Why A Piece of Meghan Markle
Lives In All Of Us
Hey BYP Network,
We're only two weeks into 2020 and already it seems like so much has happened. With the Australia fires and Iran protests, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's announcement to step back from their royal duties was another surprise that many of us didn't see coming.
What proved no shock, however, was the reaction of the British public. The vitriol facing Meghan Markle highlighted exactly why Prince Harry and Meghan decided to make a royal exit. Over the course of the last two years, I think all of us have felt an added sympathy for Meghan. From the moment that the coupling was made public in 2016, Meghan has been hounded by the press. Whether it's a criticism of how she decides to hold her baby bump, her outfit choice or even the language she uses, the British media has consistently bullied, attacked and mocked Meghan. If you compare articles about Kate to Meghan, Kate is regaled for the same things Meghan is torn down for. And, we all know why.
Now that Meghan has decided enough is enough, it appears that both the British media and public have been blindsided about her maltreatment. Many are questioning, why would Meghan do such a thing?
I stand in solidarity with Meghan. For me, there's a piece of her that lives in all of us. The world of work for minorities, specifically those of us who are black, is not a place in which we can hide. By virtue of our visibility, assimilation does not and will not work. It isn't enough for us to hide who we are, to try and 'fit in' to make others comfortable or to pretend. At a time when racism, classism and sexism are more widespread than ever, as demonstrated by world leaders such as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, it's time for us to speak up and out, build strong communities and be your authentic self more than ever.
In this vein, here are four pieces of advice on being your authentic self that we can all heed from Meghan.
Pick Your Battles
In the same way that Meghan's friends warned her about the British press (for good reason), it's important for you to pick your battles and to know what you're up against in the world of work. Investigate the company's culture and see if it's the sort of place you want to work. If you've heard not-so-positive comments from former black employees, take these on board.
Know Your Limits
We all saw Meghan putting on a brave face - prior to the royal wedding, during the royal wedding and even after the birth of her son, Archie. We all felt a deep pang of pain in our chest when Meghan had officially had it and announced 'I'm not OK.' Enough was enough for her. Putting on a brave smile doesn't always work. Know your limits - don't always wait things out hoping they'll get better.
In the same way that Meghan and Harry said they were suing a newspaper for publishing Meghan's private letter and raised issues such as unconscious bias and discrimination, it's important to know when to take that next step. They put their feelings out there and let the public know they'd had enough. Do this - let your company know what you're going through by speaking to your manager, HR advisor or seek external advice to help change your situation.
Let It Go
If you don't see change happening, know it's OK to walk away. I'm not telling you all to quit your jobs, but don't force yourself to stay somewhere you feel undervalued, maligned or where your mental, emotional or physical health is being compromised. Assess your situation: are you in a position to walk away? Can you find a different job first at a company that accepts you? Do you have savings? Meghan and Harry have the ability to live independently, something they assessed before they quit. They're now off to Canada - somewhere where they'll be accepted and celebrated for who they are and what they believe in. The same can be said for where you decide to work. There are millions of companies with great working environments and company cultures: seek them out. Life is precious and life is short.
Let's all take a leaf out of Meghan's book this week,
Join Us For Our 2020 App Launch
Extra Earlybird Tickets Added
Our 2020 App Launch is taking place on the evening of Thursday 30th January. Have you got your tickets yet? We've added extra earlybird tickets for a limited time. For a chance to secure your attendance for £12.50, buy your ticket here before midnight tonight. After this, ticket prices will rise to £17.50.
Expect a night of panel talks, presentations, canapes, networking, live music and the unveiling of our app at Cargo, Shoreditch. Our panellists - Ashleigh Ainsley (Color in Tech) and Vanessa Sanyuake (Girls Tal