MTV News host Su Chin Pak was a plenary speaker at today’s Kaiser Permanente’s National Diversity Conference. In an animated speech filled with entertaining and deeply personal stories about growing up as a Korean American woman (stories that made us both laugh and cringe at the same time), Pak described her own continuing process to live, juggle and reconcile her personal immigrant family life with her now increasing public personality as part of youth and media culture. Like many from diverse backgrounds, Pak had no role models to follow into her television career. She asserted that when we fully express who we are with creative freedom and passion, we find and claim the seat of our own power. She described today’s generation of youth as not defined by “checking boxes” but by what “identities” you claim. She explained that, to effectively reach and communicate with today’s younger generation, it is not about casting a wider net but become focused and “hyper-localized” to the specific (and multiple) interests, issues and identities each individual has – and then discovering the information and communications technologies-enabled networks that already exist or are being created around those interests, issues and identities. For example, MTV now has a show called “A Thin Line”, focused on sexual bullying of teenage girls online – a very specific issue for MTV’s core audience. Pak challenged those of us working for diversity and inclusion to move from a “think tank” mentality (with lots of ideas and discussion) to a “do-tank” mentality, in which we allow those we are working with to create, share, and define diversity for themselves, to create the change they want to see, to support them, and fully empower them to do the work. She concluded with this provocative observation: “the answers are already out there – it’s just up to us to plug in…”
Frankly I think that’s aobsleutly good stuff.