Since childhood, my mother crafted a very rigid box for me to live in. My siblings and I were NOT allowed to hang out with other Cambodian kids. Can you believe that? I was told, at a young age, that I needed to refrain from interacting with people from my own community.
Her reasoning was always that they were very bad influences and she had bigger plans for us. Generally, Cambodians, especially dark skin Cambodians, have been assumed to be “ghetto”, “poor” and “troublemakers”. Those stereotypes could’ve reinforced my belief and desire to disassociate with my true identity.
This particular instance of not being allowed to interact with my own community worsened as I realized that if I wasn’t allowed to be friends with other Cambodians, that I’d really be the only one who looked like me when making friends with other people. I was lucky to have attended a school where I befriended a range of people.
But just because I was fortunate to have been exposed to different cultures and ways of life growing up doesn’t mean that I never felt displaced.
I’m bringing that up because it’s from that particular aspect of my childhood that I developed a level of awareness for multiple perspectives, traditions and experiences of BIPOC and other minority communities. This is where I gained my level of understanding of the lack of opportunities.
In the past 5 years, I’ve made a conscious effort to change where/who I source my inspiration from, which has resulted in my discoveries of brands, business owners, creators and public figures to follow and support. Related blog posts: support small businesses and Asian owned beauty brands.
I realize that I haven’t made this effort and information as accessible or apparent in my content. When I thought hard about why that was the case, I would say that part of me wanted to make it seem as a natural part of my lifestyle and that it wasn’t forced or inauthentic.
From schooling myself, listening and taking notes from others this year, I’m learning that I should always make it very clear that I’m supporting or promoting a product, service or entity that comes from BIPOC and other minority communities.
I’m learning that adding this specific language to my everyday vocabulary is a way to help reinforce to others how we can broaden our scope when it comes to lifestyle.
Taking the Consumer Commitment by 15 Percent Pledge Organization
So moving forward, I will be sure to make it clear when I’m supporting businesses that are owned / led / founded / funded / etc. by the BIPOC or other minority communities.
Inspired by the @15percentpledge created by Aurora James, Founder of Brother Veilles, I will hold myself accountable for allocating at minimum, 15% of my shelf space, whether in my beauty or kitchen cabinet, to BIPOC owned or minority owned brands.
If you’d like to join me, use this consumer commitment guide as a start. Here are my initial steps:
- I conducted an audit of who I’m following on social including creatives, specifically influencers, bloggers, writers, authors, artists and public figures.
- I did an audit of lifestyle products I use so this includes skincare, haircare, makeup, clothes, food, EVERYTHING.
I’ll update this page periodically with more information on how I’m practicing this commitment. Hope you’ll join me!
*Please note that the 15% Pledge was created in 2020 after the death of George Floyd and a series of community unrest regarding social injustices that followed suit. Originally and currently, the 15% Pledge’s primary focus is increasing our society’s investment in the Black community. I am committed to that as well, and am extending my personal commitment to ensure my own inclusivity of multiple communities, hence my usage of the terms “BIPOC and other minority communities” in this blog post.