Our views and beliefs in life often reflect our journey and what we’ve directly or indirectly experienced along our journey. In the black community, employees often find themselves suppressing their blackness while at work. In addition to the adjusting of work mannerisms, those of darker complexion also tend to face wage gaps. A lot of the workplace miscommunication we face today began subconsciously when we were kids. The issues amongst lighter and darker skins are not only present in the African American community, but across all of our cultures, and must be confronted head on in order to solve it. Those in the black community are looking to HR and resource groups to introduce mechanisms of inclusion and promotion. This often feels like a slow churn but progress starts with one decision or one person seeking change.
Black professionals who have worked at both large and small companies are also more likely to find an environment of trust, respect, and a sense of belonging at small companies, compared to large companies. The growth in entrepreneurship amongst black professionals points back to the lack of space for black creativity and expression in corporate America. The very same environment causing African Americans to feel marginalized may be the same environment stopping many companies from reaching the next level in their business. Due to all of the odds stacked against those of color in the workplace, it creates a complex work relationship between whites and blacks. Many people of color feel like they cannot completely be themselves around their white counterpart due to the fear of being quickly terminated or suffering a wage loss. The wage gaps already set the precedent of ‘you are not as valuable as your white coworker’ in the subconscious of both white and blacks, it makes those of color tread lightly in the workplace and want to remain on the good side of those in power.