Written By: Ashleeann Washington

The picture of the classic boardroom has changed in the last few decades. Diversity has become a push in many corporate offices around America, but getting in doesn’t necessarily mean that you are fully accepted. Although in the past few years,  many successful Black and Hispanic professionals have watched their riches grow.  Yes. Even Blacks in the corner offices deal with race stereotypes in the workplace.

But what does it really mean to be black in corporate America?  It should be no surprise that Blacks and Hispanics professionals have more obstacles riding on their shoulders in the business world than White professionals.

Black Hair in the Workplace….. is just one of the many issues that affect mostly Black women wanting to excel in corporate America.

Embracing the twist, kinks, naps, afros, and knots that come with wearing black hair in its natural state is not easy, especially for Black. A whole generation of Black women have grow up not knowing what their natural (un-relaxed) hair even looks like.  Relaxers quickly became underlying and un-discussed standard for Black women in last 30 years. And because Blacks have made it a standard so have the people who decide what images are acceptable in the workplace. Many women would agree that relaxed hair is beautiful; however, those same women would argue that their hairstyle doesn’t qualify them for their positions.

Black Sexuality in the Workplace….. is topic that has been thrown on the back burner until here recently.

Cornell West wrote “Americans are obsessed with sex and fear of black sexuality” and even now in the year 2011 this is a bold statement. Black men walk on egg shells in corporate offices to make sure they not accused of “getting too personal.” Black women have to cope with the reality that their Gluteus maximus genes will not permit them to pull off just any business skirt.

Culture and Language Barriers in the Workplace…..”If they don’t speak our language….”

The popular and over played cliché is that “you don’t know what it’s like until you walk someone else’s shoes” well in this cases that’s true. Different cultures are hard to accept sometimes when you haven’t been exposed to anything different then yours. Language is the glue that holds nations together; consequently, if your nation is the office and everyone doesn’t understand the language (I guess we’d call that jargon) things can get a little confusing.

Most people in your typical office come from different backgrounds. Someone who grow up in an Ohioan suburb won’t have the same foundation has someone who grow up in southern California. That makes communication and understanding a little harder and some people just don’t want to take the time out to understand someone who is different from them.

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