I’m not writing this as an angry black woman that likes to make everything about race. I’m writing as a disappointed black woman because most times it is about race. My BLACK is still not good enough. My BLACK constantly has to prove itself. My BLACK needs to work ten times harder to be seen as something. My BLACK is not being addressed. My BLACK is still fighting to be seen as important. My BLACK exists. Acknowledge it!
For as long as racism has been alive, black women have been policed about their image, their hair, their looks and their behaviour. Not just in social situations, but in the workplace too.
As a woman of colour, I can understand why BME women get frustrated. It’s a global problem.
Black women are sometimes silenced, denigrated and are constantly told to have several seats when they dare to speak out. Most importantly, people always assume they aren’t as qualified as their white counterparts. And when they are actually qualified, they are still not elevated to senior positions. BME are not given opportunities even in Africa. They are just expected to take orders and be followers with the exception of a few.
I remember working for an organisation that I shall not mention here some years ago. My team mates tried so hard to not sound patronising but statements like ‘It’s the first time we have employed a black woman’ and ‘I do have friends like you, you know’, were thrown at me on daily basis. The one that annoyed me most was,’Your hair is so long now! Where did you buy it? Was it sore? How did /do they make it look like that? How long is your own hair? I wish I could change my hair like yours, you're so lucky." I’m not going to lie – It always felt like I was the queen of Sheba when I changed my hair and presenting it to my subjects.
The environment was not conducive and each day was a struggle as I had to prove to everyone that I was as good as them mostly by doing all the crap work that everyone in the office didn’t like or enjoy doing. We know it, there is always work in any office that people try and avoid if they can. So in the end I think you have guessed by now. Needless to say, I did quit! That was the best decision I ever made. To make it worse if one dares to complain or even point out they are being sidelined, they are accused of being ‘too sensitive’, really?
There is proof that black women are being side-lined, pigeonholed and discriminated against in the workplace. Here are some few examples,
· being told your natural hair is unprofessional and makes you look aggressive
· When you’re mistaken for being the receptionist’s doctor when you are a Doctor
· Being complimented for being so "articulate". Hallo I have a degree in English Literature.
· If they're assertive then they're called Aggressive, if they're quiet then they're called Passive.
That being said, Lets embrace each other and our cultural differences for a better world.
This is about my personal experience and is not out to get anybody. I know how you guys love being offended by anything and everything that involves race.