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Do you feel pressure at work because you are black?

  • I can say for the first time in a long time I don't feel the pressure I use to feel at work for being a black woman. I now work for a black owner and the most of the staff is black. For many years though I use to have a hard time finding a job because of my color. I have a white womans name and sound like such but when I would enter the building for the interview I would often get the we are sorry we just filled the position. I would get fired for small things and many times made to feel like if I made a mistake just once I would be fired. I love working for a black owner but would love to beable to work anywhere and be seen as equal
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by amanda on 24th August 2008
  • I am the only African-American in my office, actually in my office building and have never felt pressure at work. I have felt pressure when I worked with other African-American women. I don't want to say they seemed threatened by me, but they were the ones that gave me the biggest problems. My employer treats me with much respect and she actually relies on me for things that many employers may feel uncomfortable with because of my race.

    I thought that being the only African-american (black) would pose a problem, but none to date or anything worth mentioning.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Yvonne on 27th August 2008
  • Great question, Amanda -- thank you for posting this! I started to write a reply but it got way too long, so I made it into a blog post over at The 36-Hour Day. I'd love to hear what other working moms of color think about this issue...
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse on 28th August 2008
  • Hi my name is Christine. I work as a medical transcriptionist from home. I also date a Jamaican man. I am from the upper midwest. Until a recent move to FL. A year and a half ago...I will admit I never even knew any colored people. I am astounded to see the difference in treatment at my job I work out at. My grandparents taught me to not judge anyone. My family is supportive of my relationship so long as I am happy. I am very lucky. Recently Wesley and I had a conversation regarding his working situation; he has a new manager who has now fired 50 non-white people in the last two months. He is very nervous and I have noticed a huge change in his personality that I feel is due to the fear of losing his job. He is defensive it seems to me at times. He recently had a problem with his car. I couldn't believe what he went thru in trying to get it fixed! I told him to let me take it in. He was upset and felt I thought he couldn't handle it. I finally after 3 weeks told him that he had spent an enormous amount of money on something that should have only cost him $120 at the most. And it still was not fixed. I finally said they are taking advantage of you because of your accent and color is my guess...and they won't do that to me because I will cut them off at the knees. In fact you can come with and watch what I am going to say to them if you'd like. I cried when I told him this...because I felt so bad that it happened...yet I felt I had to tell him the truth. I quote...honey forgive me for what I am about to say, this is not how I think, but it's what's happening. I was afraid to say that to him...but it was a huge step in our relationship for some reason unbeknownst to me. I thought he would hate me for saying it, and it seems he was almost relieved. Can you explain that?

    Long story short...I have always said that if we could put on blinders on the whole world it would be a different place entrirely. If any of you want more info on Medical Transcription training please let me know. Not that I suggest you hide because I don't but you won't be discriminated against due to color if they don't see you and it is rewarding. I wear a hearing aid, and have been discriminated against due to that in public positions as the thoughts around that are 'deaf and dumb' No one even knows that in my line of work now. And my hearing is most important in my job now too! How about that for faking them out!

    Here's the site for the training I completed.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Christine on 29th August 2008
  • I am glad people are talking about this. I am real happy to see it reached the attention of more then just the black women on here. I hope more people will say what they think. I am intrested in hearing the thoughts of some of the women who are in higher positions, who hire and fire employees. Do you think twice before hirring a african american woman or man?
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by amanda on 6th September 2008
  • I also wanted to make a comment to christine. She said:

    I also date a Jamaican man. I am from the upper midwest. Until a recent move to FL. A year and a half ago...I will admit I never even knew any colored people.

    Start by educating yourself not to use the remark colored people. Yes we are colored a wonderful shade by God but you do not need to point that out. It is a term that I personally do not like and it is used frequently by un educated prejuduce people. If your going to date a african american be aware of small things like that. I am sure you meant no harm in your use of the term, I just wanted to point it out.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by amanda on 6th September 2008
  • Sorry to offend Amanda. I am really not going to go out and educate myself on this. African American is not how he would like to be referred to either. He is Jamaican. So I get confused ;) please be patient with me. I personally see NO difference and refuse to give in to that thinking. So no educating on it. Sorry. But I have hired and fired in my day...and NO it would not make a difference to me. But I warn everyone...I am a hard working and demanding person due to my disability I have always had to prove myself and am an overacheiver so there you have it on that one.

    On the MT if you go to that and request the ebook it will pretty much explain the career and the requirements. It is not always easy to get started but it depends on your motivation. It is done every day. The people at the school would be more equiped to answer your questions than I at this point due to the fact that more opportunity comes with experience. Good luck!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Christine on 9th September 2008
  • I have been attacked by White men and women and by Black men and by women who look like me in the workplace...

    People (men and women of all colors) are threatened by educated, competent, and assertive women.

    You're challenging the established and assumed hierarchy when you don't fit into the stereotypical box that society has designed for you. This makes people extremely uncomfortable and they react.

    On the other hand, there have been people of all kinds who LOVEd me and my work.

    Still, it is stressful and - at times - lonely being in the skin I'm in.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Uhura on 17th September 2008
  • I think the term "African American" is inaccurate.

    I prefer "Julie", "American", or "Black" depending upon which is relevent in any given discussion.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Uhura on 17th September 2008
  • but what about being called colored Uhura?
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by amanda on 18th September 2008

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