What Maxine Waters & April Ryan Experienced Is Nothing New For #BlackWomenAtWork

The Disrespect Maxine Waters And April Ryan Experienced Nothing New For #BlackWomenAtWork
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We are all expected to "shrink" ourselves in our workplaces.

In just a day's span two black women, U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters and White House correspondent April Ryan, were totally disrespected in forums meant to be professional.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer took it upon himself to tell a grown woman to stop shaking her head on national television. 

While Waters was criticized for her hair in what Bill O'Reilly later tried to pass off as a joke, his exact words were, “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig.” 

Black Twitter (specifically the women) responded accordingly after being prompted by activist Brittany Packnett who began the hashtag #BlackWomenatWork in support of both Ryan and Waters.

Packnett, like many black women, scoffed at the all-too-familiar incidents and used the hashtag to best describe what it's like to be black in a predominately white workplace (which is basically every workplace in every industry). 

Despite having built empires of our own and then building America (proof that we're more than capable of acting on a level that far excels chattel), we still have to work twice as hard to prove we're half as good as white counterparts — intellectually, socially, and otherwise.

I've asked myself time and time again why it is that in most ways we have to shrink ourselves — hair included — to accommodate the discomfort that comes from white people who are unaccustomed to our "assertive" nature or our tightly coiled hair.  

While talking to the Huffington Post, Packnett frankly expressed her frustration. 

“I’m surrounded every day by brilliant, confident, incredible black professional women who get demeaned despite their prowess. Today, I was over it. I have deep an abiding respect for Congresswoman Waters and Ms. Ryan who are both trailblazers in their fields. They are to be respected, just like every other black woman who rises each day to contribute to this society in ways that are all-too-often taken for granted.” 

However, because they we are black, the likelihood of being respected in the same manner as a white woman much less a white man is next to impossible.

We'll always be met with greater obstacles to overcome, that range from rude comments about our hair to those around us being threatened by our less than jolly expression on some days (lightheartedly known as resting b*tch face among white people). 

That's why we're taught young to perkily imitate the white woman while doing business — from her voice to her hair. 

For better or worse, black women will always be forced to conform (or colonize) around our white peers to put them at ease. For better or worse, our white peers will never know the real us. Not now. Not ever. Not on Facebook or anywhere else. 

Don't believe me? Think I exaggerate? I suppose that some days we come to work a little off our game, and here are 10 #BlackWomenAtWork tweets that sum up what happens on those days — the days where we want to be a little more us and a little less ... you.

 

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