Are black women invisible?

Are black women invisible?

She gets a new job. They are very excited to have her they say. She brings a great energy to the company, just what they are looking for. There is no one else there that looks like her, but she loves the role, and they are a forward-thinking company, so that is definitely going to change.

 They ask for her input into meetings, they nod thoughtfully when she speaks. Then they speak and she sees the gaps, the voids into which she will fall. How have they not noticed, the structures and policies that exclude others like her. Does she tell them?

They say hi at lunchtime, ask where she was before, they seem surprised at her experience and knowledge. “So, you’ve been here a while” they say. What do they mean “here” She knows what they mean.

He asks her where is she really from? Another day he asks if she has ever met her dad? She says nothing.

They ask her to join their diversity group. There is no diversity in the group. There are jokes that rip at her guts, there are stereotypes about her people, there is overwhelming ignorance, there is no care or desire for change.

She eats lunch alone. At the staff drinks, he comes back and tells her he has never been with a woman like her, he says her skin doesn’t turn him off, quite the opposite. He thinks she will be great in bed, because her kind all are, aren’t they?

At team meeting she puts through her proposal for the new project, they interrupt when she speaks, they speak over her, they say it won’t work.

They are starting a new project, it looks and sounds just like hers, but apparently it was his idea.

She speaks to her line manager, he tells her she is a bit difficult; she should try to work with others more, he says they have noticed she isn’t as social as the others. It’s not about whose idea it was, it’s about the good of the company. Can she be more of a team player.

In the toilets she hears them say that she is weird, why won’t she talk about her past? Does anyone really believe that she has those qualifications, I mean it’s unlikely isn’t it?

They don’t invite her.

She goes to a networking event. On her journey there people bump into her. When she walks in, she sees, no one looks like her, no one talks to her. She has become invisible. Again.

At her appraisal they ask her if she sees herself as a good fit, could she be less pushy. She is reminded of the company’s commitment to diversity. She watches the woman who she trained get promoted above her. It’s time to leave.

She finds a new job. They are excited to have her. . . . . .

Racism against Black women is so often about invisibility. We are disregarded until we are sexualised. Some will read the above and justify the incidents. That’s the gaslighting we experience regularly, and it is the reason that these stories are unsaid. There is a reason lack women are one of the highest groups to become entrepreneurs. It is how we find equality in the workspace and how we become seen

 Recommended Reading

Millennial Black by Sophie Williams

The Good Ally by Nova Reid


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1 comment

Thank you for your written words

Moneka Lyons

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