I Too . . .
At 10:30 am on January 20th, as I concluded a meeting with one of my consulting clients, he asked if he could ask me a question. I said sure in my skeptical tone because he and I have had many discussions that when he started with this, I know he will be seeking clarity and understanding and looking for a diverse perspective.
His question: “Are you proud today because a Black Woman will be the Vice President?” My response was, are you ready to hear what I am going to say? He assured me he was, so I responded.
We have been working together for over six months and you see me as a black woman, but I am going to share with you the poem by Langston Hughes, “I Too…. You see on January 6, I cried not only for the disrespect on display at the Nations Capitol but the fact that the flag was attacked, and a Trump sign was draped across the building, not because I am a Black woman, but I am American capable of being able to see beyond the hue of my skin. I recognize that a policy misinterpretation led to the horrific event.
And then I answered his question: I am extremely proud of the face of democracy beginning with the selection of and then the election of Kamala Harris as the Vice President of the United States. The first Black Woman, Asian Woman and WOMAN to hold this office, and that Racism or Sexism, did not prevent this from happening.
As a graduate of Bethune Cookman College, I am extremely proud that America can see accomplished graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) thrive in their professions. I have not heard HBCU mentioned so much in mainstream America.
I am proud that America did not let the stigmatism of Ageism prevent us from defending and swearing in Joe Biden as the 46th President.
I am proud that a member of the Transgender community will serve as the Assistant Health secretary, but I am most proud that we stood in the face of adversity and our democracy will prevail.
Then I said – I will stop here; did I answer your question? We laughed and he said that is probably one of your longest commentaries you have ever given and then he shared why he asked. it was because someone had said to him prior to our meeting “the blacks are only happy because of the VP.” We took a few minutes to discuss his thoughts, reaction and how he wanted to or if he should respond.
These are the difficult conversations, that leaders must have if we are to move towards equality in the workplace and erase the barriers of systemic racism and diluted thinking.
A second before we ended the Zoom, I said to him…. but I will be doing my Happy Dance when VP-Elect Kamala Harris is sworn in because I am unapologetically and proud to be a Black American.
See the person and you will have a better life experience.