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I Am Black and I Am Corporate America

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Is working in corporate America truly a comfortable space for black people to look the way they do and be who they are? As more black students are being admitted to college, their goals are just the same as anyone else. Many students are attending university to enter into their ideal job so that they can make a lot of money and live the carefree, expensive, lifestyle they’ve always dreamed of.

a young graduating woman looks out into the distance.
Via Unsplashed.com

That’s all nice, but lets be real, some of our dream jobs aren’t a safe place for black people to be ourselves.

Take for example, the men and especially women who are being denied jobs or being forced to wear their hair in ways that are more appealing to European beauty standards. Afros and dreadlocks are often times looked at as “distracting” or “unprofessional” by the standards of the people running these companies. So, who’s running these companies and who’s making this judgement? I’ll leave that to you to assume.

It goes beyond just the hair though, we also have the issue that so many black people have experienced of having “black sounding” names that may or may not negatively influence how their job applications are viewed. There’s an undeniable lack of diversity in leadership positions of corporate America, which unfortunately hinders the comfort of black people in their workplaces and surely influences self esteem in a negative way.

It unfortunately impacts the way some people decide to alter their hair so that it’s more desirable for the company or how some may simplify the spelling or pronunciation of their name so that it’s easier for their boss to pronounce.

It’s almost as if being black in these work environments equates to wearing a mask to shield the person that’s really behind it. Its imperative we strive for more diversity in corporate America so that everyone equally feels comfortable and confident being themselves.

About Simone Lomack

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