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Working from home not only kept Black women safe from the pandemic, but also the racially tense workplace. Working from the comfort from their meant Black women got a relief from the microaggressions and macroaggressions of working while Black. In a recent report from the Washington Post, Black women shared the plight of working in a predominately white environment.
One of the women shared that when she was told that she had to return to work, she quit. Going back to the code switching and toning down her Blackness was a transition she refused to make. Another woman said it has been comforting that she could turn off her camera she her client’s didn’t have to know she was black. Someone else said it felt good to not have to answer inappropriate questions about her curves, her hair, her skin and Black features.
Being uncomfortable in the workplace isn’t new for Black women. Research has shown that Black women are less likely to feel valued by their employer or treated with respect by their co-workers. The Gallup Center on Black Voices survey from found that 24 percent of Black people experience discrimination in the workplace.
Kashia Dunner, a Washington-based career coach and consultant, said that she is looking forward to offering Black women a safe space again to discuss these issues when she restarts her women’s group.
“It was just a career-focused, supportive environment with other Black women and women of color, and during the pandemic I really missed that,” she told the Washington Post. “It was also nice to have someone to bounce ideas off in the sense of what you’re experiencing at work, because a lot of times our experiences happen to us and we keep them to ourselves.”