Have you ever felt entitled to something because of your race? Do you feel that you deserve a seat in a top company because you are Black? Perhaps, Black History Month might be a rare occasion to reflect on our rightful place as “Black people”. This year’s theme on “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity”, definitely presents an impetus for the Black community to re-examine their assumptions, expectations, and everything in between.
Being Black is certainly something to be proud of. But it would be misleading to think that a silver spoon will be handed to you just because the world needs more Black representation. You’ve got to show up and show off. There must be a firm justification for why you were chosen for that role, and it shouldn’t primarily have anything to do with the fact that you are “Black.” Keep being the best version of yourself and never feel as if the world owes you something just because you are Black.
Sometimes people mistake “being comfortable in their own skin” for not opening up, sharing and learning from people belonging to other races. Keep in mind that as a PR professional, you will be interacting with people of all races and backgrounds in your line of work. Use every opportunity to learn as much as you can from others.
Although I do not disregard the harsh realities of racial discrimination, I am a firm believer that the outcome of racial discrimination really depends on you — you are the one to choose how it affects you. You have the power to have a positive outlook to life and to issues in general.
If you want to stand out in the corporate world, you must do whatever it takes to stand out, and there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t. But you’ve got to work for it — and that means working as hard as everyone else. Invest in your own self and be the very best at what you do. Because when all is said and done, you must be remembered for being your best, not being Black.
Ama Akoto-Boateng is a graduate student pursuing master’s degree in communication at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. She serves as a PRSSA National Publications Subcommittee member. In her free time, Ama enjoys singing, trying out new recipes, and going on a road trip. She is passionate about visual storytelling, sustainability and public relations, and has been at the forefront of a number of award-winning sustainability initiatives. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.