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How My Intersectionality Informed a Winning Hiring Strategy

Source | | Edgardo Perez

As a New Yorker, I’ve found the last few years in the San Francisco Bay Area quite interesting. Professionally, I’ve led programs focused on fueling talent pipelines with underrepresented talent as well as helped companies build and scale their inclusive hiring strategies. Personally, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about different cultures, try new food, and meet some amazing people.

However, in some cases, my experiences have been worse than at home. I’ve been called the N-word on the street. My partner and I have been called “pansies” on the way to our anniversary dinner. And, because of my AfroLatinx features, I often have to explain to other Latinxs why I speak Spanish.

I am a Latino man of African descent and I am gay — three times your average dose of underrepresentation. As I move through spaces, even those meant to create a sense of community and belonging for me, I still find myself combating racism, homophobia, and sometimes xenophobia at the same time. Unfortunately, my experiences are not rare. There are also many others who have it much worse than me.

This is why addressing “intersectionality” is important. But what does that actually mean?

It means understanding that there are groups of people who experience multiple forms of discrimination — often simultaneously — because they belong to different oppressed communities. As we collectively examine ourselves in the conversation around equity and inclusion, I often hear that people who are part of multiple oppressed race, gender, and sexual orientation identity groups feel excluded.

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