I got rather upset last week. I had a disagreement with Ben, the details aren’t that important. What is, important is the fact that I spoke to Dorothy about it as she knew both of us and was aware of the background to the situation. I probably shouldn’t have bothered speaking to Dorothy though as her response was to tell me everything that I should have done and should now do to support Ben. She demonstrated a full understanding of where he was coming from but appeared not to recognise what he had done wrong, my intentions in the whole situation and how much I had been hurt. Even if she recognised any of this she definitely didn’t acknowledge it and each time I tried to point things out she went back to Ben, what he needed and how I should support him.
After some time, with tears in my eyes I burst out – “I have needs to you know, don’t you think my needs are important or don’t you think I matter!?!”
If I was to have spoken in precise terms, I would have said “… don’t you think I matter too” “ or as well as Ben” However, I didn’t think this was necessary, From the dialogue I felt that there was no question as to Ben’s importance to Dorothy, The real question was whether she recognised my significance and needs.
I believe the whole Black Lives Matter is similar. It’s in no way saying that white lives don’t matter or that ALL lives don’t matter. It reflects a concern that in some quarters black people are (perceived to be) treated sub-humanly as if their lives don’t matter.
Susan Popoola is the Managing Director of Conning Towers Ltd, an HR firm focused on Talent Management and HR Transformation for Innovative, High Potential organisations.. She is also the published author of Touching The Heart of Milton Keynes: A Social Perspective and Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain.
Copyright 2015. This document is the specific intellectual property of Susan Popoola. Content may not be reused or reproduced without the specific permission of the owner or a reference to the source.