African Americans had a essential hand in building the infrastructure of the United States of America- as well as it's college and universities. Is it too much to ask for a great experience at these institutions? Rate your PWI experience today! But first let's have a quick history lesson on being #BlackOnCampus .... in the 1800's.
1850: Harvard Medical School accepts its first three black students, one of whom was Martin Delany. But Harvard later rescinds the invitations due to pressure from white students.
1869: Mary Ann Shadd Carey becomes the first black woman student to enroll at Howard University’s law department. She does not graduate until 1884 at the age of 61.
1870: Harvard College graduates its first black student, Richard Theodore Greener, who goes on to a career as an educator and lawyer. After graduating from Harvard, Greener becomes a faculty member at the University of South Carolina. He is the first known black to be hired to the faculty of a flagship state university. He would later become dean of the Howard University School of Law.
1870: James Webster Smith is the first black student admitted to West Point, though he does not graduate. He is court-martialed and expelled. He was commissioned posthumously in 1997.
1874: Patrick Francis Healy, a former slave who passed for white, is named president of Georgetown University, the first black at any predominantly white higher education institution in the United States.
1877: Inman Page, a former slave, is elected student body president at Brown University. He is believed to be the first black to be elected student body president at any of the nation’s highest-ranked and predominantly white universities.
1877: Henry Ossian Flipper, a former slave, becomes the first black man to graduate from West Point. Flipper was subsequently court-martialed and driven out of the Army on trumped-up charges of embezzlement. He was pardoned posthumously in 1999.
1892: Robert Robinson Taylor is the first black to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He spent more than 40 years on the faculty of the Tuskegee Institute and designed most of the campus’ buildings.
BY 1900: More than 2,000 blacks have earned higher education degrees by this time, approximately 390 from white colleges and universities. There are now 78 black colleges and universities in the United States. With the 1900's come Brown v. Board of Education, fraternities and sororities, and chemical engineering degrees. Fast-Forward to 2015... literally 115 years later....
2015: On November 9, 2015, University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigned after months of persevering protest against his mishandling of racist incidents.
My next thought questioned whether or not President Wolfe's behavior an anomaly? And for that matter, where are the awesome PWI Presidents that stan for students of color on campus? Every so often, another blunder of racism gains publicity and shapes popular opinion. Meanwhile, we must ask ourselves: What is my PWI experience and does it affect my success?
Does the racial climate on campus affect the graduation rate at PWI? I'm curious. According to the Department of Education Data:
"Of students who entered college in 2005, the most recent data available, 62 percent of whites got a degree within six years, versus 40 percent of blacks and 51 percent of Hispanics"
On a personal note: Just recently, I gave a tour to a prospective student at my own PWI university and shocked myself at the volume of information I could offer concerning my "Black experience" at my Predominately White Institution and just how it can affect his college career. While I had many positive points to make about my university, I also voiced my concerns. Many students of color that have fantastic experiences! Right?
How would the average student of color truly rate his or her institution and Administration? Tell me YOUR PWI experience in the short quiz or the comment section below.
PS: Stay tuned for the Top PWI Universities for students of color January 2016
So you applied for a position you were perfect for and got no call back, what happened? While it might have been your GPA that turned away the employer, it also might have been something as simple as your name. Today we will examine The Resume Test.
The Resume Test: (in context) The practice of discrimination based on information provided by an applicant's resume implying race/nationality/socio-economic status deeming him or her ineligible for an opportunity.
Believe it or not, discrimination and bias are still alive and well in today's Human Resources offices. With a large influx of candidates, recruiters spend an average of six seconds before they make the initial yes or no pile of candidates' resumes. The first part of your resume recruiters will look at is your name.
For many African American Women, our resumes don't pass the very first part of The Resume Test. The second a recruiter sees the name Shaniqua or Keisha, natural bias reasons that this individual is not a good fit for the company.
If a manager or HR rep does have natural biases against certain groups, he or she will glance at multiple components of your resume.
Which components of your resume is evaluated in The Resume Test?
What is ethically wrong with The Resume Test? The Resume Test is a surviving relative of The grandfather cause and other nuances created to keep black people uncompetitive. The fundamental principle supporting the biases against African American names is based in the belief that African Americans are genetically inferior. Just a few decades ago, black employees were not desired. Literally, business owners did not hire "negroes". Furthermore, labor unions were formed to keep African American men and women from applying for jobs throughout the country.
Who practices the Resume Test? HR has a challenging job of funneling talent into the company. You do not have to necessarily be a racist to discriminate against what you may consider "ghetto names". People who exercise these natural biases (even unconsciously)are the product of a racist society.
Now, the ultimate question is: What will you do?
There's an argument to be made for the black woman who does abbreviate her first name on applications and emails. Many accomplished black business women will tell you to abbreviate your first name if you want to move up.
How many Jewish, Irish, Italian and Eastern European people started their and their descendants' paths to the American Dream by dropping a letter or more from their name so that they would fit in? How many Southerners whose parents named them Jethro include that on their resume? Ya wanna whine or ya wanna eat? - Louis Martin Montgomery · Top Commenter · Georgia Tech
There's also a case to made for those who deem shortening her name as a compromise too great.
"You must remember that slave-names will keep you a slave in the eyes of the civilized world today. You have seen, and recently, that Africa and Asia will not honor you or give you any respect as long as you are called by the white man's name." -Elijah Muhammad
Despite circumstances, black mothers are still naming their children uniquely African American names. And those daughters are still Leaning In.
Whether you choose to shorten your name or not, First lady Michelle Obama encourages you to not shy away from the challenging workplace.
"I want to urge you to actively seek out the most contentious, polarized, gridlocked places you can find,'' Obama said during her commencement address at Ohio liberal-arts school on Monday. "Throughout our history, those have been the places where progress really happens, the places where minds are changed, lives transformed, where our great American story unfolds.'' - First Lady Michelle Obama
Learn More about joining the Lean IN Keisha Staff
Are you a bright, talented college student or recent graduate with no job prospects? No summer internship? No job waiting after graduation? Keep Reading.
Why don't you have a job in your field already? In today's job market, It's hard to pass the resume test for certain STEM Jobs. For example, If you have a name (like Keisha), you might have to prove yourself with 1-2 years more experience than your peers. Or if you have a degree from an HBCU, you may have to prove that you are just as intelligence as other applicants from other schools. You may have to show your transcript, to everyone- multiple times. This panic causes many to end up at a low level job outside of your field.
(Remember to check out tips on Phone Interviews, What to Wear to an Interview, and setting up Job Alerts)
Solution: Learn to create jobs for yourself. No one is coming to save you. We will be exploring multiple solutions for this problem at Lean In Keisha. Today, we will be exploring one option in our back yards. Everyone wants to work at IBM or GE (me too) but when you really can not find work, you have to be creative.
Solution #1: Consider interning or shadowing a small business, just for a season! Engaging in projects that have great impact on business is a great option. Solid project experience will be a great talking point in your next interview. Become a social media manager for a small business or a continuous improvement engineer. Every organization or system has room for continuous improvement. You have the knowledge and capability to create. Don't just get a part-time job, work at a place where you can engage in continuous improvement projects.
Why bring up Black Owned Businesses? Black Owned Business are a hidden jewel for us. That's Employment! Engaging in self-started projects in your own community is equally beneficial for you as to the community. This is a community where you don't have to worry about the resume test (as much). The A few projects in a smaller business will have great impact!
My very first job was working for a black owned business, here's what I learned:
Navigating corporate america as a black millennial girl is stressful. I mean... weight fluctuating, eye straining, head migrating stressful. The image of the strong black woman betrays us, because it gives our peers room to antagonize us, while we base our success on how much pain we can endure. Since, no matter how we feel on the inside, black women always look good on the outside; people assume that our mental health is just as intact as our youthful skin. Black Don't Crack- or does it?
LIK reader posed this question:
"Even though black women look awesome externally (black don't crack), Internally, studies have shown black women to be approximately seven years "older" than the white women due to external stress factors (racism, housing/employment inequality, multiple caretaker roles). When navigating the corporate world, how does a black women keep external stress at a minimum when we are predisposed to these factors? "
-L. Coleman, 22
Can you use your career path to help your people? Sure Can. Marilyn Mosby, the state’s attorney for Baltimore, announced criminal charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray. She is an outstanding example of why Lean In, Keisha is essential for the evolution of modern society! And just think, she is only one 35 year old women. Imagine if just 20% of the college educated women of color in our nation aspired to hold a higher position or office.
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. -Mark Twain
If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.
In this post, we will be going over some essential tips for What to Wear to an Interview. All women can benefit from these tips, although African American Women have an interesting challenge in job interviews. We do not look like the Steve and Martha's that we complete against in the job market. So on the day of your interview you want to make sure that you are on point.
Side Note: If you are fabulous enough to be interviewing for a job in the fashion industry, then you have more leeway in your appearance. For the rest of us...
Today, we are breaking down the concrete ceiling with another one of my favorite online tools called Linkedin. Theoretically, one of the disadvantages of the "concrete ceiling" is a complete lack of visibility outside your environment. Some of us are blessed to have family in the STEM field, business owners, VP's etc; but the truth is, most of us do not.
What is it? Linkedin is business-oriented social networking service that is mainly used for professional networking.
What can it do for me?
I left the floor around 8:40 pm, shirt and face smeared with grease. My arms, legs, back hurting. Skirt twisted. My shoes didn't have enough arch support. They were intern shoes: SAP, excel, charts, logistics. Mr. Waspy had left me hours ago to haul (heavy) materials to the line by myself, "Ok, you can finish the rest of this girl." I'm not lazy, so I finished. I had done hard labor.
In manufacturing, everybody pulls their weight. So I decided to suck it up, until my 2nd shift fork-lifting friends questioned me "What you doing still here shortie?". My direct manager heard though the grape vine. The next day he questioned me in a low voice, "(Mr. Wasp) didn't have you out on the floor, did he? What time did you leave here last night?" I didn't say anything. "I'll talk to him- this won't happen again. I'm sorry this happened to you"
At lunch, I saw my old Que friend, but I didn't tell him what happened. I didn't want to let him down. He thought I was the future. Perhaps he thought I had the courage to say "No" to injustice. Perhaps he thought I wouldn't be faced with same methods from the 70's. Do not throw away lessons of the past.
That night I realized, I was a girl who thought injustice died in the 70's. When in fact, Injustice was alive and I was the future. #LeanInKeisha
My first industry mentor was an old Que (ΩΨΦ) that had been with the company for.... ever, retired military. He referred to me as "little sister" and took me out to lunch. He was so happy to see the company hiring black girls for logistics. Mentor-Que told me stories filled with invaluable information that I won't be able to decipher for years.
On this particular day, over lunch, his story described the special on-boarding process just for the new African-American hires in the 70's. The newly hired college graduates, even with STEM degrees, first had to prove their work ethic by doing hard labor (well below their pay grade). A black engineer would work along side the associates (without HS diplomas) for nearly a year before he saw an office. Many gave up and left. Oppose to their white counterparts, who were able to prove themselves in the capacity in which they were hired. Some may suggest that this practice crippled the careers of many black STEM professionals in the manufacturing industry for decades; but those days were long gone. I was the future.
About 2 weeks later, a waspy logistics manager on the team took me out to the manufacturing floor around 4:30 pm. I had always avoided him and his contempt, but my need to please betrayed me. "You ready to do some hard labor?", he asked. I responded yes, since I usually left at 5 pm anyway and I was already accustom to rolling around large metrics charts. Best case scenario, I'd make a new friend and get to brag tomorrow to the other interns about my special assignment.
A common saying I hear in the black feminist community is: "If White Women have a glass ceiling to break, then Black Women have a concrete ceiling" Well, I'd like to think of it as a concrete door- heavy, yet I can bust it open with the right tools.
Today, we're exploring one of the first tools I discovered online. It's called GlassDoor.com. How do you break into a company like Google, Proctor and Gamble or Elliott Davis? You get the inside scoop.
What is it? Glass Door is a site where employees and former employees anonymously review companies and their management, salaries, and interviews.
What can it do for me? You can learn:
In 2015, all women should promote #BlackGirlsRock, no matter what nationality, creed or color. First, we should recognize that in the same manner that a state best handles it's own affairs; each culture understands the specific needs of its own women. For example, as long as the #LatinaGirlsRock does not desolate the integrity of Italian- American or Asian- American women, it's all good. Secondly, there is only one dominate culture in the United States that builds it's power from the degradation of others. Black women, presently, do not have the political capitol to rob from anyone.
Honestly, the 'Lean In, Keisha' campaign is my response to racial prejudice in America. We are women empowerment with an purpose! The specific purpose being: inspiring professional development and optimizing the opportunities of young black women to advance in higher education and corporate America. The black woman must advance to a higher ranking in Corporate America (and America in general) in order to help herself, her family, and her people. By elevating ourselves to higher management positions in different industries: employment, supplier diversification, and racial prejudices will all improve. Though professional development, self- confidence, and race/gender relations, I believe that we can progress! We are black feminist, obtaining the skill set, resources and leadership positions required in order to create a socioeconomic state in which our people may prosper.
If (white) women have a glass ceiling that distances them from equal wages and top positions, then black women have a concrete ceiling to break. We know that black women are smart enough to do it, according to The 2012 US census Bureau 50.46% of AA women aged 18-24 were enrolled in college. That's the highest percentage of any race/gender group in the nation. Yet, even with the advanced degrees, Silicon Valley & Fortune 500 CEO list both have less than %1 African American Female representation. Only 5.3% of African American women are in professional management position.
Why are the percentages so low? Racial Discrimination is not the only cause for low percentages of African Americans in higher management positions.
"Your natural instinct is to cluster with those more like yourself. It's not willful intent to keep someone out," he said. "Whatever you call it -- the good-old-boy network, whatever, it's just human behavior and diversity requires pro-active intervention. It's not a natural thing yet." -Don Thompson, CEO of McDonalds.
Welp, here's to pro-active intervention! Black girls are getting degrees, but there's still a huge achievement gap. It is not uncommon for a black women with advance education and experience to work for a white man with lesser credentials. Even thought, the Washington Post covered a new study concluded that Among professional women, African Americans are most likely to want top executive jobs.
So we have a lot of young educated black girls with masters who accept level 1 jobs outside of their field and rarely are promoted. Let's change that. If you want to support the movement, this is the place to be. Programs like Lean In Keisha, The Empowerment Movement and Black Girls Code are the answer! How can you help? Take the Lean In Keisha Pledge!
"What I'm looking for is some kind of leadership to come out of this to say, 'This is what we want. This is what has to change, and these are the steps that we need to take to make these changes, and this is what we're willing to do to get it.' " - Oprah Winfrey
This morning I asked my boyfriend how he felt about dating a feminist. He said "That's fine. You still not telling me what to do." Thanks Bae.
I began to ponder what toll my defined stance on feminism would have on my relationship. I've worked in different cities, jobs and positions on campus. My boyfriend is distinctly supportive of my personal goals. Early in our relationship he told me "Somebody's gonna get the job- might as well be you."
My relationship is beautiful. Just because I'm Leaning In, doesn't mean Bae needs to bend over. He's a man.
When it comes to leading men, sometimes women don't want to be equal. Many value POWER over influence. Many people hear 'Black Feminist' and assume they are tyrants who want to castrate the men. A woman seeking POWER wants to make all the decisions instead of being a leader. Dear ManEaters, in my experience, a man will accept a women as his leader if he believes that she has their best interest in mind and has a clear vision with defined goals. Show your teammates that you actually listen to them and take their 'expertise' in account with your decision making.
SN: You don't have to be a single to be successful.
I need black women to stop fighting on TV. A black woman runs the risk of being viewed as emotionally unstable, angry, or aggressive anytime she speaks up in an office. Yes, reality TV and media is partially to blame, however, as young black women, we need to get over that. For decades, we have stayed quiet in the office, acted with grace and never speaking up in an effort to appear docile. We are so busy acting as representatives of 'Good Black Women Incorporated' that we compromise our ability to execute the task at hand with our full power. You are purposely sabotaging yourself. So what is more important: getting a promotion or representing GBW inc.?
MYTH BUSTER. Black Women think the best way to advance her career is to disassociate herself with any characteristics of the 'bossy common black women' and negate any opportunity to assume authority.
As a little girl, I remember my god-mother turning down a promotion because 'When you get promoted, coworkers start treating you differently (negative connotation)'. Even as a little girl, that didn't make sense to me because it wasn't bad when the men got promoted! The fear is very real. We've been following that protocol for decades now and guess what? The method is ineffective! It's not working. Only 5.3% of African American Women are in professional managerial positions.
You always should act professionally; but there is a way to respectfully way to interject your opinion. During a meeting, a very forward thought will cross your mind, but you will not speak up. You think, "Oh, I better not". A couple seconds later, someone else addresses the problem. Well, that person will now lead the project. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I am going to be stereotyped regardless. SO I can just be a stereotypical professional intelligent black women with a VP office.
Admit it, you are obsessed with selfies. However, according to Pamela Rutledge, a media psychologist and director of the Media Psychology Research Center in Newport Beach, California ** , you might be in luck. "A selfie is no different from arriving at a job interview looking your best." We can add a little substance to your selfie game and land a great internship for the summer.
The key is to practice maintaining your confidence in arenas where you are unfamiliar. Your friends and followers already accept you, a new manager may not. Also, if you are accustomed to using filters, you might be setting yourself up. What happens when your college or work experience does not impress? This is when many become unfocused and fail. Before the interview, ask yourself: Why are you here? Why this company? Do your research. Why this year? Write it down. When you feel that disconnect starting to form during the interview, speak that truth. Having authentic motives makes you well respected & unique.
Remember to channel that super selfie confidence into your spring interviews. You got this, just #LeanInKeisha !