To the Ivy League Institution Selling Online Diversity Credentials:
Let’s establish clear boundaries. Please get your advertisements out of my feed. However, since you saw fit to clutter my life with your marketing campaign, I have a few things to say about it.
For decades, people of color have been doing or attempting to do necessary “diversity” work as good-hearted employees only to get regularly disrespected and shoved to the side by colleagues and institutions alike. Getting a certificate from your institution does not make anyone qualified to speak for diversity.
Dealing with near constant oppression in personal and professional life, always having to work harder, be smarter, constantly turn the other cheek to daily offenses, and still get shit on by supposed peer professionals and the bureaucracies that protect them makes people of color automatic experts in what you are attempting to teach. We are also experts in how the unexamined exercise of privilege and power makes such “diversity” work completely vacuous drivel.
Stepping up as an authentic ally willing to dismantle personal privilege and structural mechanisms that allow you to keep that privilege – that’s true diversity work. Certificates from any Ivy League institution are transparent for what they are: tools to further your own career, not to do the revolutionary and very personal work of seeking justice for all. Listen to and support people of color in the workplace and in your communities. That’s all you need to do to exercise true diversity training.
Anyone who ever flaps an Ivy League diversity certificate in my face automatically looses my respect, trust and any chance to work collaboratively with a trilingual, multicultural PhD activist, ceremonialist, social analyst, liberation pedagogy professor, priestess, triple certified advanced energy worker, shamanic healer, grant-writer and fundraiser extraordinaire. My people of color friends and professional collegas feel the same way. Many left a “laughing ’till I cry” 😂 icon on your original advertisment post.
Instead of attempting to commodify diversity credentials, try encouraging people to read my essays and do the necessary inner work instead. Perhaps then people of color will be receptive to working with you towards our collective liberation. We don’t owe you an iota of our time, particularly since y’all collectively spent our professional and fellow human good will long ago.
In the timeless words of the unnamed bandido in Treasure of the Sierra Madre, this essay is a proud declaration of, “We don’t need no stinking badges!” We do the work of collective liberation with every breathe we take. What real-life painful self examination and dismantling of your own unearned privilege are you willing to do? The answer to that question reveals oodles about who you truly are and what kind of world we can hope to built together. Think on that and don’t call us, we’ll call you.
For Peace & Justice, Wild Womanista
Dr. Ramona Lee Pérez