I really like Viola Davis’ acceptance speech at the Emmy’s on Sunday. It has been on my mind since I heard it. She is absolutely right. There is no difference between Black women and anyone else other than the opportunities that we are offered. I’m not a Black woman in Hollywood but I am a Black woman in the American work force.
My experience and observations in and of the American work force have shown me how little American culture values Black women. A Black working woman in America will be over looked and cheated out of an opportunity before any other group. It has happened to me many times. Sometimes I look back at my career experience and I feel that if I had never tried to do better, earn more, or stand up for myself everything would have been ok. I would not have had to cope with as much friction or drama.
But I am a woman that wants to do my best and live up to my full potential. I don’t want to just accept what I am being offered. Black women are usually offered the very least of every thing. We are offered positions that offer the least amount of money, perks or influence. It’s very hard to get over that hump. It’s the same hump that Viola Davis described in her speech which was a quote from Harriet Tubman. Black women will be relegated to low wage, dead end positions regardless, of talent, contributions or education.
When you speak to a supervisor about advancing with the organization is when the problems start. In my case they are unable to come up with a real reason why I can not be promoted to a better position. The next step is for management o start problems for you which forces you to either submit to mistreatment, fight or quit. All three of those are poor options because you can never really win.
I’m very proud of Viola Davis for her accomplishment. I’m sure it will mean a lot for Black women in Hollywood. It means a lot to me as a Black woman in the American work force. I hope that in time people will begin to see Black women as leaders and not just lowly subordinates that should be grateful for whatever crumbs they are given. I also hope that more Black women will begin to see their value and fight for their stake in the American dream.