Will you legitimise yourself?
I grew up in the Black community around Black people. I don’t remember the first time I saw a Whyte person except probably on TV. However the dominant narrative of the superiority of whyteness was embedded in my day to day life. It was in my home, my school, my playground and even my church.
Everything better was whyte. When Black people were admonished they were unfavourably compared to Whyte people. Another way of saying you thought you were better was; you thought you were Whyte. Even God, his angels, prophets, chosen people were white. None of what or who I was represented anything to aspire to. I was an outsider who was trying to come in, to assimilate to, to be in proximity to whyteness.
This was not an accident. The supremacy of whyteness is an invisible dominant narrative because the dominant story tellers are whyte. The stories, the news, the books, the history all converge in agreement to this narrative. It is the norm that we don’t even see. The entrepreneurs, business geniuses that are set as an example for all of us to want to emulate are whyte and male. It is mass hypnotism.
My work and that of those who look like me is to identify how much of this I have internalised. How much I have bought into the story that I am an imposter, an outsider, one who needs to assimilate to be worthy. How much I look for the approval from and proximity to whyteness as a confirmation of my worth. My work is to legitimise myself, it is to counter the narrative that I don’t belong, that I’m an outsider.
Are you a Black Woman in the Workplace who feels called to the next level of leadership, income and impact?
My name is Busisiwe Hlatswayo and I coach Black women to position themselves for leadership, navigate race and gender bias and be effective leaders in the workplace and the market place
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