"As an West Indian American (who is often confused for an African American) I have found thatthe largest "divide" my whole life is not really that digital, but instead it seems to be cultural."He goes on to say:
"The biggest barrier for me is the fact that the enviroments I am trying tosurvive in have defined me as NOT being a part of the equation. Even living in California (thecraziest and most liberal state in the union) dreadlocks and dark brown skin don't seem to fitin the board room or earn the trust of the people who hold the power and the paychecks."It also makes me question myself. Granted I work in a relax office, but I am the most extreme - I wear Birkenstocks to work everyday, my hair's gone from bleached to hot pink to purple now, and I usually wear shorts and a tee-shirt. I even have an earring (which I generally forget about), though this one is more and more acceptable.
I will dress up when I'm meeting with people. I don't usually dress up when I'm presenting, as I work with kids, and I feel my casual style makes it easier to connect with them. The poster above goes on to say:
Many of my peers have made the argument that I should cut my hair and convert mycommunication, dress and mannerisms to fit in with the dominant corporate culture.Basically I should convert so I can fit in and survive. What is the answer??? Well for me I havedone both -- rebelled in ways: I will never cut my dreadlocks!!!, and I have conformed inways: I wear button polo shirts and khakis.The guy is absolutely right - like anything else, you pick your battles. If you feel your hair is a part of who you are, don't change - but somethings just aren't worth contesting. People will judge you by the clothes you wear, especially in the business world. You can try all you want to change that, and hope it becomes a pure meritocracy, but that makes as much sense as jousting with windmills. They'll judge you on everything else as well. The questioin is how many strikes do you want against you?
If I do enter the business world, I probably will cave and make my hair solid black, but I'll keep growing it long, and I'll keep my earring, but I will adopt the appropriate attire for wherever I work.