What’s the deal with being celebrated wherever you go? What does that even mean? I, for one, would not want a person clapping every time I walked into a place of business. Nor do I desire a sticker stating “You’re Great” in Word Art simply because I ordered a sandwich (although my kids might want that). I ordered food because I was hungry. So again, I ask, what’s the deal with being celebrated? The phrase alone, does not make much sense without context. If celebrated was synonymous to recognized, then maybe I could grasp the idea... nah, that’s a stretch!
Typically, when people say “be celebrated, not tolerated” or “go where you are celebrated, not tolerated” it has cultural connotations. Be it on a job, patronizing an establishment, collaborating with a team, you name it… being tolerated should never be the endgame. As we think about the verbs ‘celebrate’ and ‘tolerate’, the contrast is evident. Every person has value and every person should be appreciated for what he or she brings to the table. To tolerate, in this context, is to strip value from, rendering the personal aspects/uniqueness of a person or group useless to you (whoever you are). On jobs, you may be taken for granted. At restaurants, you may be made to wait longer than someone else who is deemed more ‘valuable’. On a team, your ideas may be glossed over. Why on earth would you want to stay at that job, revisit that restaurant, be on that team? What would you feel in those instances?
Us five brothers here at BCC, speaking from a black cultural standpoint, are not foreign to being tolerated. It happens, and sadly, it will continue to happen. But whose problem is that? Any time there is a controversy over mistreatment of or offensive language toward POC (AA, specifically), there tends to be a boycott and outrage. While my point is not to argue against those very warranted feelings and actions, it is to highlight a particularly important power that you possess. The power of choice has never been more widely available.
So now everything is a choice huh…. Don’t come at us with that Yeezy stuff, BCC!
Never would we ever…. The point we make is simple, but not all that easy. Do you recall the Starbucks debacle? This isn’t an attack, follow me for a minute. Starbucks was blasted for their lack of judgement in one of their more than 8000 stores (I’m certain this was isolated to just that store, no need to fact check me). This led to boycotts and outrage. My wife swore off Starbucks, as did many others. In comes BCC… all is right with the world. A black ‘reactionary’ solution to a one-off problem. My wife loves those little bagel bites that Starbucks makes… BCC does not make those ☹. In comes a new problem!
We need alternatives/options to make ‘choice’ work. No need to be verbose, that’s all I have!
Being or going where one is celebrated is a choice. Having options that enable one to enact that choice is where the problem lies. Can you patronize another restaurant that has the exact meal you want and will celebrate rather than tolerate? Perhaps there is an option for that, on the following Saturday. Can you leave your job in search of quality work and an appreciation of your skillset and effort? You bet you can, if options exist at the given time. Can you swap work groups to one that will seriously consider your thoughts and ideas and act on them? I would imagine there are less options for this in the middle of a project, but maybe on the next one. All those questions have limited options, but options nonetheless. We can choose to go where we are celebrated rather than tolerated. We possess the power and the ability to drive change and our own comfort when extending ourselves (or dollars). The choices in the examples had a limiting factor: time!
We may not control time, but we can choose our options, provided they exist 😉.
I hope you take this as a not-so-subtle call to action … Let’s create our own options!