Communication is undoubtedly one of the most important skills to hone. Understanding diversity and race within America are a journey that begins at a self-personal level with life experiences that is vibrant and complex in recognizing differences. Differences within it are influenced by where people live. The life of a typical Black young Liberian-American man, like myself, is characterized by socioeconomic backgrounds and individual lives experiences with race and privileges. These factors influence how I view the world.
So far, in my life, I have learned that race and communicating social identity matters. It’s the platform in understanding one’s socioeconomic backgrounds. In America, some of us hold this belief that a socioeconomic background is often measured as a combination of privileged, race and occupation. Which is commonly conceptualized as the social standing or class of races or cultural group. When viewed through a social class lens, privilege, power, and control are emphasized.
As a Black young Liberian-American man in America, I am constantly aware that I am not as privileged as the dominant (European) “White” race. Given my experiences with a company that I used to work for, I was always faced with the struggle of not being good enough due to the pigmentation of my skin. Even though I put forth hard work through compassion with the effort of climbing the ladder, but I was brushed to the side and pay raises and promotion was given to my “White” friend who I brought to the company.
He had always expressed his frustrations to me that it was a sad thing that people still carried on those foul practices. It is a systemic strain that remains ubiquitous, and the challenge is not a small number of twisted and racist individuals but something infinitely more subtle and complex: People who believe in equality sometimes act in ways that perpetuate bias and inequality. For those who have privileges based on race, it is just as normal because they live within their reality. The Random House Webster’s Dictionary (1993) defines privilege as “a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most.”