“Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair?
Who taught you to hate the color of skin,
to such extent that you bleach your skin to get like white man?”
“Who taught you to hate yourself
from the top of your head to the soles of your feet?
Who taught you to hate your own kind?” Malcolm X
Expanding the research about Black women unique, inter-sectional struggles from the point of power than oppression provides a more comprehensive and accurate view of understanding the fundamental questions, who is the Black woman, and what is her story?
Indeed, many are justifiable angry that Blacks have remained among the poorest, most economically disadvantaged, oppressed population from the slave-era into current times. Studies show that the same slave-era, racist ideologies and systematic structures have rendered the group greatest at risk across the spectrum for illnesses, physical, emotional and psychological abuse, poverty, homelessness, mass incarceration, unemployment, and underemployment – to name a few. These injustices have not only been passed down to this generation, but many can also envision these same chains around the necks and ankles of future generation.
Not addressing racism when they occur is a missed opportunity that weakens the work-place community – and creates a space to continue on an insidious course where people think that it’s ok to express their racist ideologies that demean, belittles, and inflicts harm to others – without consideration and accountability.
“…The more we know about each other, the closer we are to learn something about ourselves.” -Maya Angelou-
My decision to call out racial discrimination at work in September 2017 was not a difficult decision. As a Black person, I cannot be silent when racial remarks the likes of (monkey references and dumb nigger bitch) are made that negatively affects us particularly in a space that should be protected. I did not think that the situation would have led to my firing – but even if I did know, I would’ve still spoken out. If we are ever going to end the racial strife in this country, we cannot afford to stay silent about race-issues that perpetuates destructive mindsets. Silence does not create the space to have the conversations necessary to learn about ourselves and each other. Sustainable change will require collective effort. These situations can be a learning, growing experience for everyone – if handled properly.
“You have to learn to get up from the table when love is no longer being served,”
– Nina Simone