I saw the photos above on social media and thought this was a great opportunity to share my why. So here it goes.
I just want people to stop passing on the myth that If you are “professional” and if you have a nice tone you will be well received.
This is a lie for many women of color. I’ve heard many professionals say that they worry about coming off as the angry black woman.
They worry about being perceived as aggressive. They think someone like me is more received because I am often referred to as “professional”, soft spoken or gentle. But I assure you sis. The grass is not greener.
I too experience the same thing in different forms. I am intimidating because I’m smart, because I always have ideas, I am discerning, I am efficient, I am ambitious and I am confident.
These qualities should be embraced but in a world that thrives on oppression and unequal power, those qualities are often mocked, belittled and unappreciated.
They’d much rather you be a pushover, much rather tolerate your silence than your true voice. I wear many scars from the professional realm, – situations I had no idea would be awaiting me, things not taught in school and hard to prepare someone for. That is part of why I started this column.
But what I know to be true is that I am who I am. A beautiful black woman. I bring more to the table than what’s expected, however without psychological safety and respect for who I am, I can’t show up. Not anymore.
I used to work in spaces simply because my heart was for the cause. I would put my all into my work without seeing the realty of the world I was immersing in.
Now as I make decisions on where I go and who I work with (not under or for) , I look for things like, is this a safe place for black women to show up authentically? Is this a place for leadership and growth? Are they receptive of change ? Do they have policies and values that show they treat humans well, not just written but demonstrated.
This is my reality as a black woman. It’s harsh. That’s what I can say. But I am not bitter. I am brave. I know that my ancestors continue to carry me.
And together we will accomplish what they set out for me to finish. Keep healing through the process. Life is not fair, and often we must take breaks to heal from the strikes against us but as Maya Angelou said still we rise.