Sunday, February 26, 2017



We march. We go to protests. We hashtag.  We work at squeezing our rights out of this country. That's for sure. But what I don't hear enough about is how black and brown people, especially black and brown women, deal with day to day racism and sexism in their day to day lives. What Kim Voeks did here is probably the meat and potatoes of forcing white people and white run institutions toward progress.

The critical thing the woman mentioned in yesterday's post did was tell the truth to a higher up about specific disparate treatment from specific white people.

I promise you I have problems doing this too especially if I don't see

- a black person in power -and even then I'm hesitant 
- another black or brown person has been successful in complaining

....because more often than not, the person complaining gets marked as the problem child.  But I am braver than I used to be. I've complained and won. I've complained and lost. I've learned that putting off your complaint for too long can damage you, no matter what the outcome. We have to stand up for ourselves.

I've heard to many stories from black women who quit their job and moved laterally.  In fact, quitting seems to be one of the first thoughts a lot of black women have when the work environment becomes hostile toward blackness or femaleness or black femaleness. 

Actually before we quit, most of the time when we as black women are afraid in the work place, we immediately start talking about how much how to move to the left or to the right to avoid the (often) white person(s) that is scrutinizing us or condemning us DISPARATELY, then how much abuse we can take for how long without calling it "abuse."  Then we think about just getting out and getting another job.

Been there. Done that. I have the t-shirt.

Some or many of us that quit to get away from a specific oppressor wind up getting the same pay at a new job. We manage to continue to pay our bills if we're both blessed and lucky. And that is important.  But a woman's corporate momentum is often completely lost when she starts over at a new work place.

We're losing wealth even when we don't look like we're losing wealth. 

At a new job a woman (or a man) has to start proving to a new boss that they work hard, start proving to a new boss that they can be innovative, and start proving to a new boss that they are worthy of promotion all over again from the beginning. 

We run a lot. I've run more than I wanted to. But Kim Voeks stood firm here.

I want us to be reasonable about protecting ourselves and our livelihoods. But I want us to think about the generation that comes after us too. I want us to think about our jobs in our institutions being better after we've retired or died. I want each of us to have spoken up and told the truth to power at least once before we die.  And some of us have to be braver than that. Some of us are going to have to be brave enough to know we will see 9 out of our 10 our complaints fall on deaf ears before we see progress made once.

This is the lesson I take from Ms. Voeks.

This Black Woman Rocks.