In my first professional role, I was fortunate to have a Black manager. I was a young software engineer, 20 years old — right out of college, when I had an unfortunate conversation with a team member. The conversation had a lot of racist undertones. As a Black women working for a Black manager, I felt empowered to tell my manger about the conversation. I asked my manager to report the conversation to HR.
He then gave me the realest advice only he could give as a Black man. He informed me of my reality as a Black women just starting out in an industry dominated by white men. He said if those racist undertones were harmful, then I had a long and unfortunate career ahead of me. He shared how my peers would treat me and what HR would do with the complaint. He strongly encouraged me to learn the difference between the battle and the war, because I will be facing a lot of battles in an industry that wasn’t comfortable seeing Black women in power. He did say he would support me if I wanted to report it to HR, but he wanted to paint a clear situation for me.
Today, in our Slack community fellows started a conversation about Google firing prominent AI researcher, Dr Timnit Gebru. And today, we are still having these same backchannel conversations.
“So if you would like to change things, I suggest focusing on leadership accountability and thinking through what types of pressures can also be applied from the outside….Writing more documents and saying things over and over again will tire you out but no one will listen.” – Dr. Gebru
***This is part of the HBCUvc daily post challenge. This is post 3. Please forgive typos, errors, or any temporary moments of sanity. The goal is to just write. Hopefully, tomorrow, I’ll have a happy post. Someone send me some happy topics to write about***