I waited a while to write this one, wanting to make sure I was able to get all of my thoughts out properly, and I still don’t think I’ve gotten them all down. At no time in this #BlackBlogsMatter Challenge have we tried to ban someone from speaking their mind, instead, we are simply taking these few weeks to speak on experiences in our lives and the lives of many Black people around the world. Even we are not all the same and have not experienced the same issues.
So, to start this post I must say, I don’t care what anyone has to think or say about my personal life.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for my professional life. I wish I could have the strength of my counterparts in the #BlackBlogsMatter Challenge when it comes to my professional career, but I don’t and here is why.
I’m not only early in my career
I’m not only black
I’m not only a woman
I’m not only a millennial (Yes, for some reason in this society, this matters a lot)
I am all of those things combined.
While I am darn good at my job and love HR with a fierce passion, I am also being placed in a box of expectations, and that’s usually by my white peers. There days in which I doubt myself because I don’t see a lot of representation or because I don’t know if I’ll ever be good enough as a coworker with a different skin tone.
I’ve had a lot of white bosses in my career and almost every single time, I’ve had to have a conversation about how they had me messed up. Messed up to think that I’m going to be just another black girl who last for a while or just another black girl who will do anything they say to keep my job.
Then, I realized, I have been conforming myself to the image of a black woman who white people find comfortable enough.
Because of my career, I cannot stop thinking about what white people think because like the rest of the world, white people make up most of my career field. I can’t stop thinking what white people say because of the old, “You have to be twice as good to get half of what they have” line. It’s true, just because you don’t want to acknowledge it or sit in the truth, doesn’t make it less accurate.
I don’t always speak my mind when it comes to a change I think might be beneficial, I stay hidden and allow others to take the shine in certain situations, I dim my own light to fit in the box that white people deem okay.
#BlackBlogsMatter has given me the opening to discuss issues with people that a lot of time we deter from. It can be because we are tired of having the same conversation or because we don’t want to offend others by the way we feel. I’ve met and made some connections with some great people who don’t look like me and I will be forever grateful for those people. But for myself, and people who look like me, realize that we don’t need to wait for them to give us the ok to pursue our dreams, we don’t need them to sign off on a paper making it ok to be who we are, and we don’t need to allow them to dim our lights.
I’m learning to be unapologetically black and love the skin that I’m in, but for now … I [Can’t] Stop Worrying About What White People Think.
#BlackBlogsMatter Week 2