How Professionals of Color Say They Counter Bias at Work

Professionals_article

By Christine Hauser
The New York Times

In 2016, a black Ohio state legislator, Emilia Strong Sykes, 32, asked why she had been singled out for a search entering the Statehouse. “Well, you don’t look like a legislator,” she recalled the guard saying. After a pause, he said she looked “too young.”

Ms. Sykes braces for such encounters. She dresses conservatively, keeping her badge visible and unfailingly displaying her legislative pin. “I am very mindful of it,” she said. “You don’t want to be the black legislator causing trouble.”

She has also instructed her aide to greet visitors at her office entrance, so there is no question that the black woman they encounter sitting at the representative’s desk is, in fact, the legislator herself.

“There is something that triggers those thoughts that ‘she is not supposed to be there,’” Ms. Sykes said. Read more. 

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