REFLECTION: WHY SEEING SOMEONE SUCCEED WHO LOOKS LIKE YOU IS IMPORTANT

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“They did it, so can I.”


As an African American man, I was able to witness the election our nation’s first Black President of the United States. And what transpired following was a young generation of Black males and females that became interested in politics. Whether it is aspiring to lead the nation one day, or even taking the rankings in their own communities. Seeing someone that looks like you in a position that normally people who look like you don’t hold is important. Because coincidentally enough, seeing someone that looks opposite of you is not enough to make you think you can succeed in your career field. When Democratic hopeful Hilary Clinton ran for president last year, young girls all over the country thought they would see the win of the first female president. But why, why is it so important to see you in certain places of employment succeeding?

Well, like I said prior, it has to do with not seeing someone that looks like you hold that position. I never think twice about growing up in America being a professional athlete because so many Black men are athletes. But there are other professions where we still very rarely take initiative to join. There are still very few Black male engineers, school teachers, and doctors. And come to think of it, I have seen very few even in my lifetime, professional Black men, who have held the previous employment positions. So when you don’t see it, you automatically rule it out as a potential career path. Even myself, I have ruled out so much in my lifetime because I never felt it was possible for me to do so. So what you have is a large population of men who aspire to do only a few chosen things where the odds are astronomical to succeed.

But what about gender, is it important to see a woman dominating in her field. Of course, it’s why so many young girls want to become models. It’s an industry where the women on average earn more of an income than the men. But we still don’t have enough women who are engineers, top corporate executives, and high rankings in the military. This year, even though Hilary Clinton did not win in 2016, so many females recently became mayors and council members in elections throughout the country this past election day. And with that, there is wave of younger women in their twenties who have taken to politics. Also with new tech companies popping up, it’s only a matter of time before more women start to enter this industry as well.

In the end, those who don’t understand why it’s important generally fall under the category of the norm. You’re used to seeing those that look like you in a position, so it becomes irrelevant. So you don’t need to be told or see someone because it’s a given. But until the society we live in is fully representative, you’ll always have people who look at life this way.


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SEEKING VALIDATION: THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-RESPECT

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“You don’t need, you just want to fit in so bad.”


Throughout my life, I never understood the need people have to fit in. And I don’t mean fitting into a society as a human. I mean fitting into these peer groups so that we don’t feel like we’re being left out. We would rather belong to a group that dictates how we live than to be free and be alone. Because who wants to live this life alone. But there is a far cry between being alone and lonely. Celebrities have people all around them and at times they are lonelier than those with no one around. So why do people feel like they need to fit it rather than treating it as a want.

It starts when we are young in school. The children ostracize you from the group if you are awkward. And what is defined as awkward is the kid that does not do what all the other kids are doing. So if you are a kid that walks to the beat of your own drum, you’re a loser. You’re a lame for not wanting to fit into the construct. The kids talk about you and laugh like you’re one of the weird kids. But this does not stop at childhood. It continues on into your teenage years and into adulthood. So we as adults say school bullying is wrong and then bullying takes on a new form once you become adults. People start to play with your head on a more business level. But we still have not gotten to the depths of why it matters to be validated so much.

And the reason being is that we as humans yearn for some form of companionship. And at times we are willing to subjugate ourselves to torment for that companionship. Because we all have these self-conscious feelings internally that we don’t want exposed to the world. This feeling that if we are exposed then no one will want to ever be around us. Yet if we all have it, no one can talk about anyone else. Then again, internal shame keeps us in check and adhering to each other. Maybe at a young age I was a different type of kid. Then again I am a different type of adult. And as an adult people respect you for who you are, not what you’re trying to be.

See, in the end, validation is proof that you are who you think you are; but only by way of how others see you. So you’re the greatest when people love you, and not so great when they reject you. Your identity should be your identity, not someone’s else’s vision. And what’s even more interesting, people, who are heads of these peer groups do as they wish. The more popular person sets the tone for everyone else. Which is a reality that we see throughout life. The head says something, and even if we disagree, we agree for the sake of fitting into the group.


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