Black Women In The Workplace, One Woman’s View And Discussion

Black Women In The Workplace, One Woman's View And Discussion

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According to research, women in general face a lot of hurdles when pursuing their professional careers. Being a male dominated world, they are forced to work even harder to make their mark. Well, black women have an even rougher time.

The fact that they’re female and black makes them face even more challenges. Let’s take a look at the typical life of professional black woman.

Sassy Black Girl

Black woman in the office with sassy attitudeThe sassy attitude that most black women have is viewed as being unprofessional. Being bold and spirited is seen as uncouth behavior. This suppresses black women in the workplace. It feels like walking on egg shells. It’s also a common notion that black women always get angry for no reason. When you speak out about your feelings, you’re seen as being aggressive. It’s like they think you’re a ticking time bomb that’s going to explode any time. Most of the time, black women end up keeping their heads down and keeping their opinions to themselves. Trying not to collide with anyone doesn’t really help since most people still have the notion that black girls are always on the verge of exploding with anger.

Black Identity At Work

A black woman smiling in an office settingA black woman’s identity is suppressed in the workplace. For starters, when they have a black sounding name, it makes them get viewed differently. Most employers, even black ones, are put off by resumes that have black sounding names. In an interview with the View, Raven Symone said that she wouldn’t hire a person with a black sounding ‘ghetto’ name. In most cases, you’re judged as a thug, incompetent and lazy simply because of your name. This forces many black women to start using initials of their names when seeking for jobs or promotions so as to hold back the stereotype. For instance, using the name C.M. Stevens instead of Charmita Malik Stevens.
Another issue of black women’s identity has to do with hair. All of us black sisters know that our natural hair is curly and unpredictable. This makes black women’s natural hair get viewed as unprofessional. In most workplaces, cornrows, afros and dreadlocks are banned. This leaves black women with very limited options of styling their hair. To be precise, they’re meant to have it straight which means using a relaxer, wig or weave. Not to mention the fact that every time you change your hairstyles, most colleagues fail to recognize you and think that you’re a different person even if you’re the only black female in the room.

Keeping Quiet About Racial Injustice In Companies

Two female colleagues discussing in the officeIt’s funny how you’re expected to just stay quiet and not talk about racism. When issues of racial injustice come up, you act like it doesn’t affect since you’re afraid of how your colleagues will react if you talk about it. It’s even worse if the issue of racism happens at your workplace. When you speak out, others say that you’re acting out. As a result, most black women just keep quiet and bury their emotions deep down until they can find a person to talk to. In most cases, it’s usually friends, family or a partner.

“Double Life”

A black woman explaining something in a work meetingIt’s no surprise that most black women are leading a ‘double life’. They speak and act differently in the workplace than they do at home. It’s not that they’re trying to deceive others; they’re just trying to blend in. At work, you tame your emotions, use the accepted English and stay as composed as possible. You try as much as possible to “act white”. The pitch of your voice is more polished and composed. On the other hand, when you meet with friends and loved ones, you can be your true self and laugh, cry and get excited or angry. This shouldn’t be the case. Nobody should change anything about themselves so that they can be deemed appropriate. Sadly, that’s the world we leave in.

Black Women In The Workplace, One Woman’s View And Discussion

Not all black women face a rough time in the workplace. It all depends on where you work and how your colleagues and boss treat you. Of course there’ll those awkward moments that crop up but it might not always be that bad. How is your experience at your place of work? Kindly share with your fellow black sisters!