Pigments of Professionalism

In the workplace we often face many instances of intolerance, prejudice or stereotypes.

It’s either our

Sexual orientation
Marital status

Or some other ridiculous reason for them to justify paying us lower wages, refusing us promotions, reducing our shifts, or otherwise disrespecting us in some way.
Sometimes we just put our heads down and ignore it. We simply keep working because we need the money. We need the job to support our families, our friends, ourselves. We keep working because we simply don’t know what to say when confronted with blatant bigotry and discrimination. We work because that’s what we know how to do.

Though stereotyping and prejudice are largely intertwined, there is a difference between stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. Stereotypes are widely held, but oversimplified ideas concerning certain groups. Prejudice is a preconceived notion about a certain group that is not based on reason or experience. Discrimination is the unjust treatment of different types of people or things, largely based on prejudice on protected characteristics such as race, age, or sex.

These are topics that people of color have had discussions on for decades. And, it is extremely important that we continue to have these discussions, especially as we begin our journey into Black History Month during the month of February. This is a time for us to acknowledge what needs to be fixed in our communities, and embrace the rich cultures we already flaunt on the daily. Thankfully, there are people out there today doing just that.

There are people out there speaking up against the odds. People who recognize that what they have experienced is wrong, and are looking for ways to respond and educate the community on how unacceptable discriminatory behavior is. There are people who say, “Forget them!” and instead focus on building up communities of color by empowering women. By acknowledging how the everyday woman is beautiful, amazing, unrivaled. There are people who are trying to start their own movement of empowerment and are reaching out to garner the support of others who also long to see a positive change in the community.

Below is a list of several missions that have started down the path of empowerment and education. Let’s start our own conversation on our experiences and how we have nurtured our own belief in ourselves. What do you think of the projects below? Do you know of any projects you love and want to share? Do you have any personal tips and advice? I challenge you to enrich this next month with challenging conversations about culture. Leave a comment below and let’s start talking!

Racist Sandwich

Professional Black Girl

Empowered in Color Podcast

Yemaya Chapter, Lehigh University

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