BEING a person of colour in the workplace is such a weird dichotomy. You will be there because you are fully qualified and the best candidate for the position, but no matter how much you smash your role, there is always the elephant in the room: that you might be ticking some diversity quota. 

On the one hand, it’s degrading to think you might have been given a job because the company needs to look a little more woke and little less like an EDL convention.

But on the other hand, it’s a good thing that said company recognises the need for non-white representation and thus has brought you to the table.

You’re hardly going to criticise an organisation for wanting to be less racist. Truthfully, the company probably chose you simply for your ability with no consideration paid to your ethnicity…the trouble is, you’ll never know. 

At this point it’s important to highlight that I do not and cannot speak for all people of colour – there will be many who disagree with my standpoint.

READ MORE: 'Wales is only pushing for white feminism'

Despite what terms like ‘BAME’ might have you believe, we’re not a monolithic group with one consensus. My mum and I can’t even agree on matters like these, so there’s no way on earth all people of colour will agree with me (although I do hope some will agree with me more than my mum does). 

With that in mind, I personally feel like societally we are still in a place where we need to consciously bring people of colour into roles with an eye on the qualities they can bring in terms of representation.

And yes, that means what they as a non-white person can do to improve diversity within an organisation.

I hope that not too far in the future, our grasp of fair representation will be so sufficiently advanced, that we will not have to consider somebody’s ethnicity at all when asking what they might bring to the role.

But for now, whilst white remains to be seen as the norm and the rest of us are bunched together as ‘the others’, we need to proactively take measures to improve how well we represent. 

We all (I hope) understand why fair representation is an important benefit to people who are deemed minorities.

But there’s a whole other vital reason for its importance that is often overlooked – that better representation very often leads to the job simply being done better. A variety of minds with differing outlooks will produce a superior outcome than a team of clones all patting each other on the back for thinking the same thing. 

READ MORE: FAW focusing on equality, diversity and inclusion

Never did this strike me harder than during a recent presenting job where I found myself, mid shoot, crouched in a gutter rewriting the script given to me because it was too preposterous for me to read in front of the camera.

The script, as given to me, said that Black people began to fight back against racism ‘for the first time’ following the death of George Floyd.

Before I could think better of it, I said to the director “I think Martin Luther King Jr would have something to say about that”.

That script will have been written, then approved by an executive producer and probably by a commissioner as well, yet nobody in that chain of command spotted the ridiculously inaccurate statement.

Had there been a single Black individual in that chain of command, with a heightened awareness thanks to their own lived experiences, that script would have been corrected and edited long before the camera started rolling. 

On a far, far greater scale, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s current tour of the Caribbean has been littered with racially insensitive PR disasters.

Seeing some of the photos from the tour, I was in such shock that I didn’t actually believe them to be genuine at first.

The photo of Kate on one side of a fence, whilst Black children press themselves up against the fence – but notably, on the other side – is an image so astoundingly awful that I cannot fathom how anybody in the Cambridges’ PR team gave it the green light.

Another image shows the Duke and Duchess dressed like they’re cosplaying as plantation owners.

The National Wales: Pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge waves at children during a visit Trench Town, in Kingston, Jamaica, were criticised as insensitive. Picture: Chris Jackson / PA WirePictures of the Duchess of Cambridge waves at children during a visit Trench Town, in Kingston, Jamaica, were criticised as insensitive. Picture: Chris Jackson / PA Wire

These photographs are not leaked images from unfortunate angles – these are the official photographs that the Cambridges’ team has chosen for the world to see. These were the good ones!

Had there been a strong presence of Black voices on that PR team, those images would not have seen the light of day because an alternative perspective would have brought to light everything that was wrong with those photographs.

READ MORE: Prince Charles and Barbados' presidential ceremony

The heightened awareness of those Black voices would have been an invaluable asset to the team responsible for the tour and, frankly, would have saved us all a lot of second-hand embarrassment. 

For me (and let’s remember I only speak for me), I don’t wish to blame white people for oversights such as these, because when you don’t live in the shoes of someone who has to have a heightened awareness, then of course there are going to be times when you slip up.

I’ll put my hands up and say that too often I make heteronormative assumptions and mistakenly overlook matters which will affect those within the LGBTQ+ community, because as a straight woman I can pootle through my day-to-day life without having to think of the challenges they face.

It’s not about apportioning blame – it’s about recognising that there are many areas where an all-white, or all-hetero team will fall short.

Better representation does not only serve to make minorities feel seen, it is also key to achieving the best quality outcome for all involved. 

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.