Corporate Colorblindness: Diluting My Blackness for Profit

By Anonymous 

When I first sat down to pen this piece, I was at a loss.

There are so many themes to touch on when considering the experience of people of color in white corporate culture.

The first question that came to mind was “Where the HELL do I even START!?!?”

My experiences of attempting to toe the line between white America and their respective values and those of my black/Asian parents spans decades (well, 2.4 decades at least) and could spur a couple of tomes about a variety of transgressions — some subtle, others so blatant and hurtful that it would take years (and therapy) for me to recover.

As a multiethnic woman in the work place, my dealings with racial turmoil are many. Whether it’s the plaguing knowledge of how few women of color there are in my profession (hiring figures never top 8%), the dilution of who I am to appear more delicate and docile to my white male superiors, or the surprised looks of all my coworkers when I do or say something not “characteristic” of my race.

In the most extreme moments, it feels like my job wasn’t earned based on merit, but handed to me as a necessity for a token of progressive thought — an emblem for our office to champion itself as one on the cutting edge of inclusivity and social liberality.

As I was sifting through personal experience for palpable and discernible content, a question hit my brain hard and weighed heavy, so heavy I had to immediately confront it before going any further.

“Should I do this anonymously?”

This question perhaps best reflects the struggle of conformity in an arena in which any perceived misstep taken as a threat to the biosphere of whiteness not only severely limits advancement, but begets labels of extremism and mass disapproval. Thus, I chose to write this anonymously for fear of retribution.

This fear is exactly why, when my white coworkers pander on about a post-race society, or I see some ignoramus on social media whining about how everything has to be about race, I roll my eyes and my soul gets a teensy bit defeated. If we were truly in some utopic race-egalitarian society, I wouldn’t need to rehearse or restate things over and over in my mind to make sure what I’m saying, and how I’m saying it, won’t be perceived as too “urban”, “ghetto”, or “abrasive.”

If everything isn’t about race, I wouldn’t feel the need to over-perform every day, while being dressed to the nines and minding my level of hair bigness (can’t frighten the white folk with too much natural).

Therefore, if corporate culture were as inclusive and liberal as Sally, Joe, and Jim Bob like to think, I would be using my full government name instead of shrouding myself in a cloak of anonymity. Instead, I’m doing what I do every day at the office; I’m putting on a face that makes me more digestible to my white counterparts, scaling back my genetic traits and toning down the beautiful culture that flows with and from it.

Don’t be fooled, this anonymity doesn’t come without a price—for every smile I fake, micro-aggression I shrug off, comment I pretend not to hear – there’s always SHAME. Not shame towards who I am, but rather shame towards the person which I’ve chosen to be.

*Featured Image Credit:

This writer is kinda weird, but really practical. Enjoys cooking, reading, and political banter. Get at us @BlkMillennials. Write for us! 


One response to “Corporate Colorblindness: Diluting My Blackness for Profit

  1. The people you are referring to believe racism doesn’t exist because it doesn’t exist for them. They are not in a position to be exposed to it. It doesn’t happen to them and therefore it doesn’t exist. It’s like trying to have an argument about sunlight when you’ve never opened your eyes. There’s no way to win an argument like that. My wife (who is Irish) told me that she thought racism was something that existed only in our history. Growing up in a small town in Maine, she’d never seen it and it was taught in school as though it was some historical event that our country has overcome through the Civil Rights movement. I shit you not. She learned this in school. She also thought my race was extinct and no wonder. Educators also spoke about my people as thought they were relics who no longer exist and then we are taken to museums where they show my people stuffed and mounted next to the damned dinosaurs. If I hadn’t grown up on a reservation with my culture, I might have believed we are extinct too. I don’t think a lot of it is out of cruelty or bad intention any more. I use to. Now I think it is just ignorance and it’s not JUST ignorance. It’s INTENTIONAL ignorance promoted by political leaders who control the education systems. This was done one purpose and not by everyday people. By people trying to erase us through the simulation process, the blood count (to breed us out and bleed us down). They WANTED us to be extinct. They planned and expected it to have happened by now. I no longer blame individuals. We can only learn what’s available to us to learn. I blame the same people who are responsible for the continual slow genocide of my people through poverty, through lack of educational access, through a crooked blood count process and through the intentional division caused amongst tribal members. Politicians bribe our own people to betray each other and know they will take bribes if it means a path out of poverty and a future for their kids. It’s an old tactic they have been using for years. They seek out the most vulnerable for this and cause dissension amongst our own. If we fight each other, or we are kept hungry, there is not much energy left for fighting the people who want to do us harm. Be careful that these same people are not trying to use members of BLM the same way.


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