Monday, October 16, 2006


I think one of the things I envy the most about people is that some of them appear to not have any worries. Now, I know that the majority of us have worries, but at times I am very tired of my worries and would gladly trade them in for some others.

The majority of the people that I work with appear to have nice lives. Most of them have nice incomes and more than likely have a financially secure future. They have their nice home, vehicles, take their expensive trips, and probably have enough money in the bank to choke a horse. I wonder if they worry about retiring. Or worry if they'll ever be able to retire. That is something I worry about all of the time, 24/7. Here's how it works-you make a good salary and then you are able to stash some of that money away in a 401 K, savings, whatever. If you don't make the money, you can't save anything. If you are never able to get promoted into positions that pay a good salary then you are SOL. (for those unhip folks-that's Shit Out of Luck-real old school)I just chuckle to myself when people tell me their big retirement planes. A. and I will both be working until we are both quite old. That's the way it is, and it's of no fault of ours. We both have masters degrees. A. has 2. Does it matter? No.

I think that there are a lot of folks out there who really don't have any clue of what it is like to work-while black. Most people have heard of driving while black, well guess what, there's vacationing while black, shopping while black, choosing somewhere to live while black and working while black. These are things that I have to consider and have had to consider every single day of my life. As do most people of color. Unless you are rich because, oh yes, money is the great equalizer in so many cases.

I could go on and on about all of them, but for now I will focus on working while black. Yes, it's government-mandated that minorities are hired, but it is not government-mandated to promote people of color once they are on the job. Myself and so many persons of color I know are in this boat now or have been in this boat. It has nothing to do with work habits, efficiency or anything else. It has to do with these offices being minefields and no matter how mentally prepared or psychologically savvy one is, one can stil get blown to bits.

I can remember growing up I was taught that I would have to work twice as hard, twice as much as a non-person of color. I always knew that and still subscribe to that today, but I thought that working twice as hard would at least get you somewhere. I have found out time and time again it does not.

I could go on and on and on with this, but I just needed to rant. I'm tired of being a minority female, but there's not too much I can do about that except suck it up and keep on keepin' on.


Anonymous said...

Oh Ms. Libby,

I have read this post over and over again. I am glad you shared it and it hurts and it helps...

Go ahead and rant a bit, that is one of the healthiest bits of blogging, I think.

I am very sure that working/driving/shopping/living while black in America is extremely cruel. And well aware that I don't know how that feels.

I have seen plenty and probably unintentionally sometimes contributed. I grew up in a racially diverse but pretty poor neighborhood... for sure, blond kids like myself got a big advantage in some areas over our black and Asian friends. We all worked this...Kids know how to exploit any advantage!

I also know about not fitting in at work. Even though I nominally should (middle aged white female -- suburban and married with two kids -- gawd, what could be more conforming in this profession?) I DON'T. I have always been the "black sheep" in my organization... I don't know why and have given up trying. I just don't fit in. I also totally suck at conforming in my "progressive" neighborhood, where everyone is better educated and more sophisticated (? or something?) than me...

Anyhow, I never quite fit anywhere so I guess I am kind of the loser in a friends lottery, you should just wait for a better one to come up...

but I really like your blog and your ideas... Wish I could make us both have jobs that appreciate US or at least let us make the most of our talents. For sure, we do have some! Wanna start a private library? Information brokers?

AH, I have almost 30 years with my organization, and feel like the time invested has crippled me for other employment... In my fantasy life, I sometimes become a dog groomer or a house cleaner. No kidding, really do...

Sorry to ramble, I really have wanted to respond to this post a since you put it up but just worried about screwing it up... Will sign off now. Your blathering fan, TL

Anonymous said...

Dear Libby-
Was very moved by your sincere ranting. Let's face it, the rich of any color haven't a clue about the real world, and being a middle aged woman in this youth obsessed society is it's own handicap, and if you're blessed with a few extra pounds forget it. Being on the outside looking in can also be empowering. It can make you strong and able to handel anything life can throw at you. I'ld rather be real than rich.
Great blog will hsve to check back again.

Libby said...

Thank you both for your kind comments. It means a lot to me. And you are right. There are riches that people like me possess that others are clueless about. I will have to keep that in mind. Thank you.