Charlie Buhler is a film director who has been strongly influenced by her upbringing as a bi-racial woman growing up in a predominantly white area in South Dakota. Charlie uses her work to make sense of the dichotomy between how she experienced the world and how the world experienced her through the lenses of race and gender.
Hear her speak about her path to becoming a film director and the importance of representation on-screen. Be inspired by Charlie’s experience as a woman of color in the film industry.
It was 25 minutes before our restaurant was scheduled to open. and I noticed three casually dressed African American young men enter the patio. One peered through the front window, saw that we weren’t yet open and joined the others on the patio. They remained there talking and laughing loudly until we opened.
“As we gather together at this exploration & celebration of our cultural diversity, let us ask for the blessing of our Creator who has placed us all on this precious planet. Let us give thanks for our shared hope for a future where we can harmonize, not homogenize, the intersection of race, ethnicity, religion, generation, and genders represented in this room.” That’s how I began my invocation prayer for Chattanooga’s Chamber of Commerce Diversify Summit. The luncheon at the Convention Center was packed with every generation, from grey-haired sages to newborn infants with their moms. Attendees represented corporations, small businesses, universities and colleges, nonprofits, networking groups, media, and municipal agencies.
LATEBREAKINGNEWS: The college admissions scandal, in which 50 people including celebrities have been indicted for scheming to get the children of rich and privileged parents into top schools. It involves parents who, prosecutors allege, bribed and cheated their kids’ way into prestigious universities.
A mother’s remorse: My daughter received multiple mailings from Stanford, Harvard, Yale and other prestigious schools based on her high SAT scores as a 10th grader. Her dream was to apply to Stanford. She decided to focus on academics and her musical instrument, and practiced hours each day in order to achieve a skill level high enough to be accepted via auditions into the most competitive youth orchestra in the entire southeast United States. She focused on volunteer work with a group providing music enrichment to under-privileged children and started attending a state school as a dual-enrollment student when she was a senior in high school. Her academics were stellar, and her final SAT scores were exceptional (good enough to earn her the same scholarship that valedictorians get in our state). She was contacted for interviews at Stanford, Harvard, and Princeton, as well as several other prestigious schools but she was devastated to receive rejections from those schools that had given her some hope. As a parent, I am angry! We spent so much time and energy on her applications and extra activities. We are just a middle-class family, but it was an amazing idea to dream that our daughter could get accepted to one of these schools. Seeing the news yesterday made me sick to my stomach. All the hard work that my daughter did was never going to be enough to overcome the privilege that those kids are born with. I tried as hard as I could as a parent to try to level the playing field for her but it turns out it is much more unequal than I ever could have imagined. – A white mom, March 13, 2019
Here’s part two of my African American History Month story – what it was like growing up in my neighborhood in a small southern town. This episode highlights the largely untold stories of the unbelievable strength and resolve of black mothers who managed, as our preachers would say, to “make a way out of no way” in keeping families, community and traditions intact in the face of incredible challenges. So please join me as I take an imaginary walk through my old neighborhood and replay the “voices” and recall the unique experiences of “Momma Nem.”
Cross Cultural Expertise is the marketing leadership tool of a future that’s coming for us like a high speed train. While that train may go through tunnels and across challenging terrain with a new administration, technology is shrinking our world and that train is gathering speed. Our workforce, our suppliers, and, above all, our marketing professionals need the skill set of cross-cultural communication, cultural competence, conflict management, and problem solving. They are the fuel to compete in the future and without them, the train may miss its target destination and risk derailment.