I tweeted once that there was no upside to being a non-white female under 40. Put another way, white men over 40 are unlikely to have had to deal with any of the following situations:
– “Of course they hired you! You’re a poster-child for diversity!
– “Excuse me, when is the tea being served?”
– “I hear you on this, but…”
– “So when next are you going back to [insert name of Caribbean island that is not actually person’s country of birth or domicile here; if in doubt, default to Jamaica]”
– “You should be grateful that…”
Yet the most frustrating/soul-destroying part of the non-white female under 40 triumvirate is contending with the angryblackwoman stereotype. A stereotype that means any opinion, any dissenting viewpoint, any suggestion, any email, any comment, any expression at all – no matter how innocuous – by members of this cadre risks being interpreted as “disrespectful”, “rude”, “cold”, “combative”, “non-cooperative” or the ever-popular, “hostile”.
This in addition to the adjectives commonly applied to women who lead or manage – all of which may be summed up in another word: “bitch”.
(Then, of course, there’s the other end of the gaslighting spectrum: “You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive.” Further excellent reading, featuring the oft-forgotten observation that ‘privilege is revealed more clearly to those who don’t have it’ from Hugo Schwyzer, here)
To quote a commenter at the Atlantic (in the context of a particularly infuriating piece on Michelle Obama):
Imagine if every time you said anything, someone said “you mad, bro?” I imagine being a powerful black woman involves pretty continuous trolling of that sort.
Because, yes, exactly.
A version of this piece first appeared in the Galavant Times.