Tired Woman of Color

A Letter From A Tired Professional Woman of Color

I am exhausted from doing due diligence. So I won’t speak in my language. I won’t show my empathy for those in need tonight. Rather I’ll turn on my Obama-Luther Anger Management Translator App allowing my fellow Diversity Experts to speak your language.

Here are the writings, podcasts, videos and black and white you all understand. Because today I can not help you.

FYI: Your Culture Does Not Include Everyone

Alison Green

Your Culture Does Not Include Everyone
Anybody in a marginalized group knows that our ways of speaking, acting, and even thinking are not as valued as those of the majority. So, we try. We try to be someone else every time we walk in your doors. We vet our thoughts, we check our behaviors, we correct our actions, we change our accents, we switch our dialects, over and over again, while conforming to norms and values that won’t change for us and were decided when many of us weren’t even allowed in the room. This might look completely effortless to you, but inside, many of us are screaming.

Excerpt from Authentic Diversity: How to Change the Workplace for Good, by Michelle Silverthorn, 2020.

So those of us who cry, laugh loudly, speak with passion, build collaborative teams, wear big earrings, and say “aks” instead of “ask” – we become something else. We become experts at hiding ourselves so we can succeed. So much so that when a 22-year-old girl simply asks, “How long will I need to do this?” the only answer I can give her is, “for the rest of your career.”

Michelle Silverthorn
My threshold to code-switch has reached it’s limit.

One Black employee’s answer to “How can I help?”

Alica Forneret
Writer, Culture Amp

As a “professional emerging out of weeks of working, crying, reading the news, yelling into the ether, protesting, and being further traumatized by horrible people or videos on the internet… it’s exhausting.” “…. Especially when I’m already struggling to focus and stay engaged. 

Alica Forneret

Pay people for the work they’re doing.
The professionals listed below are working very, very, very hard to create these resources, workshops, books, and companies. They’re crying at their computers. They’re running healing circles and holding space for others. They’re in the streets getting attacked and exhausted. They are also drowning in requests asking to “pick their brains” for free or the price of a coffee. Just pay them what you would pay any expert on digital strategy (at minimum). 

Alica Forneret

Give People of Color TIME and SPACE to feel, deal and heal.
I am still crying from the Boulevard Brewing Co out pouring and now there is another issue has been dropped at my feet with a hard 24 hour deadline and no answers from the white people in charge.

Ella Braithwaite

Follow Up

Michelle Silverthorn & Alison Green

Michelle: It starts with having …. managers acknowledge this is a problem then doing some self-reflection on why that is. I spend the first half of a lot of my trainings, talking about the why, whether it’s stereotypes, racism, sexism, homophobia, a mistaken belief that you are color-blind, a fear of confrontation, a preference for your in-groups, or a lack of exposure to identity groups different from one’s own.

Michelle Silverthorn