It’s complicated.

If you are involved in any way in Diversity and Inclusion efforts at your company, you know that it’s complicated. Even more so in today’s climate where media is filled with protests, rallies, travel bans, elections, manifestos, class action law suits, c-level resignations, and more.

I don’t have answers. I just know that as a lifelong Asian American cisgender female who has faced all kinds of oppressions (micro and macro) from all sides, I am tired. No, I am fatigued. My today focus is the law of conservation of energy – conserve energy so I can get up every day and simply do my job.

Underestimated, dismissed, talked over, interrupted, ignored, passed over, spit on, yelled at, pushed around, ch*nk, b*tch, g**k, just a woman, submissive, subjugated, invisible, do you speak English, go back to where you came from, are they talking about me at the nail salon, all men want asian women, china doll, dragon lady.

Leaders, know this. Some on your team are fatigued. Show your empathy. Zoom out and give space to those who are war weary. It matters.

Ask a simple coaching question: How are you taking care of yourself?

Some powerful recent articles that explains different sides of the topic – what creates the fatigue and how the privileged are reacting:

From Bennett (1986), he created a framework that assessed cultures along a spectrum of awareness: ethnocentric or ethnorelative. Which stage is your culture in?

Ethnocentric means one’s own culture is experienced as central to reality in some way. In the denial stage, one’s own culture is experienced as the only real one, and consideration of other cultures is avoided by maintaining psychological or physical isolation from differences. In the defense stage, one’s own culture (or an adopted culture) is experienced as the only good one, and cultural difference is denigrated. In minimization, elements of one’s own cultural worldview are experienced as universal, so that despite acceptable surface differences with other cultures, essentially those cultures are similar to one’s own.

… Ethnorelative meaning that one’s own culture is experienced in the context of other cultures. In acceptance, other cultures are included in experience as equally complex but different constructions of reality. In adaptation, one attains the ability to shift perspective in and out of another cultural worldview; thus one’s experience potentially includes the different cultural experience of someone in another culture. In integration, one’s experience of self is expanded to include movement in and out of different cultural worldviews.”