Fight Past Discrimination – Gillian Giorgio
This may be a very controversial topic and it may get some heat, but I don’t care. Truly, if I don’t feel I can share my perspective, how can I hope to raise my daughters in a world where they can trust others and be open about sharing their thoughts and opinions.
As a biracial woman, I have experienced discrimination in some capacity. It is likely that I have experienced some level of prejudice without being openly aware of it. My father is black and my mother is white. My grandmother was Austrian so my hair is light brown and my skin is light. I have afrocentric features, but often people are not sure of what is in my background.
Since I was raised by my mother, I really did not understand that I was different until someone in grade school asked me “What are you?” She said you don’t look like anyone else at the school… being biracial 30 years ago was not as common as it is now. I went to a public school in Laurel Canyon where there was not a lot of diversity, probably 90% of the students were white, and kids of various colors made up about 10% of the rest of the student body. This was prior to affirmative action and increased percentages per some quota. I was bussed for two hours to get to that school. Regardless of the makeup of the school, I never felt that anyone defined me or even looked at me as different until that one girl mentioned it.
It wasn’t until high school again when my white boyfriend took me a to a party and said, “Watch out for that guy, he’s a skinhead and very racist.” I spent the entire party staring at him and giving him dirty looks. In hindsight, it’s a wonder nobody beat me up that night. Inevitably, that boyfriend and I broke up because I couldn’t handle that he was so worried about what people would think of him dating a “black girl.”
I thought I grew up in a world where people could be themselves and race or skin color was not important. I believed that what truly mattered was your character and how you treated others. Legally, we have laws which generally keep people from openly discriminating against people, but recently we have seen a resurgence of the mindset it’s okay to judge others based on their skin color.
I am an entrepreneur who chooses to work in an environment with a group of like-minded dreamers focused on reaching their vision and goals. It matters not who we are, what we look like, where we were born or how much money our parents have. Success is determined by how hard you are willing to work to reach the size of the dream you want. Are you willing to fight past adversity and opposition to make your vision a reality?
This past August, my team and I were at our annual event and there was so much divisive news trending. It was just before Steve Bannon was dismissed as the White House Chief Strategist; and one of the founders of our firm, spoke and completely united the room with his thoughts. It was one of my proudest moments as an agent and it renewed my faith that we can live in a world where people love one another and there is enough room for everyone to be successful.
This is the environment I want my kids to grow up in and know wholeheartedly that who they are is more important than the color of their skin. I appreciate the opportunity to be an entrepreneur who controls her own fate and has the capacity to live life to the fullest while encouraging unity and peace.
Written by Gillian Giorgio
Contact Gillian at firstname.lastname@example.org