Is Multiculturalism About Fitting In or Standing Out?

I read a comment yesterday that referenced the often self imposed pressure for African Americans’ need to fit in with their white counterparts. As a Multicultural Marketing Expert and Champion for Diversity, I often find myself educating brands and individuals on this very dynamic. It is not true for all African American’s, but it is an unspoken pressure that many place on themselves and it is also an unspoken expectation that many organizations have.

I have been educating brands and partners on what I call Culturational Chemistry. Culturational Chemistry helps us in part, to understand the commonalities that exists between Multicultural Millennials from a cultural and generational standpoint and how to leverage those intersection points to effectively reach this audience. It helps eliminate taking a siloed approach and informs us that Multicultural Millennials often have more in common than they do differences. This obviously helps brands save money because, when appropriate, it is much more cost effective to deliver a singular relevant brand message than trying to create separate messages for your African American segment, your Hispanic segment, your Asian American segment and your “General Market” segment. What many brands have yet to realize is that Multicultural Millennials are the new General Market.

Although there are many similarities among the millennial audience, there are still unique cultural, racial and ethnic differences. There are even more unique perspectives and beliefs among older generations. Where many may expect multiculturalism to bring everyone together under one big happy unified cultural belief and value system, that is not the case nor is it the goal. It is about being able to identify our commonalities while still acknowledging and celebrating our unique differences. It’s not about expecting someone to fit in to your way of thinking or doing things, but about appreciating and valuing their way of doing things and recognizing and working towards the common goals that you share. Every brand, group, company and organization should be testing their teams Culturational Chemistry. This will help you to recognize the necessary cultural, generational and lifestyle diversity you need on your team to win and how to identify the commonalities while properly acknowledging and leveraging the differences.

If you are an organization that is expecting your team members of multicultural backgrounds to “fit in” in a way that requires them to compromise, dilute or abandon their cultural beliefs, traditions or values, then stop now. You are doing a disservice to that individual and to the organization. If you’re not sure if that’s what you’re doing, just hit me up and I’ll send you a complimentary “Culturational Chemistry Kit”!

Are you forcing others to fit in or are you encouraging them to stand out?

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” ~ Dr. Theodore Geisel #NoShortcuts

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