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.
And, according to Huffington Post, black rights activist and speaker, Brittany Packnett has had enough. She started the #BlackWomenatWork hashtag in response to a segment on TV in which the delightful Bill O’Reilly proved just how racist he is when he completely dismissed Democrat and Congresswoman Maxine Walters in a response to Maxine’s criticism of Trump and his practices.
In the television segment, he said that he couldn’t hear a word she said because he was too preoccupied with her “James Brown wig.”
Because clearly her achievements don’t count for anything, right?
As if that’s not bad enough, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer recently also rudely demanded that April Ryan, a black journalist, stop shaking her head in response to him answering questions and accused her of trying to cast the White House in a bad light after she asked about the US’s political ties to Russia. While he is known for sparring with journalists, what people were really upset about is the fact that by telling her to stop shaking her head, he was essentially policing her body language.
While this happened in the States, I remember an occasion in which one of our interns went for an interview and was asked if she was adopted because her English is “so good.”
As a woman of colour, I can understand why this hashtag was born. It’s a global problem.
Black women are 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.
But, no more.
#BlackWomenAtWork has become a hashtag allowing women of colour to share their experiences and the responses clearly show that the sexism and racism shown above is an everyday occurrence.
We’ve rounded up a few tweets below:
When their natural hair is called into question
When you’re mistaken for being the receptionist
That moment when you’re mistaken for a criminal, even though it’s obvious you’re not
And here it is… the “surprise” that black people are eloquent
Another example below
When your appearance gets more attention than your achievements
And your abilities get called into question
When there’s just no in-between
Have you experienced any of the above-mentioned examples of discrimination at the office? Tell us about your experiences.