The Perils Of Professionalism and Diversity

The Perils Of Professionalism and Diversity

The truth is the workspace is not a safe space. It is another space where survival becomes the default mode for oppressed people.
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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what “professionalism” is. This is a phenomenon that I have thought about in the past, but that hadn’t really affected me. I was fortunate and privileged enough to work jobs that are inclusive to a degree where I didn’t feel a need to censor myself — or at least censor myself to the point where I felt severely silenced. I knew I was lucky when I worked these jobs, but I didn’t realize how lucky until recently.

As I transition into different kinds of jobs that require more leadership out of me, I am coming to terms with the fact that professionalism is actually a white male-centric agenda. Again, I knew about this. The problem is that I knew about this intellectually and not in practice. So now that I am realizing how strenuous actually is, I have to reconcile it with the silencing I feel as a Muslim woman of color.

The problem with professionalism is that it alienates those who do not abide by the tacit rules it creates: poor people who do not have the access to the necessary clothing professionalism demands; woke people of color whose voices are silenced in the work space for the benefit of a “comfort” that makes it easier for others to digest their perspective; LGBTQ people whose presentation is deemed “unsuitable” for the workspace; hijabi Muslim women who are told that their veil or apparel is not in accordance with the dress code of a particular setting. These are just a few examples. All of them show how professionalism is just another way to silence and alienate those who are different— either because of their identities or their lifestyles.

This can be incredibly oppressive for some marginalized people. While some may find a way to tread the fine line of codeswitching, where they learn to give their bosses what they want while simultaneously maintaining a sense of self, for others the workspace becomes a dreaded space where a marginalized person has to further confront their oppression. As a result, one is given few choices: assimilate or be rejected. And when these jobs put food on the table and pay bills, what options does one really have?

A cycle of constant anxiety and stress is created. There are no safe spaces. Silence becomes the only option. And the irony of all of this is that we live in a time where diversity and pluralism are supposedly valued. If that is truly the case, then why are so many people silenced? Is diversity really the objective, or the affectation of it? Because in my experience, when I became “myself” as I was encouraged to be by my supervisors, this quickly became a problem and when these same supervisors called me into their offices, I was asked to find another way to say what I wanted to say. So is diversity really valued? Or simply the image of it?

The truth is the workspace is not a safe space. It is another space where survival becomes the default mode for oppressed people. If true inclusion is to be sought, then professionalism needs to be debunked, or at least accessed for its underlying white supremacist, hetero-patriarchal values. We must be willing to give those who are not well represented a space to be themselves as much as we would a straight white man. We must be willing to let people present themselves and to simply exist in the way that allows them to perform at their best.

After all, everyone can benefit from a genuine person. If certain voices are denied, that’s one more unique opinion that will not be contributed during staff meetings and conferences. Comfort for the privileged should not be the end goal; it should not even be seen as a concern when attempting to create a more inclusive working environment. If it is considered, then everything becomes a free for all--another opportunity to silence the marginalized.

We all lose when we police certain perspectives and when the workplace becomes another lie told to marginalized folks about their supposed progress when in reality, it is merely oppression taking on a new form. We must be willing to have a conversation about this stark truth so that all voices can be received with consideration. When we frame dialogue within the lens of a “proper discourse,” what we are really saying is that, if you have something to say outside of that propriety it’s not valid. We must find the courage to face these preconceived paradigms of presentation and behavior so that people can be their authentic selves—or at least as close as possible to them.

Cover Image Credit: startupstockphotos.com

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7 Truths About Being A Science Major

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Whether your major is Human Bio, Chemistry, Neuroscience or any other that deals with a lot of numbers, theories, experiments and impossibly memorizing facts, you know the pressures of pursuing a career in this field. So without further ado, here are seven truths about being a science major:

1. There is no “syllabus week.”

Coming back to college in the fall is one of the best times of the year. Welcome week has become most students' favorite on-campus holiday. But then you have syllabus week: another widely celebrated week of no responsibilities… Unless you’re a science major that is. While your other friends get to enjoy this week of getting to know their professors and class expectations, you get to learn about IUPAC nomenclature of alkanes on the first day of organic chem.

2. Your heart breaks every time you have to buy a new textbook.

Somehow every professor seems to have their own “special edition” textbook for class… And somehow it’s always a couple hundred bucks… And somehow, it's ALWAYS required.

3. Hearing "attendance is not mandatory," but knowing attendance is VERY mandatory.

Your professor will tell you that they don’t take attendance. Your professor will put all lecture slides online. Your professor will even record their lectures and make those available as well. Yet if you still don’t go to class, you’ll fail for sure. Coming into lecture after missing just one day feels like everyone has learned an entire new language.

4. You’re never the smartest person in your class anymore.

No matter what subject, what class or what concentration, there will always be someone who is just that much better at it than you.

5. You get totally geeked out when you learn an awesome new fact.

Today in genetics you learned about mosaicism. The fact that somebody can have a disease in part of their total body cells but normal throughout all others gets you so hype. Even though you know that your family, friends and neighbors don’t actually care about your science facts, you HAVE to tell them all anyways.

6. There is never enough time in a day.

You are always stuck choosing between studying, eating, sleeping and having fun. If you're lucky, you'll get three of these done in one day. But if you're a risk taker, you can try to do all of these at once.

7. You question your major (and your sanity) almost daily.

This is especially true when it’s on a Tuesday night and you’ve already consumed a gallon of Starbucks trying to learn everything possible before your . Or maybe this is more prevalent when you have only made it through about half of the BioChem chapter and you have to leave for your three hour lab before your exam this afternoon. Regardless, you constantly wonder if all the stress is actually worth it, but somehow always decide that it is.

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13 Last-Minute Halloween Costumes You Can Make Out Of Stuff You Already Have

For the last minute or lazy participants in Halloween.

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It's that time of the year again! Usually, I try to plan my costumes way in advance, but I always end up needing a last minute costume idea. These costumes are so easy you can pull them together in minutes while still looking like you totally tried this year. Hopefully, you'll have most of these staples in your wardrobe, if not you can always shop around in a roommates closet and make something work. No one wants to wait on the Party City line the entire week of Halloween so best wishes coming up with one of these costumes.

1. Rosie the Riveter

We can do it!

All you need for this last minute costume idea is a blue button up and a red bandana. How much easier could it get?

2. Wednesday Addams

I'm not perky.

Although the black dress with the white collar is her iconic look, anything all black with braids will do.

3. Eleven

She's our friend and she's crazy!

Have a pink dress and navy sweater, that's a brilliant last-minute costume.

4. Lumberjack or The Bounty Man

Timber!

A flannel and jeans is the most versatile costume.

5. Sim

I only speak Simlish.

This is the best last minute costume idea ever. All you have to do is print out the plumbob from this pdf, tape it together and stick it to a headband. Look at you! Such a creative costume in seconds.

6. Damian from Mean Girls

She doesn't even go here!

Every single person has a blue hoodie and a pair of sunglasses in their closet. This costume is basically just pjs.

7. Hippie

Peace out man.

This last minute costume idea is a little more on the complicated side, but with a few key pieces you should be able to pull it off.

8. Victoria's Secret Angel

What's my secret?

Robe + cute bralette = sexy model costume.

9. Maid

Cleaning services!

This costume requires an apron, so you might have to go out and buy one piece, but its adorable so its worth it.

10. Boo

It's scarin' time.

This last minute costume idea can literally be pulled from thin air. Its just a pink shirt and pigtails.

11. Scarecrow or Cowboy

Yee-haw!

Again, a flannel and jeans is a great costume. If you have a hat wear it and you're a cowboy, if not with a little makeup you can be a scarecrow.

12. 80's Workout Girl

Party off the pounds.

Bodysuits are super in right now so everyone has them. Add a pair of colorful or patterned leggings and you got yourself a look.

13. Some sort of animal

I'm a mouse, duh!

If all else fails put on some ears and draw on an eyeliner face.

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