Moumita Das Roy
Auckland, May 3, 2022
When you belong, you know. You do not have to be told. It is a feeling. You know.
When you belong, you want to give back. You are not an outsider who is ‘diverse’ and has to be ‘included.’ You are one of them. You are one of us.
Diversity recognises the traits that make people unique. Inclusion welcomes each one of these unique people. Belonging is an individual’s sense of acceptance within the cohort.
The video features Lisa Nichols speaking which inspires Moumita Das Roy
I have many stories of Belongingto share, from the workplace, in multicultural environments of everyday life – some are my lived-in experiences, as a person of colour. I have heard some from others. I propose to write them in a series of articles, starting with this one. If this is a subject that you care about too, read on and share your stories in comments.
Micro Aggression and Unconscious Bias
“Install a grammar checker on your computer, before you write anything,” the Chief Executive of one of my previous organisations said as he walked up to my desk.
He handed me a press release that I had not written. He assumed it was me, as the only coloured person in the team, I was the most likely person to err.
I was angry. I was upset. But I whispered to myself “other people’s perception of you, ain’t none of your business.”
He did not apologise when he realised, he was wrong. His pride and prejudice did not let him say sorry to me.
I am sorry. For his loss. Loss of understanding.
Are you also that coloured person who was called out for wrong grammar in artwork, even if it were not yours?
Or are you the woman in a boardroom who was interrupted while making your point?
Or maybe that person who gets asked “where are you from” even if you were born in the country in which you live?
Microaggressions and unconscious biases like these make you feel that you do not belong to a community and influence one’s thinking, emotions, and behaviour.
Belonging is feeling safe and valued despite all your differences.
Be that person to own up and say it was not their mistake but mine. Be that person to jump in and say, “let her finish her point first.” Be that person to say that they are from here even if they don’t look or sound like you. And be that person who knows how to make someone feel they belong.
This is Pam Case and her beautiful story of Belonging.
Pam visited South India from the UK many years ago and came across a family in a village in Kerala living in absolute poverty. She stayed in touch, fundraised for their son’s international education, and supported the boy through his studies. Twenty-five years later, that is her family. She belongs to them as much as they belong to her.
Stepping up in the Belonging Continuum
Diversity opens the room for everyone. Inclusion gives everyone a table to sit around. And Belonging is this feeling of them becoming one of us.
Being culturally aware does not only mean knowing how to greet a person in their language, but it is also being way more perceptive and sensitive than that.
It starts with removing one’s own unconscious cultural biases and being open to embracing someone who doesn’t look or sound like you.
In my next article, I will share my journey into a new country, a new culture, as a person of colour. Stay tuned.
I am publishing a series of articles on Belonging in the workplace, in multicultural environments of everyday life. Come back if you want to continue reading.
And do share a story of when you felt belonged or how you made someone feel they belong in a new place, in comments.
About Moumita Das Roy
Moumita Das Roy is a cross-industry marketer with experience in Nonprofit, Media, Advertising, and Telecom and has worked in some iconic global organisations such as Ogilvy and BBDO in Advertising, The Walt Disney Company in Media and Virgin Mobile in Telecom.
In her current role in New Zealand, she manages the B2B marketing communications for the Dulux Group. She is also a trained tertiary educator and industry speaker.
Moumita is a LinkedIn enthusiast and a prolific content creator on the platform. She shares stories from her corporate world and her life in academia and presents them in a very real-world, relatable way.
Apart from work, she takes an avid interest in Travel, Volunteering and Diversity and Inclusion conversations. Having worked in multicultural work environments and through her travels across seven continents, she has unique stories to tell, in a very adaptive and versatile way.