Staying Professional and Authentic
Because of assimilation we all, to some extend, code switch in a professional setting or when speaking with someone who has a prestige title or is from an upper class. This is done sub-consciously or consciously. Alternating forms of communications happens often to many individuals who are then left to question their authenticity when assimilating.
Changing your way of speaking takes a lot of energy and jaw structuring, not to mention, modifying our vocal cords. Vocal cords are the essence of who we are just as is our facial features like eyes and noses and definitely identifies who we are as much as our hair does.
However, you can still remain authentic to your culture or ethnicity at school or college and anywhere else. Your name and everything about you is usually the origin of who you are. If you have an accent or a name that takes pronunciation, it is vital to pronounce your name the way it should be pronounced. Your name should not be dumb down for the sake of someone inability (or patience) to learn how to pronounce your name correctly. Not suppressing your vocal cords is important. Say your name, loud (well heard) and proud. Speak with certainty of who you are and have confidence in how you represent yourself.
If you enter a room and you are the minority in the group, understand that the time to be real and be less assimilated is now, while still staying professional and authentic. Many times, people of color become the butt of jokes or have to hear stories or sometimes be subjected to a racial slur because you are that “one friend that’s cool or not like them”. If this situation occurs, don’t become emotional. Stay professional by remaining competent in the environment that you are in and be driven solely by these skills rather than having your emotions triggered.
Nonetheless, it’s good to note that during these times, you can win by putting the situation on blast but in a respectable purposeful serve. If a conversation comes up that revolves around diversity take advantage by pointing out some of the benefits that could come about if true diversity and inclusion was among the room of guest, and leaders. Study shows that people feel better about themselves when they see themselves in a powerful role because it is less stressful living up to an expectation that is less authentically you.
Be secure and conscious when you are slowly shifting to thinking that representing a lesser you will get you in the doors or a better opportunity. Sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it does but at a greater price that you may not want to endure.