Showing posts from 2018

Infusing American Indian representation into my Indian-American Thanksgiving

I always look forward to Thanksgiving. It’s one of the few times in the entire year that my massive Indian family gets together to share space, food, and laughter.  At one point in my immigrant family history, celebrating Thanksgiving felt foreign and novel but it has now become a normative part of our family traditions. As my family continues to assimilate deeper into the U.S. American culture, we have embraced more of an “American” Thanksgiving. We have gone from having mostly Indian food on the dinner table to mastering the traditional Thanksgiving dishes (hello sweet potato casserole!), we gather around the table to pray over the food, state what we are thankful for, and feast together while watching football.
Because this holiday is all about giving thanks, we often take turns verbalizing what we are grateful for. Many of the older members of my family reflect on the gratitude they have for the opportunities and privileges that their U.S. citizenship has provided them. These aunt…

Learning to Embrace the 'u' in Cindu

I spent many years of my life hating my name because it was at the center of cruel teasing and bullying that I experienced throughout my adolescence. By the time I got to the third grade, “Cindu the Hindu” was a name I heard almost daily from my classmates. It was not an endearing and loving nickname, but one that was meant to insult and degrade. “Cindu the Hindu” could be regularly heard in the hallways, lunchroom and on the playground during my school-age years.  The name Cindu was different and in the predominantly White, middle class suburb that I grew up in, different was deficient. Beyond being made fun of for my name, my teachers and other authority figures were constantly trying to anglicize my name to Cindy. Some of them insisted on calling me Cindy, even when corrected.
My parents understood the perils of having a different name. When my Dad was a young immigrant trying to make it in this country in the late 70’s as an insurance salesman, someone encouraged him to change hi…

Equity before Equality: The Importance of Centering Equity within Diversity Initiatives

Equality is an important and fundamental U.S. American value. Our emphasis and commitment to treating people equally can be traced back to 1776, with the Declaration of Independence which proclaimed that "all men are created equal." Equal treatment of all Americans has become increasingly important as our country continues to become increasingly diverse. The concept of equality is often times what drives organizational diversity initiatives and strategies. The problem with this process of equality is that it doesn't always ensure equal opportunities or outcomes for everyone. Treating people fairly and equally is certainly important but unfortunately, equality does not always work to decrease the disparities and inequalities that are a result of decades of systemic discrimination - which has worked to disadvantage some Americans while advantaging others. 
Equity is the missing piece of the puzzle that can help organizations be successful in reaching the goal of equality. Eq…

The "Arrival" of Mindy Kaling and Why it Matters

When I received my Shape Magazine in the mail last week, I felt a great sense of pride and happiness to see that Mindy Kaling was this month’s cover model. I've been a fan of Mindy from the early days on the Office and have cheered her on from the sidelines as her undeniable talent was uncovered and her success skyrocketed into the super star that she is today. Beyond her talent and skill as a writer and actress, I have been drawn to her because she is one of the only people I have ever watched on television that I felt that I could relate to. After decades of consuming media, Mindy was the first actress that I’ve ever watched that looked (slightly) like me.  It was not only inspiring but gratifying to see someone that reminded me of myself on television. Even though Mindy doesn’t know me, she gives me (and millions of other Indian women in this country) representation, and representation matters.

Representation matters. There are approximately 3.5 Million people of Indian origin w…

Unpacking the Temper Tantrum of Aaron Schlossberg and Disrupting Linguistic Intolerance

Aaron Schlossberg’s racist rant in a Midtown Manhattan eatery that happened last week isn’t something I was shocked to hear or see. Sadly, incidents like this happen frequently in our country. Citizen journalism and social media have resulted in the increased visibility of these kind of disturbing incidents. Thanks to the organizing of thousands of people and the power of the internet, this whining lawyer seems to have already experienced a small dose of karma for his racist and inappropriate outburst. The public outcry against this overt bigotry and ignorance was refreshing to see and a nice reminder that Americans have a great sense of humor and more importantly, a majority of them disapprove of racism and xenophobia.

While I watched this entitled and arrogant “man” throw a temper tantrum that rivals the tantrums my three year old son throws, a few things came to mind:

1. There is NO official language in the United States. Nope- not one. English is the most commonly used language, …

Don't just ask them to dance, ask them to help choreograph that dance: Inclusion in the workplace

There seems to be so much emphasis on recruiting employees of diverse backgrounds and talents but not enough emphasis is put on retaining this diverse talent. Creating an inclusive company culture is an essential retention strategy and in this vlog, I unpack the idea that inclusion might be more than just asking our diverse employees to dance. Happy viewing!

The Benefits and the Reality of Diversity in the Workplace

In 1987, the Secretary of Labor, William Brock commissioned a study of economic and demographic trends by the Hudson Institute. This study resulted in the text titled, Workforce 2000- Work and Workers in the Twenty First Century. Workforce 2000 highlighted demographic factors that would impact the labor market in the United States. In a nutshell- the book argued that the U.S would only continue to grow increasingly diverse and suggested that diversifying the workforce was an economic imperative if companies wanted to stay competitive and attract talented employees. Essentially, Workforce 2000 spearheaded the beginnings of the diversity industry. Considering that the business case for diversity has been discussed for roughly thirty years in our country, it may be surprising to some of you that organizations in the United States are still lacking widespread diversity-- especially when it comes to leadership positions.

In my second vlog of the Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

The Difference between Diversity and Inclusion

It's been over a year since I have last written here. I can't tell you the countless times I have started writing a new post with excitement andevery intention on completing it to only be distracted by that thing called life. It's not that I don't have much to say or that I have lost my interest in diversity and inclusion- in fact it's the opposite! I have been facilitating more workshops regarding diversity and inclusion for organizations in the last year than ever before! However, my teaching, consulting, and board of directors responsibilities have left me less time than I'd like for the most important job and priority I have, which is being a mom to my two sweet boys. One of the best lessons I have learned since becoming a mom is that it really isn't possible to "do it all" and that some things have just go to go when you are a multi-tasking mom like myself. Unfortunately, this blog was one of the things that I had to stop giving my time and e…