This is quite a sensitive topic for me to openly talk about so please bear with me!
I’m not one to ever play the card of victimization of being a minority, as an underprivileged brown little woman. I’ve always worked hard regardless of circumstances. Who knows? Perhaps I’d be further along if I were not a minority but we’ll never know because frankly looking this is all I know!
It is for this reason that I truly appreciate the movement of ‘inclusivity’.
Yet a far more painful experience that I’ve had (first hand) is the fact that I also never looked like a scientist/researcher. While I could deal with being a minority, the latter was far more painful to deal with.. Both women and men have had things to say about my looks. I tried to accommodate by trying to play the part. Yet people never seemed satisfied.
Just a few examples to illustrate the point: older American man comes up to me after one of my talks, remarking my skinny jeans. A conservative woman from Africa said she’d be embarrassed to invite me to give talks in her home country. A Christian American woman said she couldn’t take me seriously because of the way I looked, and the list goes on.. all this and many more despite the fact that my research and scientific findings were quite valid, cutting edge, and added value to the body of scientific knowledge.
Despite all this it never occurred to me to stop my work simply because my research is the air in my lungs, something I cannot live without.
So for those few people who are open minded, I truly appreciate the movement of inclusivity because those who think for themselves have surpassed the superficialities and are able to hear us out despite the fact that some of us just don’t look like scientists/researchers!
Happy thanksgiving 🍁