Being Black and Strong in the Workplace
For the past two years, studies have consistently reported that women of color are essentially mistreated in the corporate world and many other jobs at large. Some might say that they don’t see women of color being mistreated at their companies - but that’s because these women are less likely to report it to their superiors for fear of retribution. Moreover, these ladies are also highly underrepresented in many companies and in positions of power.
If facing discrimination everyday wasn’t enough, these women are unlikely to receive the necessary support from their managers. On top of that, they are very unlikely to be promoted to managerial positions themselves.
Often times you might feel powerless as the only Black or minority woman in the room, even more so in a room full of men. This might make you feel like there are different rules you have to follow in order to succeed in the workplace, no matter if you’re in the private or public sector. It’s definitely unfair when you have to push harder because you’re a woman and a minority. While men get to be tough by shouting and being aggressive, women of color are dismissed because of the stereotypical “angry black woman” bias.
But you know what, you have to persevere and continue to be true to yourself. If the system wasn’t built for women like us, then it makes no sense to become someone we are not in the hope things change. Sure, all men and women hide behind a mask at work, whether for professional reasons or just appearances. However, the Black woman has the burden of hiding much more of herself than the rest. This is where we have to come in an own our identities to change the narrative. We must speak for ourselves and not let unfair standards define who we are.
Don’t give up, keep on showing your true and positive self. Fighting negativity with positivity will help break the stereotypes that are meant to bring you – and the rest of us – down. They say there is strength in numbers, so if you encounter another woman, share your experience with her. Together we can strive and be there for each other. In fact, our strength and perseverance will help us mentor other women of color who are coming behind us. They too will not want to feel lost and it should be our responsibility to help them on their journey so that they can be as successful as we plan to be.