Please read this!
September 9, 2020
More often than not in these blog posts, I offer advice or suggestions for communicating better, how to grow in your career, how to be more creative, or look at the impact of chaos or change, but today I want you to read something someone else wrote. This was in my inbox this morning, the title was catchy for sure, “You Need to Leave Now, Ma’am: I was mistaken for a prostitute at my job interview” but the words as I read them were powerful and poignant. The author, Carlyn Ferrari clearly laid out so many issues I have written or talked about, such imposter syndrome, dressing for interviews, and preparing for interviews. But I never wrote or talked about those looking through the lens of a Black woman, who also felt the heavy weight of racism being pushed upon her by numerous institutions.
I can’t know what it is like to be the only Black professor in a department full of white faculty. I can’t know what it feels like to be asked to leave a hotel lobby because of the color of my skin. I can’t know what it feels like to be expected to work harder and produce more because of the color of my skin, but I can listen and I can educate myself, so I better understand the impact of the very institutions that have given me advantages at the expense of people of color. I can continue on my journey to be a better advocate. I can make sure my decisions and actions demonstrate my respect for people of color. I can recognize racism is all around us – seen and unseen, and I can continue the conversation about racism.
Please read this essay. Please share this essay. Please talk about this essay.
Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Clinical Professor
Department Head of Graduate Studies