- at one point, any person who was of a different culture did not really have the chance to “love” or follow through with love, because their lives were predetermined. They would go through school, get an arranged marriage, and repeat the cycle to the next generation. Anyone who breaks this cycle would seem be creating a scandal and dishonoring their roots, but as time goes on; slowly, the new generation finds some of these old traditions taboo. They fight to break these traditions and eventually, their acts of “rebellion” get integrated into society.

Why can’t we be creative and make that a career? This is the other prevailing problem of society today, not only are there not enough of diverse people of color integrating with our job environment, but most of us are not encouraged to explore fields of interest that may excite us or make us happy.

Diversity may have a multitude of meanings in organizations, corporations, and communities with respect to different contexts. It’s been said that those of a different background have “significant influences” in the workplace, yet how many people of color are leading corporations or are holding high positions in America? Studies have “claimed” we make a difference but how? By making sure that we break our backs to keep the company afloat, only for them to take most, if not all the credit? This seems to paint an all too familiar picture…

Not only do we need make changes in terms of how we hire people, but we must also give all human beings an equal chance at roles of leadership. There may be some folks who are hesitant to seek such roles, probably due to the fact that they never were encouraged to do so and thus, they rather be “comfortable” than work creatively and in a field in which they excel. I speak on behalf of the South Asian Americans, and yes, it is known that we typically hold the highest levels of educations and we are considered “assets” in the workforce, but why can’t be break free of this stereotype and be seen not only as “assets” but “creative assets?” It may not necessarily mean we will make a ton of money, but at the least, there’s a chance at happiness and isn’t that what we look for at the end of the day, or is that concept completely lost?

The final thought here is deciding what kind of world you want your sons or daughters to grow up in. Will it be one where we are finally able to graciously accept people for who they are leading to a better way of doing business as well as establishing relationships along with unlocking new potentials? Or will it just be a world where we continue to accept the status quo presented before us? I feel I have an idea as to what needs to be done, it’s just a matter of spreading the word.

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