Thank you for stopping by to check out The Ebony Working Girl!
The Help is one of my favorite movies for so many different reasons. One reason in particular is that my maternal grandmother worked as a maid until she wasn’t well enough to work anymore so it reminds me of her. The movie highlights the struggles that black women endured while working as maids during the civil rights era. These women embody the ebony working girl. My favorite scene happens at the end when Abiliene is leaving her employer because she was accused and terminated for stealing silverware. As she’s walking out of the house, she says:
“God said we need to love our enemies. It’s hard to do. But we can start by telling the truth. No one has ever asked me what it feel like to be me. Once I told the truth about that, I felt free.”
Although I wasn’t terminated, I did feel a sense of freedom when I left my job. I feel free to speak the truth, my truth, as I saw it to share my experiences with you.
Hello, my name is Ebony, and I have been working in human resources for nearly 20 years. I was fortunate enough to climb the corporate ladder, but faced many challenges along the way. But let’s go back for just a moment. I recall a conversation my mother, my aunt, and I had just before I got my first corporate job. We had a HUGE debate about racism, sexism, and prejudice in the workplace. My mother shared many stories where she experienced some form of discrimination or prejudice, and as most mothers do, she was giving me guidance and telling me what to look out for, how to behave, how to speak, dress, etc. I said “no mama, things have changed since you started working. It’s not like that anymore.” I was adamant because at the time, I really and truly believed that we lived in a post-racial, nonsexist world. She ended the conversation by telling me that she will let me see for myself and to “mark [her] words” that I will remember that conversation one day. Well, I reflect on our conversation frequently because she was right.
I recently left the rat race of the corporate world to pursue my dreams of being an entrepreneur. The CEO requested a meeting with me just before I left, and part of the conversation included my observations of all the microaggressions and downright racist stuff that I dealt with during my tenure. He was receptive to what I shared, but he was visibly uncomfortable. I was told that I was the first person of color hired within the management ranks in the Corporate division; I was the only one for a long time and I felt lonely and isolated many days, but that’s another conversation for another day. I sometimes wonder why did it take so long; why was I the first when the company has been around for a while. I only hope that something good comes out of the feedback that I gave him; not only the feedback dealing with the race relations there, but everything that I shared that I believe deserves his attention because I dealt with so much more.
I created this blog because I faced many issues, obstacles, and feelings as a woman of color in corporate America that I don’t think other women have to think about or deal with. If I’m mistaken, I would love to hear from other women to get their perspective as well. I can only speak from what I have experienced as a black woman. I’ve seen the comments and reactions that we make on social media when something negative or disrespectful happens to one of us in the workplace; the reactions are strong and swift. This tells me that we have a lot to say and we’re passionate, but we rarely have a space to speak freely and comfortably without being called “angry”. I want to create a safe space for women to vent, discuss their triumphs, tribulations, tips, trends, etc. and share advice and ideas. Men, feel free to chime in too! Here are a few housekeeping items: My goal is to help and educate so let’s all be respectful of each other; internet trolls will not be tolerated! Be sure to check weekly for new topics. I’m looking forward to many productive conversations. Welcome to The Ebony Working Girl!