Former news anchor told Brittany Noble told Ebony Magazine, “A month after giving me the green light I was pulled back into his office. I was told ‘my natural hair is unprofessional and the equivalent to him throwing on a baseball cap to go to the grocery store.’ He said, ‘Mississippi viewers needed to see a beauty queen.”
Soon after, Noble was fired due to unclear reasons.
As a young black female who will be starting a professional career soon, I find myself reading a lot of articles related to being a woman of color in the workplace. You can imagine my disbelief when I read on Forbes’s online website that only 60 black women will be promoted to a managerial position during the time it takes 100 men to get the same type of promotion, or the fact that 5 months ago they had to create another law in New York to ban hair discrimination against people of color.
I’m smart enough to know that there can be multiple inadvertent factors that can impact that statistic and the reasoning behind the need to even pass such a law, but I became wonderstruck with so many different ideas and how they pertained to me, not just as a woman, but as a woman of color. Ideas like the current state of the gender and race pay gap, as well as how different aspects of race and stories like Noble’s will impact my future as a black woman.
We might be in between battles, but there is still a war on black women were hate-fueled attacks can and do happen each and every day. Attacks just like Dr. Tamika Cross, who was told by a flight attendant to put her hand down after she offered her service to help with a fellow plane passenger who was having a medical emergency. “We are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you,” Cross was told by the flight attendant who only used the color of Dr. Cross’ skin to establish the false assumption that she couldn’t possibly be an obstetrician and a gynecologist, which she, in fact, is.
No, I’m not just another stereotypical “angry black woman,” I’m actually just scared because after the hard work I put in during high school and college, I might still be looked at as less than compared to my other colleagues. In 2016, the Pew Research Center uploaded the research of Eileen Patten who found many disturbing facts while researching the gender and minority pay gap. Patten wrote, “Black and Hispanic women with a college degree earn only about 70% the hourly wages of similarly educated white men ($23 and $22, respectively) (Patten, 2016).
Statistically, women of color could be left behind completely by non-woman of color. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “The pace of progress toward pay equity has been slow, and if progress continues at the same pace, it will take until 2059 for women to finally reach pay equality. For women of color, equal pay is even further away. Hispanic women will have to wait until 2248 to reach pay equality with White men and Black women will have to wait until 2124 for equal pay” (Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 2016).
To make women of color wait another century to be paid equally as white men and wait 65 more years than a non-woman of color to get paid equally is impractical, unjust, and inhumane. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have 105 years to wait, my nieces don’t have 105 years to wait. Hell, even my future granddaughters don’t have 105 years to wait.
Well, I refuse to be considered an anomaly. Black professional women are the brave warriors willing to rise up from our stereotypes and break the binding cycles created by decades of white money, political agendas, and the mainstream media in order to keep us down and keep us complacent.
Equality might not come tomorrow or the next day, but it will come, and, when it does, nothing will be able to stop the powerful force of a black woman chasing success; not even a prejudice boss or a racist flight attendant.