Project Background

Before I became an independent consultant, I was part of a workgroup slated to leave our current employer and join a university. I asked if a position with the university could be secured for my husband, and it subsequently was. Roughly half of my workgroup had transitioned into their university positions and I was in the process of joining the university as well.

During that process, our white leader made a racist comment against my Black coworker during a staff meeting. I emailed later to let him know that what he said was racially-insensitive and it made me uncomfortable, to which he responded with an apology. Within three weeks of my email to him, though, my future position at the university was no longer guaranteed, funding for my current position was pulled, and the university position created for my husband no longer existed.

I chose to hire a lawyer and pursue a claim for discrimination and retaliation. 

I looked for insight on how other people navigated situations like this. What I learned angered me. Employees rarely contact their HR department or the EEOC to report workplace transgressions. Some of those who do make a report are ultimately punished (transferred to a different department or a promotion within their company is halted, i.e.). A very small subset of employees who make a report, or pursue legal action, walk away with a resolution that brings them a sense of justice. The workplace is not built to protect employees, but consider the intersectionality of being a Black woman trying to seek justice within institutions encased in racism and sexism. 

There is a need to elevate the stories of other Black women who have worked in Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). Through a series of interviews, you’ll see that there is an unspoken acceptance of mistreatment of Black women in the workplace.


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