It’s not a topic I’ve ever covered on my blog or podcast.
It falls into that umbrella of content that I consciously steer clear of online as an entrepreneur. (You can add politics to that list too.)
Race is such a touchy subject that can lead to many divisive comments, and I really didn’t want to open that can of worms.
However, I’ve received countless emails and comments that are very similar to the YouTube comment below, and it’s time to address it publicly.
You can hear how I answered her question in the podcast.
And as I thought about this topic even more, I realized there’s an underlying theme to the hesitation that often goes beyond race.
So if you’ve ever struggled with the decision of “putting yourself out there” because you fear being discriminated against (race, sex, your opinion, etc.), I hope you take some time to listen.
If you want to download and listen later, right click this link and save it to your computer.
I am a LONG time reader of your websites content, and have made maybe 2 comments along the way. But I must say, I am happy to see that someone has address this issue head-on. It has been much needed, as evidenced by your podcast comments, and the replies you have received.
I too have wrestled with including my ‘face’ on my website and, and just like you, my decision was to put my face front and center.
We can never totally eradicate bigotry, and prejudice. We must tackle them head-on, knowing that there will always be those who, out of ignorance and fear will never do business with us. That is just a fact, as I have experienced this in 2 separate business ventures myself.
So, to anyone who is hesitant about putting your face on your website I would say, don’t let others dictate your choices. If you’re providing a great service or product you will be fine. At least that is my belief. So do it! And be Proud.
And to you Lisa I can only say THANKS!!!!!
Ralph Williams says
Wow!! Powerful, Needed, Welcomed, Inspiring, So Refreshing & A Freeing Release from unspoken Fears…God Bless, Happy Holidays. From a willing student, firmly on-board. Much Sincere Thanks. Highest Regards…Genuine Service Is First Priority—To All, The Best.
P.S. Been watching you a long time — Your growth, success & persistence is really encouraging… Thanks.
Yolande Cole says
Great Topic. Even though this is not one of my fears (being a black woman), I do have other obstacles and challenges to work out of my psyche. One being fear of failure and not being able to “do it right.” Imagine that – but this is the BIGGEST of my concerns. I believe I can join Mitch’s dad on the best way to handle discrimination and your views about this also, Lisa. We cannot change who we are so, be the best at being self. Anyway, thanks so much for responding to the initial comment about fear of being “cast out” for such a ridiculous reason, which only shows that persons insecurity – tho’ they might not realize it because they’re so self absorbed with skin color that they lose perspective on living life to the fullest by caring about someone else’s God given state of being.
Lisa Irby says
I totally understand but the great thing about the Internet is that it’s so forgiving. Even if that first attempt falls short, you can ALWAYS make adjustments. Putting it out there is the only way to see what is going to work or not. I know easier said than done sometimes. Thanks for coming by!
Mitch Mitchell says
Well, since Ileane mentioned me here & then let me know about it, I guess it means I get to put in my two cents. lol
When my website was created in early 2002, I wondered if I should put my picture on it. Overall, I’m in healthcare finance and leadership, neither of which has a lot of black people doing them, and I thought I might not get any calls if my picture was on the site (way before blogging days).
I decided to ask my dad his opinion, and luckily it was still in the period when his mind was pretty sharp. He said that I should be proud and put my picture on it, and anyone who didn’t want to contact me because it was there wasn’t anyone I’d want to work with and I’d never know about those people anyway.
I decided he was absolutely right; I’ve always stood up for black people and worked hard to get my own work places represented better concerning minorities, so my thinking about changing when I was going to work for myself didn’t make any sense.
Over the years my site has been visited often but I don’t get as many calls as I thought I would. Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Gotta be true to yourself and your values; that’s how I see it anyway. 🙂
Lisa Irby says
Well put, Mitch!
There are so many ways to approach this topic and you have done an excellent job with your coverage on the podcast. YouTube needs to hear this message too although I’m not sure how you feel about bringing up the topic over there. I’ve thought about doing it myself and my friend Mitch Mitchell has covered it several of his videos.
It is definitely the “elephant in the room” that we need to discuss openly. I often wonder if some type of study or test could be conducted to see if two individuals (one white and one of color), presenting the exact same content in a YouTube video would result in either of them getting more or less views. I know YouTube is not a scientific laboratory but I think you get my point.
Of course it does go both ways.
For example, when I started out and found your YouTube channel I got inspired because I felt more of a connection to you than I did to any of the white YouTubers I saw back then. Of course that has nothing to do with racism and I’m not a racist. But the fact of the matter is that I saw someone who was more like me and it made me think – maybe one day I could be a YouTuber.
Anyway, this is a pretty deep topic and I’m really glad you brought it up!
Take care Lisa and enjoy the holidays!
Lisa Irby says
I know what you mean! I’ve wanted to do a video on this topic too but was always hesitant about how to approach it.
To your point about you following me, that’s a great example of how it can be a positive. People are naturally drawn to people who are like them and it doesn’t come from a racist standpoint. It just comes from a human, natural connection standpoint and that’s usually what’s going on. Like it or not, people are naturally drawn to people they feel are like them or that they can relate to.
Yes, very great points, Ileane! Thanks for stopping by and you have a wonderful Holiday!!
Kim George says
Holy Molyyyy moly! Wowza Lisa…now this is a great podcast chica and topic of conversation. I aint gonna lie, when I launched the YourChicGeek brand, I contemplated on whether or not I should reveal myself to the world.
But then I started to think … hey this is who I am. I am an African American woman..that is a tech junkie and I am damn proud of if too!
Sure, there are going to be peeps that wont buy from me, or read my content because of ethnicity and gender. But, what I’ve discovered is that there are folks that have bought from me, done business with me, commented on my blog and etc despite my ethnicity.
As you stated, If you have value to offer, it will surely draw in the right people to you. As you stated, the benefits of showing who you are to your audience outweigh the disadvantages. Love this podcast girl… you are sooo freakin amazing!
Lisa Irby says
I am so glad you decided to reveal yourself to the world! You are a bright light in this space and I admire you for your commitment, positivity and great energy you bring to the table. It’s evident that what you are doing with social media is working well for you so I’m so glad you didn’t let the fear ultimately stop you!
Kim George says
Thanks so much chica! And Whyyyyy in the heck did I use “as you stated” so many times??? #EPICFAIL :-). LOL
Lisa Irby says
Ha ha ha ha!! Girl! I didn’t even catch that. 🙂
Ya know, I wonder as a white guy why others feel the way they do about a person’s color. My Mom always taught me to be color blind. I guess other Mom’s didn’t do that. My only way to comprehend racism is to go back to me being a Vietnam vet and what was said and done to me when I got back stateside. I just couldn’t understand why folks said what they said to and about me. It took a ton of time to bounce back. Like decades I guess. Even to three marriages and many bad times.
I cannot speak to racism as a person of color can because I’m not a person of color. I only know I don’t see color in who I am, or when I meet another person. I used to live in Detroit and had a multi-racial neighborhood and I must say is my black neighbor’s turned out to be the best.
What I finally learned, was to just put one foot in front of the other, go forward and not to dwell on what others say. This world can be complex. We can not worry about the occasional person that has issues of their own so they lash out at others. There will always be that jackass that is mean spirited and will try to hurt others. That won’t go away, at least in our time. Maybe in the Star Trek time it will be different. One can only hope.
Be proud of who you are! Thanks for reading my little book here…………
Lisa Irby says
Totally agree Allan! Thank you so much for taking time to comment and share your experience and I really appreciate all your support over the years. I’ve seen your posts on my FB page for such a long time (back to the SBI days right?). It hasn’t gone unnoticed. Thanks for listening.
yupper, still SBI! too. but not really happy with them at this moment. I’m adding a section on to my site this week that I think you’ll like. I will share when I think it’s ready. Oh, and thanks for the reminder as I’m putting a pic of me so people can see my face too! This ole man ain’t looking to shabby anymore. WAAAAAAA—WHOOOOOO……….
Subject at hand, discrimination, I finally have had it with being used n abused by certain people and I’m not taking it ever again! AND, No one else should take crap from the lowlife either! I must say it’s a long road to freedom for anybody. Because it starts in your own mind and until it travels through your entire microbiome and puts the proper good bacteria in place there will be problems in your self-esteem. I promise you this.
Believe it or not, your gut has everything to do with how you feel emotionally.
This is something I haven’t really shared online much but here goes. August 26, 2016 we lost one of the kids to suicide. He was 36. couldn’t handle what he thought was being put down and mentally hurt by others. So he ended it. What we know he needed was to improve his good bacteria in his gut to feed his brain the better info and things would have changed for him. But, he wouldn’t listen.
What does this have to do with discrimination? When we feel we are being hurt and frightened to speak out, things happen in our gut, (Microbiome) with bad bacteria giving the bad guys room to grow and become dominant. Through the Vagus Nerve in the lower gut that nerve goes all the way to the base of the brain and gives instructions. bad or good.
The saying, “I’ve got a gut feeling.” there’s more to that than most know.
When in that position eat right build the good bacteria and over time your outlook will drastically change to become more confident and even outgoing and fun. You will have the strength to believe in yourself. You won’t have to worry about what others think because you’ll know you are on the right track. Begin to believe in yourself.
There’s more to it than that, I promise you there is but diet is a great start.
Dang…….. another book………. sorry bout that!
It’s my Mom’s fault, she was a writer! Good one too! 🙂
Lisa Irby says
Allan! YESSSS! I am somewhat obsessed with anatomy and physiology (sometimes I wonder if that should have been my major) and I’ve read countless books and articles on the gut and brain connection. It’s fascinating. Disease begins in the gut. If you heal your gut, you heal your life. So healing your gut starts with removing the toxic thoughts from your brain, etc. I could go on and on and on. But yes you are right sir!
Agree very much with your words. I have had small businesses offline and online and always put my face out there. If anything for me personally I think it’s good to weed out anyone who doesn’t want to to work with a black woman, which is what I am. I don’t have time for that and not interested in selling that person a product or service. You show who you are and you usually attract the right client. There are times when my experience as a minority, like any of my other experiences, has actually enhanced my offerings as I can give certain insights and understandings on certain projects.
Lisa Irby says
Exactly, Romina. I choose to look at the positives. No matter your race, sex, opinion, etc. there will always be people who won’t like you. I have no time to worry about the negative people in the world. They don’t deserve that much attention. LOL
judy Abraham says
I have been following you off and on for years. I’ve started my youtube channel but I’ve not been consistent and I don’t know why. I don’t even know if my lack of activity is down to procrastination, fear or laziness. Thank you for this video though. You have been such an inspirational online presence. I just wished I wasn’t so undisciplined, fearful and bone idle. Thanks again.
Lisa Irby says
We all get into that mode from time to time. It could be a bit of all three, but when the time is right and when you’re ready…. you’ll do it! My other issue is distraction. I have so many things I love about online that I have trouble focusing. Maybe that should be the NEXT podcast. LOL