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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sat Mar 15, 2014, 04:49 PM

3. I saw the post about Beyonce - was it last week?

About "I'm the Boss" or something along those lines.

While I agree with this article's general premise - I think that I would caution young black women entering a finance organization/Corporate America/a Multi-National company to embrace that 'stereotype'.

Take a look at this article as to why:


During a talk at Stanford this month titled, “Black Women and the Backlash Effect — Understanding the Intersection of Race and Gender”, Phillips said that on the whole, black women are viewed as “independent, competent, and demanding of respect in the workplace” — and that these are all considered “classic leadership traits”. It is these impressions of black women that help explain (and contribute to) some of their recent success in education and business: Two-thirds of African-American college undergrads are female. And, between 2002 and 2008, the number of businesses owned by black women rose by 19 percent — twice as fast as all other firms and generating $29 billion in sales nationwide.

Notably, some of the very racism and sexism that has fueled offensive and inaccurate representations of us in popular discourse has helped to create these impressions, and contributed to our ability to reach these new heights in academia and the workplace.

If it seems counter-intuitive, consider some context. Public attacks on black women have been leveled frequently and offensively, especially in recent months. Late last year, for example, a series of animated ‘Black Marriage Negotiations’ videos went viral, in which a black female professional presents unreasonably high standards for a mate, suggesting it is black women’s own fault for not being able to find or keep a partner.

Down a bit farther in the article:
“African-American women may not be seen as prototypical blacks, and they may not be seen as prototypical women,” Phillips said. “That invisibility might end up being something that’s helpful in allowing [them] to take on behaviors that otherwise would not be allowed. Black women may be in a unique position to, in fact, step into leadership positions, to be embraced in leadership positions.”

In fact, in her studies she found that black women turned out to be the most employable, in part because we could assume broader roles than white women without being criticized. “Black women have more ability to be forceful in the workplace without appearing threatening,” Phillips explained. And black women “have more latitude to display…dominance.”

There's another board I used to frequent and the convo was robust enough that I save that link to that article.

Certainly in romantic relationships and general perception of black women - I think the stereotypes of us well - suck. Melissa Harris Perry really nailed it in her book - those archetypes and how America needs to shift it's vision and accept that it's dominant culture projection - not the reality of who we are. At the same time, she challenged black women to address those stereotypes we've embraced within.

I think her challenging of The Help (both the book and the movie) as well as Dr. Corny (tee hee) showed me that she walks the talk. While women in America applauded The Help - she addressed how 'sick' it made us feel. Here at a time when the first lady is a Black Woman - why? Why now? And well - Dr. Corny West wants her to sit down and shut up - and she still hasn't.

I don't know that one of the Fox Channel's Vixens would have her job still if she behaved as absolutely defiantly as Harris Perry does. Or - as another comparison on the intersection of perception of a woman - Rachel Maddow.

I've never seen a young black female intern or new hire 'raise her hand' in a meeting. When I joined the large telecom I work at now - I inherited someone else's fresh out of S.U. new hire. She was Caucasian, very pretty, EXTREMELY intelligent - and she raised her hand in a meeting. . It was almost as if she was asking permission to be there in that room full of men and me - and I shared that with her. I.E. Don't do that L.

She let's call her "L" considers me a mentor to this day - as does an intern-to-hire (let's call her D) I had the following summer. I went to lunch with them on 'bonus day' - took all of my mentees out. Male and female of several different races and nationalities. We had a robust convo about some feedback L go in her review - she and D now work on the same team in Marketing.

They both behave/act in the same way as they went to the justanothergen school of how to succeed in telecom. I told her - god help me - don't back down. But I find it surprising that D displays 'strong leadership skills' and L displayed 'arrogance'.

So how do we make it acceptable for white women to embrace these behaviors and still be viewed as strong leaders?

Yeah - I'm the boss - and I'm a trophy wife (that's a nod to personal relationships - another discussion) - that article also talks about the perception of black women as romantic partners and how success impacts are choices in men. Ironically - I'm married to a man that is an immigrant from another country - and white - where assertiveness and strength are highly sought after traits.

Getting a little off track and target but this could be a really interesting discussion to have at DU. I don't want to be left behind by white feminists - and being a person of honor - I don't want to leave white women behind or women of ANY race that want to reach for the brass ring. I can only do so much 'in house' - but what can we do to promote, mentor, guide, and support each other in obtaining leadership positions?

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ismnotwasm Mar 2014 OP
Viva_La_Revolution Mar 2014 #1
ismnotwasm Mar 2014 #2
JustAnotherGen Mar 2014 #4
LineNew Reply I saw the post about Beyonce - was it last week?
JustAnotherGen Mar 2014 #3
ismnotwasm Mar 2014 #5
JustAnotherGen Mar 2014 #6
ismnotwasm Mar 2014 #7
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