Now more than ever we are confronted with obstacles and difficulties in our daily lives that we just can’t seem to handle on our own. Fear not! Noted author and world-famous advice columnist Tionna Smalls is here to help you solve your problems! Today, Tionna counsels a troubled job-seeker.
There’s an opening for the top position at my company, and I’m up for it. I’m totally qualified for the job: I spent eight years working alongside a former C.E.O., and I’ve spent the last six years basically doing everything I could to put myself in position for it. It would also be kind of historical for the company, because I’d be the first woman in charge. Unfortunately, a new guy, who’s only been here a couple of years, is suddenly being mentioned for the position. Some people are even saying he’d be better at it than me, because his lack of experience would allow him to bring fresh ideas and “change,” whatever that means, to the company. Also, did I mention that this guy is black? The company’s never had a black in the top slot either, so it would be equally historical. Things are starting to get nasty: People are calling me unlikable and saying that I’m sending subtle racist messages about him. But it’s not true! I just want this company to be the best it can be! Sorry, I teared up for a minute there.
Anyway, what should I do?
Staring at the Glass Ceiling
Dear Staring at the Glass Ceiling,
You and I both know that you are going to win the position over the black man. It doesn’t matter how personable he is or how fresh his ideas are, he is not going to get the position. That is just how life is sometimes; black people get the shitty end of the stick in the corporate world. I know your company is usually an all boys’ club but their egos could accept a white woman in power wayyyy faster than they can accept a black man in power—trust me.
Sad but true, there are some white conservatives who will die before they see some (youknowwhat) in that kind of position. There are some who will try to shoot his black ass before he gets the position. I know you may think we are so many years past racism but I could tell you that that’s bullshit. There are some white people in the world who deal with black people in a work environment because they have to. Sure, they will sit there and give a black man an entry level position (hey, somebody has to go fetch the coffee) but for the black man to run the company—oh hells no; bad enough Tiger Woods is playing golf and the Williams sisters are playing tennis. I personally think they are telling you that they are considering him for the job to make you step your game up.
You mentioned that people are claiming that you are making subtle racist remarks. Well, maybe you are and you just aren’t noticing that you are doing it. You should really watch what you say because after the Jena 6, everything these days is about RACE. You could front like you haven’t thought about how you would feel if this black man beat you but I know you have but don’t feel bad—it happens.
You could also look at it like this, women have been on the come-up for quite sometime now; we’re paying our own bills, raising children alone, and running Fortune 500 companies, so what’s another woman in power going to do? Thank God for you there are more racists than there are sexists or misogynists. With that being said, remember that you are a strong, intelligent woman who is well qualified for the job. Hopefully your company will realize that and give you the job but don’t be surprised if both of you guys end up not getting the position. You just have to hope the white man who did the job before you screwed things up so bad that people are willing to take a chance. I will be rooting for you.