I’m the only Black woman in my company and I’m disheartened to see no response from the company or anyone in a leadership position about the Black Lives Matter movement. How can I hold them accountable to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace without putting myself in a position where I could be seen as difficult or demanding?– Hustle Crew Member
Hi! Abadesi here. Unfortunately the likeability penalty is real, and it’s true that as women, especially Black women in the workplace, whenever we behave in a way that’s not agreeable and amiable, statistics show we are likely to face a penalty. Your dilemma is a tough one. It’s not your job to lead on diversity and inclusion within your company but as the only Black woman it seems as though you are the only person invested in following social justice issues and how they affect the workplace. This is a shame given the number of studies that show the commercial benefits of diversity.
My advice is to think in the short term and long term. In the short term, who is incentivised to support you? It may be worthwhile to let your line manager know that your productivity is being impacted because you have concerns about the company’s lack of response to BLM. Perhaps it’s making it difficult to navigate conversations with concerned customers and clients. In the long term, consider if this work environment is right for you. Over the years I’ve come to realize – often as a result of traumatic personal experiences – that I thrive in places where I have psychological safety, where I can be who I really am and feel supported in my work and in my identity.