I started a new job back in February. I was really excited to start new career, learn new things, and share my knowledge and expertise. I’m the youngest at my company as well as the only minority woman, which has been pretty normal throughout my matriculation in workforce.
One particular morning I walked into my office (a few minutes before 8:00 a.m.) sat down my belongings and turned my computer on as I always do. In the process of me trying to get organized and focused on my task for the morning a male co-worker of mine swings into my office and plops down in an empty chair. The first thing that comes out of his mouth is “You must have you a sugar daddy or something?” I look at him in disbelief cause I can’t believe that something that ignorant would come out of his mouth. So after I gather my thoughts and try keep my composure, I replied “What makes you say that?” He goes on to say, “well you have a fancy cell phone, drive a nice car, and own your home.” (still never figured out how he knew I was a home owner) As I digested his hillbilly statement I was wondering if he had ever considered that fact that I wake up five days a week and go to work just as he does. Quite irritated by his rude comments I informed him that I did not have a sugar daddy and if I did he would not know me because I would not have a job! Contrary to his theory he leaves my office and says ”I think you got a sugar daddy.”
For the rest of the day I was disturbed by this for many reasons. I wondered if this is how others perceived me. Have the equality of what my ancestors worked so hard for just been slapped in my face? Had my sleepless nights of studying to maintain my position on the Dean’s list been in vain? Had I been of a different race would these same assumptions been made or would it be safe to assume that I was daddy’s little rich spoiled girl?
I shared this incident with many of my friends who are successful in there own right. Appalled they were, but interestingly enough they could relate. Many of them stated that they have down played their lifestyle in the workforce. My homegirl told me that she didn’t wear heels to work because she didn’t want other’s to think she was doing too much. They to had been judged by unfair biases in the workplace. I say that to say this I take pride in my appearance not to mention I like nice things. The material items that I own do not validate who I am they are just mere souvenirs of success that I so humbly appreciate granted through the work of God. Will these stereotypes ever change? Probably. But not in my lifetime.