Frustrations of a Black Professional
Too Black by Cynthia L. Moore (C’Moore Productions)
This poem was sent to me by a colleague today. It’s written by Cynthia L. Moore and is a statement on being black in corporate America.
On a related note is this article, The Only One: What it feels like to be the only black in a sea of white faces, by Camille Jackson.
Ms. Jackson works as an editor for an east coast newspaper chain and has lived her academic and professional life as the only person of color. She shares the frustrations of living a dual existence and the daily disappointments of dealing with white persons who just don’t “get it” and whose feeble attempts to connect with us only serve to make things worse. I don’t entirely agree with the need to wear a mask in order to operate in the corporate culture—I think that we can be more of who we really are inside or outside of work and that the standards for professionalism are the same for both blacks and whites. However, the increased acceptance of individuality has definite limits and, depending our your specific job and company, some expressions of self may have to be sacrificed in the economic exchange. Whether the Only One or one of many, the article addresses issues continually faced by black professionals every day.
Don’t be discouraged! The road is stony but your steps are steady and measured. Be good, be thankful, and get yours. For inspiration: Desiderata
(something desired as essential) —
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember
what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle to yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars and you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labours and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
–Max Ehrmannn, 1927. © Robert L. Bell