back to top

I Am, But I Am Not (October 2017)

A panel discussion featuring each of our ERGs (A*POP, Amigo Latinos, B.I.O, Halal Cart, OUT, & Women@) in NY. The conversation will focus on our identities - how it's shaped the individuals we are and how it gives us different perspectives on what's going on in the world.

Posted on

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com / Via YouTube

[1:00]
Annie:

Good morning everyone. We’re going to go ahead and get started. Thank you for joining us, I know it’s a little bit early but we got some breakfast so hopefully you’re all set with that.
For anyone who’s standing in the back, we do have four very lovely, comfortable open seats in the front so if you’d like to pop up here, feel free to do so. And hopefully, this could go into the start of many more events to come. We know that if anything, if you’re waking up like I am, you’re hopping on to the news, especially BuzzFeed News, seeing what’s going on in the world, it seems like unfortunately everything is cascading and happening at once. From travel bans to DACA to the rollback of birth control to transgender rights and same-sex rights and everything in-between, hurricane relief responses, Catalan referendum, the list goes on and on and on. It does get very exhausting and we should be able to have these spaces where people can get together and have these very open, honest conversations, in an effort to really learn from each other. At the end of the day, we only know what we know and it’s so valuable to hear from other people.
With that, I’m so excited to introduce our panelists today. These are all folks that sit on our ERGs and if you don’t know what ERGs are, they are our employee resource groups. They’re groups that you can join and I’ll let each and every one of them speak a little more to it. And thank you so much for agreeing to be on the panel and sharing your experiences, so let’s go ahead and get going.
From there, I’d love to talk a little more about our theme before I had it over to Nabiha. I am, but I’m not. This was a series of videos started by Kane on the BFEG side in LA and all these videos he made really inspired a school in Utah to create their own version of sharing their stories. And last year they sent us an email that talked about how they were really inspired about how BuzzFeed was putting together all these videos, I am, but I am not. It was all identity based. It was ethnicity based, it was gender based, it was religion based and everything in between. And so we got this letter and it was so great, seeing the real world impact, seeing what we do have a difference in the world and really enabling these students to be themselves and share their identity and dispel any stereotypes or thoughts or whatever it may be that other people have of them.
So again, going back to that we hope this is the start of many conversations to come. Thank you all for taking the time today to join us. And thank you all to our panelists again for volunteering to share their stories. I’d love to go ahead and introduce Nabiha who will be our moderator today. Nabiha has been at BuzzFeed for about 2 and half years or so and sits on our Legal team.

[3:43]
Nabiha:

Good morning guys, how are you? I am so excited to be here today, not only because Liz, Bim, Monica and Shannon are too cool to hang out with me normally and this is my only excuse, but because every other place I’ve worked has sort of talked about diversity in this very distant, colors of the rainbow, abstract way but everyone is too awkward to really get into the details of people come from different places, people have different privileges, people have different things going on. So to Annie’s point, this is the beginning of a much larger conversation that’s going to get down and dirty and juicy and talk about these things.
Before we do that, we should probably talk about who we are. So I’m going to start with Monica. Who are you, what ERGs are you in, what do you do here. Tell me about you and we’ll just go down the line.

[4:34]
Monica:

Hi everybody, I’m Monica Hare and I’ve been at BuzzFeed for two and a half years. I run global Client Services and I co-founded the Women@BuzzFeed ERG which actually was the first ERG and we’ve since launched Women Out West and we’ve been doing that for a year and half.

[5:05]
Shannon:

Hi everyone, I’m Shannon and I’m the LGBT Editor on our News side. I’ve been at BuzzFeed for also about two and a half years and I help out with the OUT ERG.

[5:21]
Bim:

Hello. I’m Bim Adewunmi. I’m obviously British. I have been at BuzzFeed for just under 3 years. I work as a Senior Culture Writer on the Culture desk for BuzzFeed News.

[5:41]
Liz:

Hi. I’m Liz Kim. I’m on the Marketing team at BuzzFeed. I’ve been here for too long, 4 years, and it just hit 4 years a few weeks ago. I’m one of the co-founders for the A*Pop group here. It started in NY and they just also recently started one in LA.

[6:00]
Nabiha:

One thing I always like to remember in these conversations is that while we may be part of a single ERG, many of us exist at the intersection of a lot of different identities and I would love to hear from the folks on the panel, how those various identities have shaped who you are today.

[6:17]
Liz:

Sure. For me, I identify as a female and Asian American but more than like, me looking like an Asian American that’s affected me, was more being a child of immigrants. I’m first generation and having my parents move to the States and having to figure out America as I was growing up, I went through a lot of instability. I had to move around literally from when I was born up until college, I move around every 2 years. There was not a time where I got to stay in one school or in one cafeteria with my friends. I had to move around every 2 years. At first, I hated it and I used to pick fights and I was a little trouble maker kid. But eventually as I started growing older, I feel like I can’t stay in one place for too long and it’s shaped me in that way.
And you can literally drop me anywhere in any room and I can be friends with anyone but that came from literally my whole childhood. I was dropped in a new cafeteria and I had to learn really fast and overtime I got better at dong that and I’m kind of grateful for that experience but I was doing that as my parents were trying to figure out a new continent and I was having to take those blows but I’m grateful for it now.

[7:30]
Bim:

Sorry, what was the question again? I’m really half asleep.

[7:39]
Nabiha:

It was, tell us about your intersection of your identities and how they’ve shaped who you are today.

[7:44]
Bim:

I am black. I also am Muslim. I’m first generation like Liz. What else? What else? I’m incredibly intelligent. No, sorry. But I am. But what I meant to say was there are many places where my isms kind of touch and some of that is by virtue of being a person of color but growing up in the UK as well as in in Nigeria. So, I lived a life of being across continents from the time when I was very young. I think I got on my first plane when I was 5 and we had to live between West Africa and Western Europe. I’ve also been very lucky to kind of travel everywhere so I lived in Berlin for a while. I first moved to America when I was a teenager because everyone’s foolish when they’re a teenage and you say stuff like, “Oh I want to live abroad” and then you go abroad. So I’ve lived a fairly international life. First of all by necessity of who my parents are and what the British did. And then just because I could. So now I live here and I’ve been here for just coming up on 2 years in a few months. And beyond my initial thesis that Americans are weird, I’ve had a very interesting time being black in this country with this accent and I’m interested to see how that continues to change especially because my accent kind of dips the longer I live here. So that’s very interesting to kind of watch my Britishness seep away live, and you have a front row seat to that.

[9:45]
Shannon:

My intersections. I am a woman, I’m gay, I’m queer, I was the, my parents, well my dad didn’t finish high school and my mom didn’t finish college. I was the first kid of 5 kids to go to college. What else am I putting in here? Well I guess particularly at the intersection of being a gay women has impacted me, I actually wrote it recently, about how after I saw that Cara Delevigne was one of the woman to come forward about Harvey Weinstein and she said that he told her that if she dated woman publicly, it would ruin her career and he also tried to get her to kiss a woman in front of him. It was just like the experience on a very dated scale to some extent a lot of queer women have experienced both in the workplace and outside of it. Just the villianization and also fetishization of queer women and being gay isn’t cool if you’re off dong it by yourself but it’s alright if you’re performing it for men which is something that intersects with straight harassment that a lot of women have experience but it has this different kind of dimension when you’re walking with your girlfriend on the street and someone is trying to sexualize your relationship, gross, and that’s happened to me since I’ve worked but not here, because now I’m literally gay for a living.

[12:04]
Monica:

I identify as 5 lanes, a wife, a stepmom, a boss lady, a lesbian, I think some of those have shaped me later in my life but I do think the things that shaped in earlier in my life was probably the combination of the, oh and I forgot I’m a woman, but I would say like, the gender and the sexuality. It would be hard to kind of pinpoint but I do think how it shaped me was that I was different and I was different really early on and I think the moment where it really struck me was in 6th grade, I was told I couldn’t play football anymore, that girls were not allowed to play football. And that was the fundamental moment for me where I realized, oh the rules are going to be different. You know, even though my mother told me I could do and be anything in the world that I want. I think that was really you know, it stands out 6th grade, I’m different, things are going to be different. So, overtime it turned out that like, everyone used this wording that I was a tomboy. So, you know, I think that at that time and I grew up in the 70s and 80s, so I’m dating myself, but that still you know, I wanted to be a firefighter and that was not something again that girls could do. I think that a lot of that has shaped. And in my later life, some of those other things have again shaped me, especially the stepmom part of my identity.

[14:10]
Nabiha:

Hello! How are you? You get to be in the hot seat. So tell me about you. What ERGs are you in? What do you do? Welcome to the party.

[14:23]
Oscar:

Hi everyone, my name is Oscar Diaz. I apologize for being late. I was trying to press the turbo on the subway and it just like, not working. I’m here. I’m on the Amigos Latinos ERG and also part of the OUT ERG. I’m on the Marketing team here, I’m the Experiential Manager so anything that’s related to events and transforming those into experiences. Really trying to activate the URL to IRL, that’s me and my team. So the question was how do I identify and how has that shaped how I navigate this world. So there’s a whole list of different identities but I think primarily as a Brown, queer, trans, non-binary, person of color, there’s a whole plethora of different systems I have to navigate. And for the most part, it’s navigating those as an “other” and being “othered” in so many different ways. I think BuzzFeed has been one of the most inclusive environments that I’ve ever had the privilege to work at and I’ve been here 2 months so that’s a pretty good sign. It’s really interesting to see how many different aspects of my identity I can really cement myself into while I’m at work which feels really nice and also just challenging a lot of systems continuously and how we can continuously improve upon and make spaces that are fully safe and fully inclusive for a lot of folks.

[16:15]
Nabiha:

I wanted to pick up on the theme that Shannon mentioned which is about how your identity can shape or can play into your day to day work. And Bim, I want to start with you because as a Culture Writer, your various identities give you a vantage point into assessing all of the nonsense that’s happening in the entire universe these days. And I want to hear from everybody, starting with Bim, how does your identity shape the actual work you do on the daily here, if at all.

[16:47]
Bim:

I think it does. I should also say, sorry, I’m with BIO and the Muslim ERG. I didn’t say that. Why would you know that? Sorry. So, I think the base to begin with is the idea that news is 100% objective. I think there’s an idea that if a white man is telling you something, that it is true and everyone else is making comment. And that’s nonsense. I bring it to work the same way white dudes bring it to work. They just don’t even think of themselves as bringing it to work. So I walk in very much with the confidence of a white dude. And just pontificate and then just go, “Ok so that’s the news. Good day,” and walk away. That’s what I’ve seen white people do, all the time. and no one ever questions them so screw you if you want to question me. Everything I say is perfect. Shut up.
I think it’s impossible to leave yourself behind. It’s not the kind of thing -- there are places where you can compartmentalize parts of your life, what you’re doing and then there are other places where it’s impossible because your identities are so intertwined that it doesn’t make sense to try and untwine them. So in those instances, I make like Sheryl Sandberg and I lean in with my identity and so I will look at specifically from the perspective of, “Oh, how is this affecting black women, or immigrants, or Muslims, or Muslim Africans or whatever.” It’s a series of permutations and I get to look at it from that perspective and what I’m saying is no less valid but more often than not, it’s not being considered because again we have a very strict idea of what we think objectivity is and that’s bull.

[19:09]
Shannon:

I think about that question of objectivity a lot too. I think I bring my identity to work as I’m writing about, and writing from the perspective of as a lesbian but also I am working to highlight a bunch of different queer and trans voices, which to BuzzFeed News’ credit, we’ve had a LGBT vertical since before I joined more than 3 years ago. Saeed Jones founded the vertical and it has become, finally in the news, it’s more common to see queer and trans issues being treated with more seriousness. But, back when BuzzFeed LGBT started, that was certainly not the case and I think we always started approaching these issues with the assumption that we didn’t necessary need to show two sides of the story of queer and trans humanity, but we’re not gonna go into the story with like, well what if people don’t deserve these rights? We come from that perspective and I really like, like I just mentioned with Harvey Weinstein, I bring my perspective and my life experiences to certain things in life, events and challenges. I consider myself to be in position of having to report and analyze news and culture accurately and intensely but I also think of my role as a way to amplify certain voices and to show the very different sides of the LGBT community.

[21:23]
Monica:

I’m gonna pick up on what you said about bringing your life and self to work and bringing your confidence. I feel like for me, bringing my confidence is very important but I also think that my identity as female and being a female leader, and that there’s inherently different styles and different ways to think about leadership. And by virtue that I am a woman and that I am gay, that offers a very different lens and a very different style than a traditional way of looking at leadership. So I try really hard and it’s an internal battle to stay authentic and to stay true to that, because, there’s certain attributes to “the standard style” that just don’t match who I am. I don’t talk to just talk. If I talk I have something really important to say. And I do think that sometimes is a prerequisite for being a leader and I think that my identity has really shaped who I am and how I approach leadership and I try to really stay true to that. And BuzzFeed is an amazing culture in that way. I’ve been at a ton of different companies that have not always supported or encouraged, and I feel like this, we do have, that is actually something that I feel like we culturally support women and definitely have a position.

[23:25]
Liz:

I wanna touch more upon just kind of being American, Asian American in the creative space. So growing up, it’s like a stereotype that’s rooted in truth. People either want to be a lawyer, doctor or engineer and there was never really a conversation about being in liberal arts or doing anything outside of being a lawyer, I would’ve been a horrible lawyer. The reason I stress that now, I still try to volunteer at my high school when I go back and even at NYU. When I try to talk to these kids, I’m always trying to stress if you’re passionate about something else outside of those fields, please do it. I talk to kids at business school all the time, I’m technically in business but I’m in marketing so I’m considered more in the creative field, and I will have these private conversations with students who are already in business school at Stern and they’re like, “I’m kind of in this because I was told by my parents,” and I hear this over and over again. Honestly, you’re still in your 20s, you’re still young, you can still go to the creative field. There’s no set path. But it’s like, you live in NYC, you have no excuse, because I’m talking to NYU kids, so for me, it’s been important to reach back to people who younger than me who still have a chance to shape their career.
Even my roommate, she went to law school, she went to Georgetown for like 2 years, and she ended up dropping out with tons of debt. And I was like, “You could’ve done that 2 years prior and saved yourself from that.”
But it’s because it’s kind of conditioned and engrained as you’re growing up. From when I was younger, I was like, there’s no way in hell I could defend someone, it’s just not my thing. I was lucky enough to know that early on and I didn’t care what my parents thought but other people are more considerate of their parents feelings. For me it’s really important to encourage people, Asian Americans especially, to venture out of professional fields if they wanna be creative, then just be creative. So that’s really important to me.

[25:26]
Oscar:

For me, it’s really trying to pinpoint what the tipping point or “ah-ha” moment is for folks. In the event space, that is something that is like visually impactful that is going to drive culture, that is going to drive people away from the event with the takeaway, “Damn BuzzFeed knows how to throw a damn party and this happened.” In my background, in the work that I’ve been doing for the past couple of years is grassroots organizing. And that looks a little bit different. For me, when I started doing photography, I started off doing fashion and editorial. And right after Trayvon Martin was murdered, I started going to the streets and meeting people and sharing in the rage. That culminated in me being in the streets more often and doing more direct actions and soon I wasn’t behind the lens but I was doing the grassroots work and working with a number of coalitions in NY to address these systemic issues that impact our communities, specifically of color.
And I was really trying to narrow down what’s the ah-ha moment for folks. Because my ah-ha moment, my tipping point was a rage that culminated inside me that mobilized me to action. That’s been something I’ve been honing in on. How can I make sure I can address and identify what peoples tipping points are. Whether that’s in grassroots organizing and making sure people are aware of the different issues that are occurring. And on an unrelated and kind of related note in the event space, is how do I find the ah-ha moment and tipping point for other people.

[27:14]
Nabiha:

Thank you. I love this idea of being very thoughtful whether it’s through ah-ha moments or thinking about how being a woman can affect your leadership and thoughtfully bring your identity into your spaces, into where you work. I don’t know about you guys on the panel but I definitely feel like recently these days there’s moments where things that uniquely affect my identity sort of come crashing down whether it’s a stupid tweet from the man who occupies the White House or other things that sort of force these conversations that I maybe didn’t wake up on a Tuesday morning knowing that I was going to have to have.
One from my past is I remember, I had to explain to a law firm partner that I couldn’t show up at the airport an hour early just to get on a plane because at the moment I didn’t have a Homeland security redress number and a Pakistani American Muslim woman with a last name that matches a lot of people on a lot of lists kept somewhere and that I actually had to show up at the airport 5 hours early and that’s just how that was going to happen. And I remember it being such an awkward, fraught conversation. All of a sudden I had to talk about my identity to a person I didn’t really didn’t want to talk about it to, in a way that materially affected, sort of, the business choices we were making.
So I’d love to hear from people on the panel about how do you start conversations in the workplace about your identity especially when it feels like the world is occasionally forcing those conversations upon you. Happy to go down the line or have whoever is holding the mic go first.

[28:50]
Shannon:

I think that if it’s happening in the workplace, sometimes those conversations can be really hard, especially if you are in a workplace where you have a manager who’s not sensitive to these issues of any kind. I’ve worked in places, I had a boss who refused to believe I was a lesbian, he just didn’t. He was always very suspicious. Sometimes just to even broach the topic of your identity at all, whether it’s because something terrible has happened in the world that you’re dealing with uniquely or everyday realities of your life, it could sometimes be hard to bring those things up. It can be hard deciding whether or not it’s even worth it to broach the subject and I think it’s case-by-case or maybe sometimes it’s like talking to friends and co-workers and realize you’re not going to get that space at work. But then there’s also different people who would be more open to broaching that conversation so it’s case-by-case.
I feel very lucky to be at BuzzFeed. After Pulse, that was such a hard day in the office for many people and Saeed Jones was my manager at that time and there was something that was so nice about having a manager who just understood and be in a position, across all of culture desk, across various identities who are reacting to this terrible thing and he knew. It was so nice to have that. And then you don’t even need to broach the subject which I think speaks to how important and valuable it is to have people of marginalized identities in managerial positions and positions of power.

[31:23]
Bim:

I think it’s interesting that you brought up Pulse because I was thinking about the things I had to report as part of my job and over the time I’ve been here, in New York specifically in America, I’ve been covering actually a little bit of election stuff. Which was […] And at the end of the year I rounded out what had been a fantastic year by covering the murder trial of Dylan Roof. And that was one of the heaviest assignments I’ve ever done. And it felt.. I was in Charleston so I was in the courtroom, I was crying and I was transcribing by shorthand and all this stuff and you know, talking with my editor afterwards. Then I came home, while the trial ended, before the sentencing and it was incredibly tense. I remember just looking at my manager, she’s on the West Coast so we had a video call, she just looked at me and she was like, “you should go home.” And I was like, I’m gonna do that. I’m gonna go home and cry. When he was found guilty, I remember wanting to vomit and standing and running to the toilets. And everyone was like, are you ok, maybe you should go home and so on. And so there are things, you know, on the one hand, this is everyday life for a lot of people, not the massacre of churchgoers, but the societally agreed upon worth of black life. And that’s something that a lot of black employees I know at BuzzFeed and beyond definitely carry and it can feel as if the world is very, very different.
I think when it comes to talking about it, I’m very lucky because I’m a writer so I get to broach these things with my editor and say, “Hey, I’m thinking of writing this or I think we should do this,” and we can have a discussion and conversation about how to do what we’re doing. But I think it can be quite difficult if you’re not in a position where you get to express the things that you are feeling. If you’re not in a job where you can write about stuff, then it can be something that you muzzle up and kind of talk about. So this is where things like slack rooms come in very handy. I think talking it out with someone, not necessarily a paid professional, but even just the idea of like Shannon said about a manager who might share a similar identity or even not a manager, just a group of people to talk it out with, I think is actually incredibly helpful.
On the other hand, I think there’s something very interesting also about people realizing that they don’t have to disclose anything. I think there is a thing about justifying, it’s very kind of internet-y, where you have to list your credentials before you speak about a certain issue. So lots of people see my name and understand immediately that I have African heritage. But people don’t tend to look at me and see a Muslim so they say all sorts of crazy shit. Then it’s like, “It’s funny you say that because I’m also a Muslim you racist piece of shit.” You don’t have to disclose. I do think that you should be 100% comfortable, [author] said something a couple of years ago at the Brooklyn Book Festival where she said resist the urge to self-cannibalize for people. You don’t have to expose your every trauma to try and make yourself more human. The core of it is that we all deserve understanding and dignity, merely by the fact that we’re alive and we’re here. So as much as it could be helpful to disclose, sometimes you don’t have to. And that’s also ok. That’s something I can’t stress enough.
Young writers ask me that all the time, “Oh I’m being asked to write about black things,” and I’m like, “You don’t want to? Fine, don’t.” For the longest time, I wrote about Marvel. I mean, it’s black too. Everything is black. But my point is, you don’t have to write about your blackness. You don’t have to go into a room as a black person. You know, like, feel free to step away to a certain point. Obviously, don’t be that person who’s transracial. Don’t be a dick. But also, feel free to step away from the things that are killing you in tiny increments. It does no one any good, least of all you.

[36:11]
Liz:

For me, it’s been choosing my battles because every day I’m trying to figure out do I want to pick a fight about this, do I want to call this person out and I’ve gotten better at it but I remember when I used to work at magazines before BuzzFeed and before diversity on magazines was cute, I remember he was a famous editor at the time and I was working for him. I guess one of the readers wrote in a letter to the editor saying, “Oh I would love to see more diversity on the cover.” So he’s like, walking this letter in front of us, I was an intern back then, and he’s like, “It is what it is. Do you expect to see color on X cover?” And so at that time I was so angry, I was an intern and I didn’t feel empowered to say something but I always look back at that time and I wish I did. Since then, I’ve gotten better at, as things happen, trying to confront those issues.
If someone says something racially offensive, bringing it up in a way, “Hey ,I still love you as a person but what you said was kind of fucked up.” And having a conversation there and then and squashing it I think is important because they’re not doing it maliciously. Sometimes they’re just really unaware and you kind of staying silent about things like that almost enables it. So my thing has been calling things out as they happen but in a way that is respectful because I always do regret calling out that editor when I was an intern because it was just wrong for him to, that was just how he thought and I wish I brought it to his attention but that’s just now how the world works.

[37:42]
Oscar:

I have to second what Bim said about self-preserving if you don’t have the coins to spare. I think there’s so many microaggressions that one faces throughout the day that you have to message that slack messenger and be like, “Girl, guess what so and so just said. Mmm, mmm.” And sometimes that’s like our way of venting and our way of kind of like escaping this conversation and choosing your battles as well, right? And making sure we have that space to have those conversations so we can move forward. Is this worth fighting for? Is this worth picnicking? And I’m often the kind that’s like, “Mmhmm, yup, we’re gonna bring that up.” But there are those power structures that are intimidating so how do we navigate those spaces in a way that’s going to be productive. And sometimes you know that something is going to be like, not in your favor. The power dynamics are such that there’s not going to be any kind of helpful conversation that’s going to go in the right way. So how do you strengthen your community? How do you build us up in a way that we can start addressing those more frequently?

[39:09]
Nabiha:

Monica, I don’t want to skip you on this topic if you want to weigh in.

[39:16]
Monica:

I feel like everybody, excellent answers, I think maybe I would just say, we work at a company where when Trump was elected, people were openly crying out in the open and they brought in puppies. You know, I just feel like that doesn’t happen a lot at companies and I think that sets a tone and I do think that as I’ve sort of risen the ranks in management, again, back to that I do personally set a tone for folks that are on my team and you know, sort of, cross teams that you work with. Like, making it a safer space to again, be your authentic safe, whatever that might look like or be. And having empathy about what people might be going do. But you do have to sort of pick and choose your battles, that rings true as well. Especially right now, you would wear yourself out. There’s just so much that you could tackle.

[40:59]
Nabiha:

Thank you. That’s a great lead in for our very last question. I know we’re just about at time. Conversations like this are a great start, all of your advice has been a great start but what is just one thing, and we’ll go down the line, that we could be doing in this room to build a better and more inclusive workplace culture.

[41:18]
Oscar:

I think understanding that education and that the understanding of empathy that a lot of marginalized identities need, understanding that that burden and that education shouldn’t fall on the identities that already marginalized. I shouldn’t have to educate you on trans issues or queer issues because there’s already so much that I’m tackling myself and navigating in this world. So if you do me a favor and google some shit on your own, perfect. Thank you for alleviating that burden off me. And it’s much larger than that. There are much more complex issues that’s going to take you a little bit more than google, like go use those university resources. But I think in essence, take off some of that burden off folks that are already marginalized.

[42:15]
Liz:

So it’s pretty easy for me. Like, when you walked in here and you were sitting next to someone you don’t know, did you say hi to them? It’s really like, the people that are around you, are you interacting with them? And you could just join an ERG here. I would start there. Join an ERG that you identify with or joining an ERG that you don’t identify with. And I feel like that’s where the most organic interactions happen. It’s not setting up a panel and talking about diversity. It’s really just saying hi to people that are in your lane and being nice, like not an asshole on the L train, it’s not that difficult to say hi to people around the office.

[42:56]
Bim:

I think one of the most important things you can do as a human being, but also as someone who wants diversity, is to pause. I think a lot of the time we rush into something without asking ourselves a series of very purposeful questions. Many of us feel we have rights regarding specific things, and I think it would do all of us a world of good to stop for literally 10 minutes and just kind of go, why am I here? What am I adding to this? Am I shitting all over this? Should I walk away? And a lot of the time, some wisdom here, you’ll find you don’t need to be there. You could shut up. And a lot of people don’t. And so I think that’s something that all of us, myself included, could stand to do. You don’t always have to have something to say. You could always just zip it up and just go to sleep. It’s incredibly helpful.

[43:57]
Shannon:

I think that there’s a lot of ways where specifically when it comes to things like heteronormativity or cis-normativity where everyone can actively challenge in their work and just in their interactions with people on campus, whether it’s not making assumptions about peoples’ identities or being sure to ask what pronouns people use, just basic acts of courtesy like that. And when it comes to the work that you’re doing, something that on the LGBT desk, often encourages a lot of other people on edit to do is to think about, stories that involve LGBT people and experiences don’t necessary just need to be an LGBT story. Like, if you’re working on a video about relationships, like include a queer or trans couple in your video. Like ways of thinking about all these different identities can and should exist across all platforms and all stories. We don’t just all exist in these single verticals so that intersectional experiences should be reflected in our work. I would add that if you’re a hiring manager or if you know anyone of a different identity. ERGs all have referral links to send to HR so we could all actively work on getting people of different identities in through the door and working at BuzzFeed as well.

[45:33]
Monica:

I think it all starts with, with how women, I think how we again, stepping back and saying that BuzzFeed has a unique culture but we can always do better. I do think stuff like the ERGs is fantastic and also this, but literally like, walking up to someone who you don’t know, who you know, you never met and just say hi and try to establish working relationships with a bunch of different people here because I do think we do have a pretty awesome and diverse workforce. I do think it all starts though with the recruiting pipeline and how we think about hiring. And sort of making sure we’re holding ourselves accountable to make sure that that is really strong and continues to develop. So, beyond that, just basics. Always listen and always have empathy. That’s always important in your environment.

[46:46]
Nabiha:

That was all great advice. Please join me in thanking our panelists.

[47:00]
Annie:

Thank you to all of you, up here, again. And thank you to everyone who came. Hopefully we all learned a little bit something when it comes to being a little more human and understanding others peoples experiences, starting conversations on our own. If you have any feedback about about what’s going on today or what’s going in at BuzzFeed in general, I’m happy to talk, your HRBP is happy to talk. We want to hear from you to make sure that when you’re coming to work, it’s a place where you want to be. So let’s get the conversation going and thank you all for joining us today. Grab a bagel on your way out.