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Working ✍️ Planning can feel isolating as a PoC

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
504
Points
15
Any other POC (Planners of color) in here? As both a non-White PoC and religious minority, December at a public agency can feel really isolating when you don't celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah yet are surrounded by "holiday" stuff (god I sometimes hate what the workplace culture has become. I'd rather people just say Christmas instead of pretending 'holidays' is actually inclusive). I mean, I like cookies and red floppy hats as much as the next person, but it would be nice to have at least some acknowledgement of those who observe other holidays throughout the year that are just as stressful/joyful/significant/as much work as Christmas or Hanukkah is in December.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
15,501
Points
53
At one of my jobs we started celebrating Holi. We had enough Indian people in the office that would bring a hoard of food. We would decorate with all the color we could find and have some fun. Go ahead and celebrate your stuff. It's a good way for your coworkers to learn a little something.
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
6,832
Points
45
At one of my jobs we started celebrating Holi. We had enough Indian people in the office that would bring a hoard of food. We would decorate with all the color we could find and have some fun. Go ahead and celebrate your stuff. It's a good way for your coworkers to learn a little something.
I love that you said this.
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
504
Points
15
At one of my jobs we started celebrating Holi. We had enough Indian people in the office that would bring a hoard of food. We would decorate with all the color we could find and have some fun. Go ahead and celebrate your stuff. It's a good way for your coworkers to learn a little something.
Oh wow, where do you work that has a lot of Indian people in a planning office? That's pretty cool.
 

gtpeach

Cyburbian
Messages
2,256
Points
25
I really appreciate you mentioning this. We're in a small office and while there is some (barely) racial diversity, I don't think we have anyone that is a religious minority. However, not everyone is really feeling all that celebratory around the holidays, so when we do our work celebrations, I am always a little nervous that we're not supporting the people that have discussed the holidays being difficult for them regardless.

If you feel like there's someone to talk to about it that would be receptive, you could discuss other ways to celebrate in the workplace that wouldn't be so isolating. We do have a holiday party (which was super unexciting this year!), but we also have a big Fiscal New Year's Eve celebration at the end of the Fiscal Year that has no holiday affiliation whatsoever. Or maybe when there's a holiday that's important to you, you could do something for at least your immediate office to them be more aware of your culture and important holidays. Most people love to celebrate regardless of the reason why and would probably really enjoy learning about your celebrations and traditions. And remembering that there are lots of people that don't conform to the mainstream customs is a really important part of our jobs.
 

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
15,501
Points
53
At that time I worked in Arizona. The Phoenix metro has a good sized Indian population with all the high tech work. We just got lucky and had a couple planners, a couple engineers, and a traffic engineer.
 

Watermark

Member
Messages
13
Points
1
Are you referring to just religious holidays or as a planner of color in the field?
Any other POC (Planners of color) in here? As both a non-White PoC and religious minority, December at a public agency can feel really isolating when you don't celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah yet are surrounded by "holiday" stuff (god I sometimes hate what the workplace culture has become. I'd rather people just say Christmas instead of pretending 'holidays' is actually inclusive). I mean, I like cookies and red floppy hats as much as the next person, but it would be nice to have at least some acknowledgement of those who observe other holidays throughout the year that are just as stressful/joyful/significant/as much work as Christmas or Hanukkah is in December.
Are you just referring to religious holidays or the field as a whole?

I've never really felt out of place with american religious holidays, as I grew up with them through the school system. I just chose whether to participate or not.

As for the field, I would say it has been a double edge sword. I've attended meetings and presented to diverse audiences but not ethnically diverse. Been part of departments and an entire government unit where I have met ethnic minorities that I can count on one hand. Attended conferences on equity where I was the only attendee who was a professional of color, besides the presenter. It does feel isolating.

My experience has been in government only, so I don't know about the private sector. But I do feel that equitable policy is ahead of practice. Such as values and policies towards efforts to be more inclusive and equitable in outreach but the professionals look nothing like the community, or a third party is used as a bridge. Even disregarding or taking advantage of staff ties to disenfranchised communities. Picking and choosing how to interact with diverse communities. Example, development in a ethnically diverse communities with open houses but don't include the planner with ties to the community, but do ask them to translate if anyone calls from that community. I've also found this isolating.
 
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glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
504
Points
15
@DVD that's pretty cool!

@gtpeach appreciate the thoughtfulness :). You're right, it's not just religious minorities but also those who may have lost family or are otherwise adverse to holidays (particularly important this year). And not to mention those that don't observe for other reasons (athiest, etc.). I love the New Years idea (whether calendar or fiscal) you mentioned because it's relevant to everyone!

@Watermark good point, I was referring to both I guess. I know the field has been pretty progressive lately in examining equity in terms of community outreach and external projects (at least, where I am), but what we don't do much of as an industry is think about racial, geographic and other forms of diverse staffing internally. As for the religious minority, as a PoC I often get lumped in with other PoC and just realized the other day that most shares the similar Judeo-Christian religious backgrounds despite being different skin colors (Black/Hispanic/East Asian/Native/Indigenous/Hawaiian/Mixed). So it just dawned on me that sometimes you're the minority within the minority, which felt isolating that's all. But you raised really good points about the gaps between theory and practice - often women/minority owned or local community firms or non-profits are hired to be the 'in-between' to do engagement and that's a step in the right direction. But what would be better is to have the staff itself more reflective of the communities they serve.
 
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