Chapter 8 in No Thanks, 7 Ways to Say I’ll Just Include Myself: A Guide to Rockstar Leadership for Women of Color in the Workplace shows you how to walk in your power. You’ll get to be a fly on the wall to one of my informal coaching sessions with a good girlfriend who’d been taken advantage of by a retailer that decided to sell her book without her permission.
Do you understand that one way privilege presents itself is when someone automatically takes control and puts themself in charge of you and everyone in the space? Because women of color, especially black women, are not centered in business or in the workplace, sometimes we acquiesce to others who take this stance automatically. Remember the woman in Jason’s Deli who charged me up about my shirt that had French on it? I wrote about it for Black Enterprise. She placed herself in charge of me, policing whether I knew what my own shirt said.
How about Chief Karen Officer, Amy Cooper in Central Park? Amy was put off because Christian Cooper, a Black man, assumed authority and told her to leash her dog. And then cue the dramatics. She literally came unglued because that was HER role to be in charge, so she thought, and not his. Christian Cooper flipped privilege on Amy and got it on video for the world to see. How many times do you think Amy said under her breath “Who does he think he is?” Her dog probably knows because in her rage she nearly choked him out. But until we begin to rightfully walk in our power, assume the authority that we have earned and assert it, we will continue to get passed over, overlooked… deemed invisible, not credible, unprepared, unqualified… etc.
Some will see even the smallest actions on your behalf as asserting your authority: speaking up in meetings, presenting your ideas, setting boundaries for yourself, declining a meeting invite. The nerve of you to start a business, start a podcast, write a book on the side that has nothing to do with work and promote it! Sis, you don’t have to actually set fire to the rain for others to get their feathers ruffled. For many, it’s your mere presence.
No, everyone won’t like it when you exert agency over your space, your being or your career, including some of your peers and other people of color (many times they are sent in to do the dirty work and keep the status quo)… but the best way to know that you’ve walked in your power is to leave them mumbling those six words.
There are other ways to flip privilege. I’ve walked this road in corporate and in small business, and so have many of my mentors and sponsors highlighted in #NoThanks.
How do you do this without fear of reprisals? You need to get the book. It drops Aug 10. Preorder your Kindle Edition now. Paperback preorders will happen soon. Audiobook available this fall. #NoThanks #leadership #womenofcolor #authors