Racial Equity@Haas: 4th Year Haas Undergraduate – Abigail Balingit

This Racial Equity@Haas blog series written by three Haas students (Charlie James, Alankrita Dayal, and Naayl Kazmi) is providing the space for us to meet our core principles of being Students Always, Beyond Ourselves, and Questioning the Status Quo by opening the conversation on race, how it manifests in business, and its broader implications. We’re asking Four questions to members of the Haas community in order to illuminate how racial equity in business and Haas is conceived and to stir an open conversation.

Abigail Balingit is a fourth year Business Administration and Media Studies double major. During this past year, she was an Arts & Entertainment Reporter for the Daily Californian. Balingit enjoys long walks to FIFO and also listening to Drake on the way to class. After graduation, She will hopefully be employed somewhere in marketing and advertising, and she will be going to New York during the summer with her family.

Q1) What is Racial Equity to You?

“Racial equity is kind of seeing people of all different walks of life and different communities, whether that be African American, Asian American, or international communities. I think that it’s important to see that America is not really a melting pot, but a salad bowl made up of different people represented in a community. I could say racial equity is racial equality in a sense; that’s what I think it means.”

Q2) How do you find Racial Equity Important to Business?

“I think it’s super important right off the bat. If a company or organization doesn’t have the best diversity or if you don’t see other people besides one certain race, what other or different perspectives will you gain? – especially in business where I feel it affects so many other people besides just the direct consumers, direct suppliers, or employers. I think it’s important to know that in surveying a community or even – in a profit sense – trying to increase profits, a business should not exclude entire different groups of people from that whole process.

Q3) In Your Perception, How is Haas on Racial Equity?

“I would say I feel like there are efforts to increase people of different backgrounds in the community, which I feel personally that I am part of – I used to be in Partnership for Pre-Professional Philipinxs. There are also other groups on campus like HUBBA, LBSA, which I think do a great job in trying to integrate people within the business community. But I definitely do think it would be nice to see more diversity. I definitely think there could be a lot more representation at Haas.

With the immigration ban that happened earlier this past semester, it would be great in the business community, within Haas especially, to shed more light on the different experiences of people from different backgrounds that do come to study at Haas and to actually highlight and stand in solidarity with that cause of resisting the immigration ban. I think it’s important to do more; I mean they’re doing stuff, but I want to see more personally.”

Additional question) What would “doing more” look like to you?

“Even in my own personal experience, there aren’t many other people who are Filipino American – I literally know two other people at Haas that are. It’s really difficult not seeing more people of color being represented as they could be because there are a lot of different kinds of people at Haas – there are athletes, people in all different kinds of organizations. It would be nice just to see more people that can understand where you’re coming from to be in that space too. Not just for me, but for other communities as well that are underrepresented minorities, it’s tough when you feel like you’re having your community on your back almost, like you have to hold that weight on your own. For me it’s kind of difficult when I don’t have a lot of people from the Filipino community to talk to.”

Q4) Please Add a Personal Anecdote on Racial Equity.

“I took UGBA 105 Leading People and we talked about how it’s hard when we face different conflicts in the workplace, especially harassment – those are the really touchy topics as well as how to deal with those scenarios in real life. But I remember vividly in class asking something along the lines, ‘if someone is putting you down because of the color of your skin or where you come from but it’s not an outward slap in the face, how do you address that?’ It was a question I posed to the Professor, which I identified to the class as microaggressions. It was difficult to talk about these things, especially in Haas where we talk about stuff like accounting and how to increase profits, but she asked if I could explain that to the class, but it’s almost so hard – I think microaggressions are one of the hardest things to explain especially.

For me, my background was like – I came from a low-income background; in high school, it was like the minority-was-the-majority kind of experience for when I was growing up in Stockton. It was really weird because I kind of put a halo on Berkeley – I think of the halo effect – like it would have the most diverse people from everywhere and that everyone would be woke. That’s what I always thought, but going in, it was a little different because I totally saw that – where I come from is like a bubble – and then here it’s like, while there is so much diversity and that so many people come from different countries, I definitely saw more of what America looks like – you know – a majority white, and less people of color. I did for the first time feel like a minority, especially in times of snide remarks and light things that made me feel kind of ignored, which is really hard since I didn’t even know how to say these things. For instance, when we were looking at scenarios in Leading People; it’s just like what do you say when your co-worker kind of makes fun of your food or something. There are definitely degrees of racial inequity but sometimes it’s to the extent where sometimes it just feels like you’re getting put down. It’s kind of an insidious feeling where you don’t even realize it for a long time until you think about it for a while.”


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