Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why Do We Put Up This?

African-American females and females in general put up with a lot of nonsense on a day to day basis; especially at work. We put up with disrespectful co-workers, less recognition, and do work outside of our normal job description.

I'm not sure about other races but I say black women tend to "put up" with this mediocre treatment because of "the nature of the black female." From the day we were born, it is ingrained in our heads that we are to be strong black females; follow in the foot steps of Rosa, Ella, Coretta, Shirley, Oprah, and of course, our mothers. We are taught that in order to be considered on the same level and playing field as our white colleagues, we must be 10 times better than them. Study harder; join every club ever created and make sure you have a leadership position in at least 5 of them; speak properly and watch what you say in public because you might get stereotyped as the angry black female; and mask your feelings, never let people see you cry.

Why do we put up with this mess? Are we afraid that people will take advantage of us if we let down our guard? Do we think our bosses will believe we are unqualified for the job if we make 1 mistake? I do not have the answers to all these questions and many other questions that run through my mind while at work; but I have formed opinions based on my experiences. And I do believe that some people doubt my intelligence and capability when they first take a look at me, so I strive to be better than average and prove them wrong. In fact, I feel like I am proving myself to someone everyday of my life; a co-worker, boss, or even people I work with outside of the company. It's almost like I have to prove that I derserve to be where I am just as much as the next person.

I am sure I am not alone in my feelings, but I often wonder if my mentality will change as I progress in my career. Will I ever feel like I do not have to prove myself?


Candice said...

Preach, Portia!

The question of "why" is a great one, but I don't know if there will ever be a definitive answer, or a time when we don't have to ask this question.

Le sigh.

E. "Bluntastic" Pizzler, the Fourth said...

You're right..but sometimes I just think its just being "black," period. We have to always go above and beyond to get the same level of respect. People are always look for the worst in anyone - and being black - you have one MORE strike against you. Fortunately or unforunately, black FEMALES have reputations for working hard - so people don't usually doubt our intelligence. They just may think you're a b!tch..stereotypical hard to love, neck swerving, attitude giving black woman.

As a working professional for the past 5 years, it doesn't get any easier, but attitudes to vary from city to city. My best working years have been in Washington DC, where diversity is celebrated because of the population.
At my current job, we rank extremely high as far as atmosphere plays a major role.

I encourage you don't get weary in well doing :) for soon,you will reap a reward. Be excellent...regardless of race, sex or age - and one day, You WILL be recognized for what it is that you bring to the table!