Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Shifting: Chapter 6: Double Duty

[Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America]

In chapter 6 of Shifting, Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden discuss how black women are treated in the workplace. Because the workplace is where many Americans spend the bulk of their days, it is where black women do the most of their shifting.

This chapter also makes mention of another overlooked myth about black women—that it is an advantage to being a “double minority.” The authors note, “there’s a widespread myth that black women are doubly advantaged because they are a ‘double minority’—Black and female…” (167).

Based on the reading, what do you think of the idea of black women being advantaged because they are double minorities. Why? Please provide a page number citation if necessary.

29 comments:

devinrules97 said...

In the book, it is stated that some people believe that black women are advantaged because they are black and female. I feel like people think that this is an advantage because more businesses want to hire women, to balance the gender ratio, and they want to hire people of color, to balance the race ratio. Being black and a woman is like getting a two for one deal, in the eyes of employees, because you are balancing both race and gender at the same time, and now the business seems more "diverse" because of this. This is untrue because not a lot of black women are hired for jobs, and if they are they are stuck in a position that they can not get out of.
-Devin S.

JaLeah M . said...

To me I kind of believe that the "advantage" only applies when the black woman is successful. With the whole argument of the novel being about black women shifting, it has a negative connotation but I do think when a black female woman is successful, have the double minority is an advantage. More praise is given and all of the assumptions that are made about black women get defeated.

Peyton D. said...

If I apply this concept to my workplace I can agree with this statement. I work at a nursing home and all of the supervisors are white ( a combination of men and women). There are no black women or men in charge at all. The majority of the black women work in the two lowest paying jobs- housekeeping and cooking. I think for being a black nursing student I did get the double advantage because I have had many opportunities related to my schooling because of my race.

Kytela Medearis said...

I do think we get an advantage, but only if we are successful. Being black and female means nothing unless you are trying to do something with your life and trying to break the stereotypes associated with the African American community. Employers love if they can diversify their company by hiring successful black women, it gives them an advantage over their competitors

Sydney J said...

The only time I could see this being an advantage is with affirmative action policies. Since these policies have a quota for women and African Americans, being both of those would allow for a greater opportunity moving up in the work force. But if that's the only reason these women got the promotion it's not really an advantage anymore. I'd rather be promoted for my hard work than simply because I am a woman and black.
Sydney J

Jazmyn Maggitt said...

From what the book said, black women don't really get this "advantage" that everyone seems to think we do. Yeah, we might get hired for a job, but it's only so that the company can raise their diversity statistic, and the job itself isn't that great. The jobs that black women are getting hired for are low paying jobs with nowhere for us to go. This "advantage" essentially does nothing for us. It doesn't help us get good paying jobs with room for us to grow, which is the kind of job we want and deserve.

Jamesha M. said...

When thinking of Black women being advantaged, before this chapter I believed it wholeheartedly. My mother believes, especially for more hands on positions, that Black women have a better chance and because of this I did too. I think Black women may have a better chance of getting hired in some cases, but it is most likely only to meet some set quota and the position may never lead to something more.

After reading Double Duty I realize now that being of double minority doesn’t necessarily help. It’s so shocking to me because I’ve grown up in a household where a Black woman can do anything and if there was a reason she couldn’t, it was because she was black or because she was a woman, never because she was a Black woman.

Breanna B. said...

When thinking about the double advantage, it is indeed a myth. I don't believe black women are seen as woman and black, but rather just black. I've watched several documentaries about women's roles in society, and being a black woman creates an even smaller niche for one to belong to. To be honest, being a double-minority would be more of a disadvantage than an advantage.

Maya said...

In the construction field companies will hire women over men because they need to balance the men to women ratio. So in male dominant fields if there is a woman she is more likely to get hired than a man. That is one way to people may think being a minority is a advantage. Then being a double minority (black, and a woman) people might think of as a double advantage because companies want to be diverse as well. There was a show I watched where some girls were trying to get into a sorority and two of them were black. I think it was that the two black girls broke a rule and only one of them got kicked out. When the other girl asked why she wasn't kicked out, they replied that they liked her better and the sorority only needed one black girl to meet a requirement, or something. So people may think being black and a woman is an double advantage because having more diverse people in a company or club attracts more diverse crowds which means more customers.
-Maya Searcy

Aja J said...

I would have to disagree with the statement that black women have an advantage because they are considered a double minority. I think black women are seen as having many positive and negative qualities, but to me none would put them at an advantage. I believe that black women can do anything and everything they put their minds to, but to the world I don’t think that being a double minority has many advantages.

Asher said...

I don't really see an "advantage" that black women obtain. I feel like it's more of a "disadvantage". This advantage really only pertains to successful black women. But, I see it often in businesses and companies that have a limited amount of black women in their workforce. I feel like the people that hire these black women, think that, "hey! we hired one, so that's enough, right?". Being black and female, doesn't give you any advantages, you don't even see that in the rap industry. For example, Iggy Azaelia and Nicki Minaj. The amount of exposure and love for Iggy, and her "rap" music, completely overshadows Minaj's, so that's an example of, the so called "advantage", black women have. If you're not hard working and stand out, you won't succeed. Just like Olivia Pope's father said, on Scandal, "Twice as good to get half of what they have".
-Asher Denkyirah

YaQkeha Witherspoon said...

I always thought that black women had an double advantage because of being both black and a women, and in some cases that is true. Women are now seeking professions that were once strictly dominant by males, so when a qualified woman applies they are given the job. And sometimes being a qualified black woman will help you get the job even more. The employer looks at it like a two for one deal, I not only just hired a black worker but she was a woman as well. Which is wrong in a way, but it is also helping black women succeed.

Naomi Thompson said...

The advantage of being a double minority comes only when you are given resources to become successful. For example, college scholarships and the SOAR program are designed to help minorities by providing extra support. What many people don't realize is the journey to get here in the first place and the reason those resources are created. In order to get into college, you have to graduate high school which all minorities struggle with in comparison to White pass rates. Generally speaking, White children are born with advantages that they don't realize because they automatically fit into their society. Black women are born into stereotypes they have to constantly disprove by "Shifting". On page 150 it says, "Some come to feel so fragmented that they end up believing there is nowhere they truly fit in." I relate to this. After growing up in a White country town, I didn't make many friends and the friends I made didn't even know the real me. I have no desire to return home anymore because of that experience.

Lindsey McCall said...

I am quite indifferent on this subject. I think that the idea of being a double minority is an advantage is insulting. It seems as if people feel sorry for us and gives us these so called "handouts" due to our so called "disadvantages." On the other hand I agree that we do have more opportunities as double minorities. Due to my major, computer science, there are in fact multiple companies looking to give a black woman like me a job. Although the opportunities are out there we must work for them, therefore, there are not "handouts."

Anonymous said...

I as a Black woman do not feel that a great portion of our lives comes from the fact that we are double advantaged by being a woman and African American. Many corporations use minorities, qualified or unqualified, as a way to fulfill their "organizational diversity standards"(page 167). We are not given an "upper hand" in the world we are given the short end of the stick. Page 167 tells that, "...Black women's high school and college graduation rates exceed those of Black men...". Despite this so called advantage of being Black and a woman, "...a greater percentage of Black men are in the labor force, and Black men earn more money for their work than Black women." Black women are one of the most under paid and under appreciated human beings on the planet. We are advantaged in some very seldom instances such as, scholarship opportunities at certain universities where scholarships are only given to minorities. We have to work twice as hard to be successful in this world. We are fighting against stereotypes and our biggest enemy ourselves.
McKayla W.

Alexandra Donaldson said...

I believe there is a little truth in that statement when the woman is successful. Being black and a woman, if I have overcome many stereotypes, can be a benefit in the workplace when companies want to diversify and be ahead of the competition. It is not always an advantage and most often it hinders many.

Alexandra D.

Deborrah Blackburn said...

The only way that I see being black and a woman as an advantage when it comes to the workplace, is during the hiring process. For example, being this particular advantage can be helpful because companies are always trying keep their work environment diverse. By being a black women you give yourself an advantage because you satisfy two categories of when it comes to diversity. But usually being a black woman is a double disadvantage. This is because, you are already at a disadvantage by being a woman(statistics show that women workers are paid less and often taken advantage of at work), and being a black can also be a disadvantage.
Deborrah B.

Samiya Barber said...

I do not believe that black women have a double advantage unless they have a degree and a very successful job because black women are always prejudged based on the stereotypes. On page 167, when it says, "the black community is often silent about discrimination based on gender," I have to disagree a little because there are just some jobs in the workforce that are primarily available to black men while women have to try so much harder to prove themselves.

Kellsey H said...

In my opinion black women have a double advantage, but only to a certain extent. In the workplace, diversity is something that some companies seek. Thus, they would be at an advantage. Like Deborrah said, though, being a black woman could also be considered a double disadvantage.

Niagra Bee said...

(Sorry for the late reply)

I think the only advantage is really more of a slap in the face. The only reason why black females get any special treatment is because of the double minority. It's nothing more than a compensation. To me, it sounds more like a an accommodation for some kind of profound disability and, with how black women are seen, that's exactly what it is.

-Que'rra

Dakarai P. said...

In my opinion, the advantage is really more so for the company than the black women who work for them. Since black women are a double minority, the company can hire one black women and cost that as two minorities rather than hiring more women and men of several cultures. It allows the company to appear more diverse, when in all actuality they are not.

Tayler G said...

I also disagree with what the book says. I think black women do not have an advantage in the work place because they are a "double minority." And if they do get an advantage then it is because they are a double minority. I agree with what Que'rra says about the advantage being a slap in the face.
Tayler G

Shelby Washington said...

The statement that black women, because we are a double minority, have n advantage in the workplace is preposterous. I can agree with the author when they said black women are faced with two forms of bigotry: racism and sexism. It is unfortunate and quite true. Ginny, mentioned on page 147-8, is a prime example of how black women are discriminated against. She had a good education with a nice job, however, she was unsatisfied, stressed, and depressed as a result of the mistreatment she dealt with in the workplace. It is not an advantage to the black woman at all to be a double minority.

Anonymous said...

I believe that this statement is only true when black women are succeeding and overcoming barriers. People may see black women excelling and think this is "unbelievable" in a sense, so they praise black women for this. However when black women are struggling in their work environment this is not the case. This would be a situation where black women fulfill a stereotype regardless of the level of difficulty in a task because we are expected to fail. This is why Ginny says on p. 148 "I have to work extra hard to prove myself. I work a lot of hours that I don't want to work because I'm afraid of being called lazy".
Taylor M.

Tameah Foley said...

I strongly disagree with this idea because black women are anything but advantaged. We have to constantly change who we are and even when we do, we're still not good enough. More businesses are attempting to become more diverse, however it is taking a toll on black women's mental. Moreover, black women who are hired at a job they do not like often feel trapped because they believe it would be impossible to get hired at another location due to their double minority.

sierra lucas said...

Personally I don't feel that being a women and being black is an advantage unless you do something to be praised about. By that I mean most black business women are normal people unless they make it to become CEO or something because then all the stereotypes and assumptions about black women are proven to be wrong and we are praised more for that success than others. Sierra L.

Fiona H. said...

I think in some cases it is an advantage to be both black and a women because, to be honest, companies are sometimes looking to fill a certain quota in the workplace (i.e. diversity, women, etc.) so you may be automatically placed in that spot. However, it is not an advantage because like Shelby said, black women oftentimes deal with sexism and racism in the workplace. They are oftentimes mistreated from simply being a double minority.

Shardai J-H. said...

Although being a double minority can have it's advantages; scholarships, job applications, government funding, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Living a life full of constant struggle and being seen as less than is not worth it, even with a few perks when you believe what everyone else does about you. After breaking those stereotypes, these advantages are no longer afforded.

Ashley Murray said...

On page 167 the myth that being black and female is an advantage is truly a myth. "Companies look for minorities" only to benefit themselves. Companies to hire a few minorities to save face, not because they just want minorities. Minorities have different standards to reach according to society.