“Tommy ain’t got no job, man!” BLACK and OVERQUALIFIED is the (new?) UNEMPLOYED.
Listen peeps. There will be situations where you feel invisible or completely looked over. You’ll feel like people don’t see the half of the power and skills you possess. This quote has been in my thoughts all day, so I just need to make sure you know that it’s not you. It’s them.
The sad TRUTH is that there are some systematic and institutional barriers you just can’t escape from. Some people will make assumptions about who they think you are (or how you will behave) based on their limited, small minds.
Even when you are TWICE AS GOOD and your education and experience trumps everything they’ve done – you STILL may NOT make the cut.
A few months ago, a snowballed google search brought me to an article titled “Black Unemployment Driven By White America’s Favors for Friends” and it gave me this piece of truth:
“The reality: racism and racial inequality aren’t just supported by old ideas… they’re also based on privilege,… how it is shared, how opportunities are hoarded and how most white Americans think their career and economic advantages have been entirely earned, not passed down or parceled out.”
“The vast majority [of white people] assumed everyone has the same opportunities, and they just somehow tried harder, were smarter… Not seeing how whites help other whites as the primary way that inequality gets reproduced today – is very helpful. It’s easy on the mind.”
To be able to admit to the fact that you did not get where you are on solely your own merit is a big statement. Who wants to admit that somebody knew somebody or my parents afforded me this or that? As stated above, it’s easier to just think you were smart, worked hard or you were special or “chosen” for the position. Let’s completely ignore the minority who has twice your know-how. There’s usually some “reason” why you weren’t enough.
I’ve learned to stop putting all of my energy into a broken system that often does NOT work in my favor.
It pains me to say this, but sometimes it’s out of your control. Understand that you are not the problem. Rather than being upset or depressed about rejection – consider the fact that you may have been too good for that job or THEM.
Don’t wait on anyone else to tell you you’re good enough. There’s NO need to seek validation from other people. You are only as good as you believe you are. Know your value, know your worth, and make your own decisions. That my mean declining a job you know you would LOVE – when you’re offered a salary less than all the whipepo in the office, who have LESS education and experience than you. Don’t play me.
In all these words, I’m trying to tell you that sometimes you’ve done everything right and you’ve done all that you can do. Be okay with your best.
If you’ve done your best – I am telling you (trust me, i’m almost a doctor) YOU ARE AMAZING, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE! (In my Bruno Mars voice). If you’re uncertain about where you stand, remember “Our Deepest Fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”.
Don’t settle for who people want or presume you to be.
My advice to you, my beautiful and brilliant sistas and brothas:
Create your own path. Develop your own thoughts. Do shhh you actually want to do. Say NO every once in a while. Stand up for yourself. Go against the grain.
Care LESS about what people think of you.
Do what you do and do it well, because no matter how great you are – haters always gonna hate. I just ask that you give them a good reason!
Lastly, will say again for the people in the back (“allies”), when us
niggas Black Folks talk about white privilege it’s for awareness. It needs to be brought to your attention because some of you just DON’T GET IT. And I know you don’t get it when you say things like “so what she’s white, that’s who i’d like more” or you ask “if it’s safe for you at that [black] school.”
I don’t want to take your privilege away from you. I just want it to be extended to me. We do not have the same social capital you have, so if you hear about a job – how about you recommend a darker face for a change. Or at MINIMUM consider it if only to provide a mentor for minority students (especially if minority retention, underserved population, etc. is the target group). Save the noise about so called “unqualified” minority applicants or how they didn’t “really show interest”.
We ain’t having it. I see your true colors.
Black Unemployment Driven By White America’s Favors For Friend or Nancy DiTomaso, The American Non-Dilemma: Racial Inequality Without Racism for more on racial inequality.