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Please read this!

Posted on September 9, 2020
Image of an an empty small hotel lobby with a table in front of a draped window flanked by two tall chairs

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
Goodwin College
Drexel University
Posted in interpersonal-communications, professional-development-career-tips