So glad we’re finally at a point in time when we can talk about this openly, although I wish it didn’t take public death from an actual knee to the neck to get folks to believe us about the oppressive invisible knee that’s been plaguing us at work (and in life) for generations.
Racism didn’t stop with public lynchings. Discrimination didn’t stop with desegregation. Indeed, many argue that our ability to compete on equal footing has inadvertently resulted in less equitable opportunity as we’ve encountered increasingly desperate attempts to suppress our advancement — both as a people and as individuals. These counter efforts have worked so well that our mere presence in certain arenas is simply unexpected.
We can compete at the highest levels only with and against e ach other . We don’t belong in competitive job pools, and we certainly don’t belong in top consideration for top roles and top pay. Because many diversity initiatives are merely policy and not practice, it really is shocking when we somehow manage to escape our “place.”
Given names like Sharon and April, combined with surnames like Hurley and Hamm, have come with a certain amount of priveledge. Indeed, many African Diaspora parents consciously choose names with as little racial or ethic connotation as possible for the sole purpose of increasing our chances of gwtting a job — or at least reducing our chances of not being considered for professional jobs — you know, beyond the status of “the help.” Apparently, it worked! To an extent.
Sadly, while our names helped us to break past name discrimination and into interviews, our skin color kept us from getting the job — or the right compensation or the right level of support for the role or any respect whatsoever— despite our qualifications.
Considering a vanilla name can really only get us so far in a white-majority world, I’ve been wondering whether a lifetime of “Oreo" and “coconut” slurs from other black and brown people has really been worth it 🤦🏾♀️
Thanks for the great insights and conversation starters, Sharon!