In Honor of MLK Week – A Little Note on Personal Branding

We're all in this together.

I’m getting on my soapbox.

Here’s the deal, yesterday I went to an MLK Jr. rally and march. I love that we have the ability in this country to assemble like that. It was also wonderful to see such a wide variety of people out celebrating the day.

Well, this got me thinking about an experience I had just a couple days before at work. I was chatting with a few co-workers and one person was heading up to one of the local Indian Reservations to referee a basketball game. One of the other employee’s mentioned how crazy those games are because the families on the rez get really into it, the third employee made  a string of comments that literally turned my face red. As usual I have Meg Ryan, circa You’ve Got Mail, syndrome – I can never think of a witty quip to get back at someone when something negative like that is said.

She asked if they have signs on the road stating there are drunk Indians and to beware. Then followed that comment up by calling a Native woman she once knew a “squaw” (which for those of you who don’t know is equivalent to the B or C word for ANY woman.)

I just couldn’t believe it and still just thinking of this makes my heart pound and forever changes the image in my head of this woman I work with. (For those of you that don’t know my boyfriend is half Native American and is a Professor in Native American History – so I am hyper aware of the many different struggles Native people today are still facing.)

So note to you – when in a public setting, especially a work place environment any type of talk like that could get you in a lot of trouble. We are all entitled to our own opinions and are blessed to be able to voice them BUT if you want to have a positive image I suggest you stay away from any comments that even skirt racial stereotypes or bashing.

The funny thing is this woman has been out in the corporate world for 15 + years – remember your reputation is never off duty.


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