Tag Archives: environment

The Black Professional Minefield

If you are a black professional in America, the more than likely you work in an environment surrounded almost entirely by white people. I remember back in the 80’s, speaking before a group of 2,000 of my peers at a corporate conference and being the only black face in the room, along with a half dozen other minorities and women. An executive job in an American corporation is a Fly-Trap. You are there, but the chances of a lateral move to another company to move up, which is a common strategy available to white managers – is difficult, if not impossible. You probably can count on one hand the number of black CEOs, Presidents, or Sr VPs recruited by other companies for executive positions outside of the company in which they earned their position in the first place. An issue which makes the expansion of black CEOs in the Fortune 500 difficult.

It goes beyond just simple watercooler small talk in that black folks are more likely to be fans of Football and Basketball, while whites are fans of Hockey and Baseball. And you are never going to be able to explain the Black College Greek tradition of a Step Show. Being bi-lingual, speaking at least two English dialects…

And learning to love Broccoli and kale as a salad.

And yes, you have to put up with the occasional racial micro-aggression (typically born more of ignorance than anything else), as well as the full on racism. Nor are your white co-workers or peers going to get why BLM has resonance with you, who aren’t living in the poor part of town, aren’t covered in tats, or are speaking in the dialect of the lower class.

Being Black—but Not Too Black—in the Workplace

To be a black professional is often to be alone. Most black doctors, lawyers, journalists, and so on—those in white-collar positions that require specialized training and credentialing—work in environments where they are in the racial minority.

This comes with challenges. Beyond outright discrimination, which many still face, there are psychological costs to being one of just a few black faces in a predominantly white environment. In a study of black professional workers in a number of different occupations, I found that these employees worked to carefully manage their emotions in ways that reflected the racial landscapes they inhabited.

In particular, black professionals had to be very careful to show feelings of conviviality and pleasantness, even—especially—in response to racial issues. They felt that emotions of anger, frustration, and annoyance were discouraged, even when they worked in settings where these emotions were generally welcomed in certain contexts—think litigators interacting with opposing counsel, or financial analysts responding to a stressful day on Wall Street. Interestingly, this often played out at trainings meant to encourage racial sensitivity. Many of the black professionals I interviewed found that diversity trainings—intended to improve the work environment for minorities—actually became a source of emotional stress, as they perceived that their white colleagues could use these trainings to express negative emotions about people of color, but that they were expected not to disclose their own honest emotional reactions to such statements.

One of the most interesting recent contributions to this area of research comes from legal scholars Mitu Gulati and Devon Carbado. In their book Working Identity, they argue that while everyone needs to create and put forth an “appropriate” workplace identity, for members of minority groups—women of all races, racial-minority men, LGBTQ people—this becomes particularly taxing because their working identities must counter common cultural stereotypes. For example, black men may feel compelled to work longer hours as a way to repudiate stereotypes of a poor work ethic among blacks. To make matters more complicated, such strategies can backfire, reinforcing other stereotypes: Working those long hours may lead colleagues to assume that the workers lack the intellectual preparation needed for high-status professional jobs.

Carbado and Gulati also note that minority professionals tread cautiously to avoid upsetting the majority group’s sensibilities. Put simply, they can be visibly black, but don’t want to be perceived as stereotypically black. As Carbado and Gulati write, a black female candidate for a law firm who chemically straightens her hair, is in a nuclear family structure, and resides in a predominantly white neighborhood signals a fealty to (often unspoken) racial norms. She does so in a way that an equally qualified black woman candidate who wears dreadlocks, has a history of pushing for racial change in the legal field, is a single mother, and lives in the inner city does not.

The same is true for professional workers who are members of other racial minority groups. For instance, Latina attorneys may be able to advance further at work if they take pains not to speak with any trace of an accent. These are challenges in addition to the more well-known ones—the difficulties finding mentors of the same race, coping with racial stereotypes, being treated as a representative for one’s entire racial group.

So what does this mean for black workers in professional environments? First, it’s indicative of the degree to which race shapes occupational outcomes. In many circles, people feel more comfortable reducing racial issues to class-based ones, assuming that poverty explains much, if not all, of the differences between minorities and whites.

But for blacks in professional positions, issues of poverty are not the problem. Poverty does not explain biases in hiring, the need for particular types of emotional management, and the careful self-presentation that minority professionals engage in at work.

Second, all of this ought to encourage a rethinking of some of the existing efforts to create more diverse work environments. Do diversity and inclusion initiatives take into consideration how minorities placed in those environments feel? How can policies create not just more equitable hiring processes, but address the emotional toll of being a racial minority in a professional work setting?

In the current political climate, there is generally support for solving race-related employment challenges by focusing on job training and education—in other words, increasing human capital to improve access. Given the research, it’s also important to consider how to create better workplaces for the minority professionals who are already in these jobs.


Posted by on October 15, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life


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Morgan Freeman – The Future of Green

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Posted by on October 8, 2014 in American Genocide, American Greed


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Aircraft Causing Weather Changes

Old folks used to claim that the airplanes flying high in the sky were causing weather changes. For years, scientists laughed at this as preposterous…

Until now. Turns out the Old Folks were right… Again.

Aircraft Induced Cloud Hole in Anartica

Airplanes Can Cause Extra Rainfall

Airplanes flying through super-cooled clouds around airports can cause condensation that actually results in more snow and rain for nearby areas, according to a new study. The perfect conditions for such a freaky weather event occur about 5% of the time—but 10% to 15% in winter—according to the study’s lead author. Aircraft take off into the wind, so if they are generating extra ice particles upwind of an airport, the result can be snow right on the airport. That could mean planes will require more de-icing.

The team was investigating holes or canals that are sometimes seen drilled in clouds after an airplane has passed through. They found that increased snow and rainfall occurs in areas where the unusual cloud holes appear, usually within 60 miles of the airport. The added rain or snowfall occurred when the clouds were made up of water droplets that were colder than freezing, but which had not yet frozen: When an airplane passes through one of these clouds the movement causes a sudden cooling of the air, sometimes down to the critical point where the droplets freeze. They then can fall to earth as snow or rain.

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Posted by on July 2, 2011 in News


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Natures Way of Telling You…



Birds falling out of the sky dead in Arkansas…

Birds falling out of the sky dead in Louisiana

Huge Fish Kill in Arkansas

Huge Fish Kill in the Chesapeake Bay

Republicans take over Congress…(And Boehner cried on schedule!)

Nature’s way of telling you, something’s wrong.


A Rock and Roll oldie from my large Afro days (circa 1970), from the Album The 12 dreams of Doctor Sardonicus, Spirit…

Music Fans – Christopher Cross did an excellent cover of this in 1994 on his “Windows” Album.


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Military and Universities Team to Solve Honeybee Mystery

This one wouldn’t get much press in the hyperactive MSM as it’s consequences aren’t easy, and don’t involve political foible. For the past 6-10 years the Honeybee population around the world has been dying off…

Sounds bad… but catastrophic?

Since about 80% of the pollination of crops is done by Honeybees – you betcha. The reduction in numbers of Honeybees means a massive reduction in the production of food per acre…

Meaning if the Honeybees die off… So do we humans in fairly short order.

Another mystery is the disappearance of small snakes, which one of my contributors, Nanakwame brought up a while back. The environmental impact of this isn’t understood yet. In the US, it seems that the common green and garter snakes have all but disappeared in some areas. I live on a lake, and this has resulted in an explosion of the frog population. I also found several dead baby Corn Snakes in the Spring – which is unusual. They are very good at keeping the rodent population down. I have no idea what is killing them – and I severely limit the type and amount of chemicals used on the property to protect the lake.

To those who go “ewwwwe” – it’s a simple fact that if you live on freshwater in the Southern half of the US – you have snakes nearby, whether you see them or not. Most are neither poisonous or harmful, and keep the insect and small rodent populations in check. Green Snakes eat insects, Garters eat frogs, and Corn Snakes eat rats and mice.

Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery

It has been one of the great murder mysteries of the garden: what is killing off the honeybees?

Since 2006, 20 to 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States alone have suffered “colony collapse.” Suspected culprits ranged from pesticides to genetically modified food.

Now, a unique partnership — of military scientists and entomologists — appears to have achieved a major breakthrough: identifying a new suspect, or two.

A fungus tag-teaming with a virus have apparently interacted to cause the problem, according to a paper by Army scientists in Maryland and bee experts in Montana inthe online science journal PLoS One.

Exactly how that combination kills bees remains uncertain, the scientists said — a subject for the next round of research. But there are solid clues: both the virus and the fungus proliferate in cool, damp weather, and both do their dirty work in the bee gut, suggesting that insect nutrition is somehow compromised.

Liaisons between the military and academia are nothing new, of course. World War II, perhaps the most profound example, ended in an atomic strike on Japan in 1945 largely on the shoulders of scientist-soldiers in the Manhattan Project. And a group of scientists led by Jerry Bromenshenk of the University of Montana in Missoula has researched bee-related applications for the military in the past — developing, for example, a way to use honeybees in detecting land mines.

But researchers on both sides say that colony collapse may be the first time that the defense machinery of the post-Sept. 11 Homeland Security Department and academia have teamed up to address a problem that both sides say they might never have solved on their own.

“Together we could look at things nobody else was looking at,” said Colin Henderson, an associate professor at the University of Montana’s College of Technology and a member of Dr. Bromenshenk’s “Bee Alert” team.




Posted by on October 7, 2010 in News


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Spike Lee – “BP, Oil Companies, the Government – They All In Cahoots”!

Mr President –

“One time, go off!” director Spike Lee urged on CNN’s “AC 360°.” “If there’s any one time to go off, this is it, because this is a disaster.”

Here’s the deal. This United States ship of state has been reduced to a leaky old scow by years of mismanagement, “Starve the Beast”, the fallacy of smaller government, and disastrous deregulation. At this point in time, to keep it afloat – EVERYBODY needs to be rowing, bailing, or patching the holes.

It isn’t just BP you need to “go off on” Mr President…

It’s those Republicans who keep trying to drill more holes.

Back after Katrina, Republicans argued it wasn’t the Federal Government’s job to help the states. This from Uncle Tommie Sowell after Katrina

“The Federal Government should not give bail out money. People should get private insurance. Because the government causes people to live in dangerous areas. If the market could decide without government intervention, people would be less likely to live in disaster prone areas.

He lives in an earthquake prone area and feels if his house is destroyed, that he does not have a right to have taxpayers in other parts of the country paying to rebuild his house.”

The states in the Gulf region have encouraged oil development with low (or no) taxes, favorable laws, and have turned a blind eye to the risks and environmental damage…

By Uncle Tommie’s logic – the taxpayers in other parts of the country aren’t responsible for the Gulf States foolishness…

That IS after all – what “small government” means.

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Posted by on June 3, 2010 in American Greed


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Gulf Oil Spill Reaches the Marshes in Louisiana

This is the beginning of a wide scale environmental catastrophe. This is a total kill scenario impacting the area in a number of disastrous ways. Prior to the building of the MRGO Canal (and subsequent filling of it due to it’s role in the post Katrina collapse of the levies) the marshland to the south of New Orleans protected the coast from storms, buffering the waves and flooding. If the oil kills off the marsh, there is noting to impede that water during a storm.

Secondarily, the vast majority of the food supply for the marine environment starts right there in those coastal marshes. Many species of fish spawn there, or spend the early part of their lives protected from predators by the shallow water and reeds. Oysters, which start out as near microscopic “spats” swim in these marshes seeking tidal locations to attach themselves and grow, collecting nutrients in the currents.

The death of the marshland starts a cascade in the ocean food chain that reaches all the way up to the top.

Drill, Baby, Spill!… Indeed.

more about “Gulf Oil Spill Reaches the Marshes in…“, posted with vodpod

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Posted by on May 20, 2010 in News, Stupid Republican Tricks


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