Lowered expectations

I used to work in government. In my years there, it became clear that expectations for my work were lower than those for my white colleagues. I knew that I was capable of doing better work, but sometimes I would just coast along. It’s as if the bar was always set lower.


I’m not your mammy

20141207_080337This lady, emailed me this picture that her client insisted was her.  She went in to work that day, and her elderly client said to her, “Why didn’t you tell me you were famous, why didn’t you tell me that you were in the paper?!”  The
African woman said back, “what are you talking about?”  The client then goes to bring out the paper/magazine from here, and says “see, this is you!  You didn’t tell me”  The African woman says back to her, “that is not me Mrs. Smith”, the client insists that it is her, and says “are you saying that I’m lying?”  The African-Nova Scotian woman just said she just gave up…but when speaking with me, she said,  “there are so many other African people in magazines, she didn’t think I was Oprah or Beyonce. Why a woman that could pass for a slave?”


Would you say this if a Black person were here?

Sometimes I hear co-workers criticize black people in supervisory positions in our field. Often in these discussions people will roll their eyes and say “equity hire” in reference to these people, i.e. implying that they only have their position because they’re black. I know lots of white people in supervisory positions, though, who perform just as badly in their job, yet when criticizing them no one says their position has anything to do with their race or ethnicity, as if white people don’t get any benefits for being white.

I’m white and don’t always know what to say in these situations, but I’ve tried to say something of late.