Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Haley Reading (Group B) -- American Spy, Chapters 10 - 14

 [Haley Reading groups Fall 2020]

By Boluwatife O. Ojewande

In chapters ten through fourteen of American Spy, Marie recalls Helen's funeral, Robbie's visit to Martinique, and her first undercover assignment to gather intel during President Thomas Sankara’s visit to New York City. She is told to seduce the leader, which makes her feel uncomfortable.

“While I was attracted to him, I knew it was wrong to try and seduce him” (142).

Why was what Marie described about her challenges as a Black woman professional important for you to consider? 

50 comments:

Linda H. said...

Reading this I wasn't surprised that her bosses wanted her to sleep with them. I remember when I wanted to be a spy when I was younger, and then I realized from T.V. and other sources that it could mean sleeping with people for intell and I changed my mind. If Marie actually does everything they want of her and she finally gets the promotion she wants then all her colleagues will just say she she got there on her back. She really is between a rock and a hard place, and the fact that she knows this and decides to proceed anyway is making me anxious.

-Linda H.

Samantha A. said...

It is important to consider the stereotype that Marie faces as a black woman professional that women are stubborn and only good for seducing men. Marie has demonstrated plenty of times that she is a competent spy without succumbing to the stereotype and seducing her targets to obtain information. Although she is developing feelings for her current target, she is resisting her feelings to continue to prove the stereotype wrong and create a better reputation for herself.

-Samantha A.

Jaydyn Z. said...

It is important to consider the stereotype that many women professionals, especially black women, face. This stereotype consists of oversexualizing black women in a professional field. Throughout the course of the novel thus far, Marie has continued to show the bureau that she is more than competent to do the job without seducing Thomas Sankara. Despite all the stereotypes she has been labeled with, she has remained strong in her stance to prove that she can complete her mission without allowing the stereotype to define her. I am interested to see how Marie continues to rise against the bureau's expectations.

-Jaydyn Zykan

Anonymous said...

Marie faces a lot of challenges in her profession that are important to consider as she starts to build a reputation for herself. A memory that I feel guided Marie through her challenges was her father saying, "You don't owe them anything. You give them what you want to give them" (172). For me, I believe that Marie is going to do what she wants to do.

-Aleeya B.

LaTrina Brown said...

Marie believes that it is wrong to seduce the leader because that is a stereotype that she has been trying to steer away from this entire time. She has proved herself on many occasions that she is more than able to do her job without seducing anyone. This is important to consider when she describes her challenges as a black women in the professional field considering the fact that black women as perceived as seductive to get what they want.

Alleson Huntspon said...

It's important to consider because we often see how it's harder for women to get power and not just within the work force. People try to keep women lower than the man when it comes to a lot of things. Often times women are portrayed to be helpers to a man like make a mans job easier instead of a women doing the whole job herself, or even just as pleasurable tools to the man like with Marie's situation. People try to take advantage and degrade women in numerous ways often within the work force and all other forces just because we are women and black women at that. -Alleson Huntspon

Kenisha Townsend said...

These challenges were important to consider, because Maria has worked too hard to give in to society's stereotypes. It is already difficult to be given respect in a "man's profession", and it is even more difficult as a black woman. To be asked to seduce a leader to accomplish a task is essentially degrading. It's like saying she doesn't have the competency to complete the task without doing so. It is believed women gain success by using their bodies. If she does this task, she will be adhering to this belief.

Kenisha T.

Mackenzie Cohoon said...

Women in general are hardly ever taken seriously in the workplace. It is rare that a professional woman can go without her success being undermined by her sexuality. The fact that Marie is a black woman just adds to it. Black women especially tend to be stereotyped in the workplace, as if the only thing that we are good for is our bodies. If she were to do what everybody expects of her, she would only be feeding into the stereotype.

Anonymous said...

It was important for me to consider Marie’s position because in a way, her story feels more personal to me that any other book that I’ve read. As a black woman with lineage from both Haiti and the Bahamas, I feel a strong connection to her story. The cultural, racial, and sexual struggles that she deals with in this story are very similar to what black women in America have to experience. It’s clearly frustrating to Marie that she is treated like an object by her superiors and that they expect her to use her body rather than her brain to solve their problem. I have much empathy for her situation because very often women, especially black women, feel like they must go the extra mile at work to prove how valuable they are, and unfortunately sometimes they must sacrifice their own comfort to do so.

Ehriana . C said...

I believe its important for me to consider the challenges Marie faced as a black woman professional because in society women are always sexualized whether its the clothes we wear or the way we act. we are always seen as just sexual objects. society tells us that we are not good enough unless it involves us being seen in that way. Black women in general in the workplace have to prove themselves way more than a man.

Unknown said...

Not only is Marie subject to stereotypes associated with her skin color, but also her identity as a woman. I believe it is important for me to consider the challenges Marie faced because even today Black women are highly sexualized.

Madalynn M.

Alayna M. said...

If Marie followed the plan her superiors had laid out for her, she would be giving into the stereotype that women in the bureau or CIA would only be good for seducing the enemy. It wouldn't be her brains or her physical abilities that she would be praised for, it would be her looks and anatomy. Marie doesn't want to be just another woman who was in the FBI that everyone forgets about, she refuses to be like Mr. Ali and just give up. I think also that if Marie gave in and slept with Thomas just for work, it would greatly affect her self-esteem in a negative way. She knows she's better than that.

Alayna M.

Alexis S. said...

Marie's challenges as a black woman professional were important for us to consider because Marie has shown and stated that she does not want to fall into the stereotype that society and her job want her to fit into. That stereotype being an overly sexual and flirty person. Since Marie's first day, she has wanted to make a name for herself and establish that she is educated and a hard worker. Marie has proven numerous times that she is a competent spy and that just because she is a woman doesn't mean that she can't perform the same task as her male counterparts.

- Alexis S.

Brooke Harris said...

Its important for Marie to notice and try to avoid these stereotypes, especially since women have this stereotype that they only get the jobs they want by succumbing to sexual temptation. Not only that but its a stereotype that black women are more promiscuous or sexual than others, so if she were to give in to these challenges in the work place people wouldnt take her a seriously as she wants to be seen as.
-Brooke H

Kayla Person said...

Marie faces many challenges in her line of work, not only due to being a woman, but a Black woman. Throughout time in many other stories and movies, we see that women spies are generally stereotyped as people who seduce others to get information. Women have to work a lot harder to be taken seriously today, which I’m sure was only amplified in Marie’s time. I like that she is able to do her job without conforming to those stereotypes.

Kayla P.

Nia Marshall said...

To me I felt as if its important to consisted all the changes, challenges and difficulties that these bring to Marie. To me reading that Marie a woman who is of color in a professional position, who is only looked upon to do tasks that aren’t showing her true talent as a spy. This brings to mind the multiple stereotypes that women and people of color might face. Although her current mission places her in a difficult situation I’m sure she can continue to prove to herself and everyone else her worth. No matter what choices she chooses in the upcoming chapters I’m excited to see how this all pans out for her.

Nia M.

Cheyenne Carpenter said...

It is important to consider all the challenges that Marie went through because as a woman, they expect her to "sleep" her way to the top in a male-dominated career. It is important to consider all of the things she had to give up, essentially her attraction to her target, just for her to continue to have a successful career. Overall, it seems like her main goal is to not fit into the stereotypes as a woman and being black.

Nijay N Spellman said...

It was important to consider Marie's challenges because she puts up with sexist and discriminatory behavior amongst her colleagues. As a woman, especially a black woman, we have all odds against us and no one wants us to succeed. Marie has proven countless times that she is capable of doing her job just like everyone else, but they only see her fit to seduce a man into receiving intel. Marie should not have to follow society's expectations to get to where she has to go by degrading herself.

Nijay S.

Kaelyn Cupil said...

I think the fact that Marie had to choose to incorporate more into her job than everyone else to complete her task speaks volumes because as a woman and as a black person, it is expected that you have to work hard AND smarter than your majority counterparts. It also is very sobering that a black woman, who is usually hyper sexualized already, is advised to use this already placed bias in the favor of her job. The fact that she was asked to do this in order to be successful is honestly appalling. I feel like this book is a great example of reality.

-Kaelyn C.

Daeja J Daniels said...

I felt as though it was very important to consider because there are many stereotypes placed on women in general. One of these is that some women in power have "seduced" men to get where they are. Throughout this she has proven to be more than capable of completing the job. This is very important to consider because this is her reputation on the line.

Anonymous said...

I felt very proud that Marie didn't fall to the stereotype. Many times women are over-sexualized and it is seen as normal for them to only use their bodies for information. It says a lot about Marie's intelligence and will power that even though she is falling for her target that she doesn't use her body to get results. She uses her mind and stays true to herself.
Fatima Bashir

Samontriona P. said...

What Maria described about her challenges as a black woman professional is important to me because I too am a black woman who will be going into a professional field. Women are oversexualized as it is, so her being in a primary male field makes it worse for her. The things she is being asked to do are extremely degrading to any woman. When women are put in a powerful position, men tend to want to "put them in their place". I love that she is standing strong and showing them that she can efficiently do her job without using her body.

Adejoke Adanri said...

It is important to consider Marie is not only facing challenges as a women who is a spy, but a black woman who is a spy. I found it frustrating that she was asked to seduce him, not for intel, but for the photos to blackmail Thomas with (page 156). It makes it seem like she is disposable and show how society doesn’t care about black women.

Adejoke Adanri

Jacqueline Smith said...

Marie is very conscious of her challenges as a black woman in the FBI. As I stated before, she has to work twice as hard to get a portion of the respect she deserves. seducing Thomas lowers her professional standards while at the same time feeding stereotypes of woman in the work field. She was also very adamant about learning from other peoples failures. She refused to be used and become stuck like Mr. Ali: "I couldn't let Ross use me... It's only a fool who doesn't learn from the experience of others " (p.88). By giving in to seduce Thomas, she would be giving in to Ross.

Jacqueline Smith

Alexis H. said...

When Marie described her challenges as a Black professional woman, it was important for me to consider because it resembles how she was being used. They could’ve choose multiple people, but they choose her because she would be easier to use than anyone else. It was really degrading to read that they wanted her on the job, so she could sleep with hun or at least get close enough to make it seem as if they were. They could’ve found another way, but they choose to use her and it was her first job. She has so many talents and they choose to use her for her body. It hurts and it’s scary to think that no matter what her skill set was, they were always going to over look her.

Alexis H.

Alexis H. said...

When Marie described her challenges as a Black professional woman, it was important for me to consider because it resembles how she was being used. They could’ve choose multiple people, but they choose her because she would be easier to use than anyone else. It was really degrading to read that they wanted her on the job, so she could sleep with hun or at least get close enough to make it seem as if they were. They could’ve found another way, but they choose to use her and it was her first job. She has so many talents and they choose to use her for her body. It hurts and it’s scary to think that no matter what her skill set was, they were always going to over look her.

Alexis H.

Anonymous said...

It is important to consider Marie's challenge as a black woman in a professional setting because these chapters reiterate challenges that black woman have to face in the society. Then, in 1992 and today in 2020. Not much has changed. The oppression black woman face due to their hypertextualization in society is simply not okay. She wanted to proof people that she did not need so seduce her boss to be good at what she was doing. Despite all the stereotypes attached to black women.

-Geonel Moluba

Keaira C. said...

This is definitely important for us as readers to consider because at this time living in the 1980’s/1990’s being a woman and being Black, gender, and race is definitely a crucial part of how someone would identify at this time. One’s race and being a woman were two major things that were things that would commonly get attention, and unfortunately being Black and a woman at this time would get negative attention or glorification for the wrong reasons. Also, the stereotypes associated with both of these forms of social identification were commonly negative or inaccurate. The stigma associated with being a woman at this time is that women are overly sexual, and only good/skilled when it comes to more feminine tasks or when it comes to assisting men. Additionally, the stigma associated with being Black at this time is being rebellious and bad or deemed as negative. Maria within this profession faces a lot of challenges within this career path and it’s significant for her to build a reputation of herself that’s based on her actual capabilities, defying society’s stereotypes and beliefs of her because of her being a Black woman. And Maria tries to make sure that she is staying true to herself and accurately building her reputation within her profession, not giving in to these false/inaccurate expectations of her.

Anonymous said...

I am curious why they believe she had to seduce the leader when she has showed that she is more then capable in doing her job. It is nice to see her refusing to fall into the stereotypes that most people perceive woman.

Anonymous said...

As a black woman, I understand Marie’s challenges as a black woman professional. We are often treated unfairly in the workplace and are expected to go the extra mile and perform immoral acts in order to get farther in life; especially in corporate America. Her boss wanting her to sleep with him reminds me of how owners raped black women during slavery. Although she has shown that she is a competent spy, her efforts are still being swept under the rug and unappreciated.
Courteona Combs 10/16/20

Anonymous said...

I am curious why they believe she had to seduce the leader when she has showed that she is more then capable in doing her job. It is nice to see her refusing to fall into the stereotypes that most people perceive woman.
Breann Walton 10/16/20

Anonymous said...

It’s important to consider because black women often face the stereotype of being sexual objects. Marie knows it would be against her morals to sleep with the target for information but at the same time she is also attracted to the target. Marie is a strong woman and I know she will do what she wants to do but I hope she doesn’t go through with it. Moving forward with the target could weaken her reputation and make her seem less deserving of her position. I’m excited to see what will happen.

Cynthia Martin 10/17/20

Anonymous said...

Her challenges were important to consider because history has shown that black women have been used to "accomplish" something that usually does not benefit them. They are often used to further the agenda of those that do not have their best interest. As we read in the novel, she did this assignment (even though she didnt accomplish the "goal" of sleeping with the president ) and was thrown under the bus. She was suspended. She was not valued for her talents and strengths. She was not seen as a person, only what she could do for them.

Teighlor Traywick 10/16/20

Anonymous said...

Just like in this novel, women face these exact challenges just in different ways, the main difference is the timing/era. It is important to know her challenges because not only does it show her self-control and her principles by not seducing the leader but also it shows that she, as a woman can overcame the challenges and the stereotype that women get into high ranks not by hard work but by small favors here and there (e.g. seducing bosses/leaders like we read). It is actually very encouraging and am looking forward for the next chapters.

Elizabeth Kyande 10/16/20

gabby said...

This section was important for us to take note of as women are often seen differently in the workplace. The notion that she had to seduce the man in order to be successful at her job is harmful and limiting. I feel as this is a common stereotype afforded to women as they are often over sexualized in all areas. While reading the chapter, I was not surprised that her bosses wanted her to sleep with them. Evidently she will not give in as she does not want to uphold the stereotype.

Arielle Stallworth said...

Her challenges were important for me to consider because I am young Black woman that is in the process of getting my degree to get to where she is. I aspire to be a CSI/FBI/CIA agent and do not believe that it is right to use a woman for her body when she is more than capable of completing her tasks in other ways.
Seeing the way she is treated, as lesser and incapable, in a white man's work place already it was not that big of a shock to me when they asked. It seems to me that they are using her only putting her where they want her rather than where her talent and capabilities will truly show.

EvanCeleste said...

It was important for me to consider Marie’s position because in a way, her story feels more personal to me that any other book that I’ve read. As a black woman with lineage from both Haiti and the Bahamas, I feel a strong connection to her story. The cultural, racial, and sexual struggles that she deals with in this story are very similar to what black women in America have to experience. It’s clearly frustrating to Marie that she is treated like an object by her superiors and that they expect her to use her body rather than her brain to solve their problem. I have much empathy for her situation because very often women, especially black women, feel like they must go the extra mile at work to prove how valuable they are, and unfortunately sometimes they must sacrifice their own comfort to do so.

Jayla Pierce said...

It is important to understand the challenges black women face as a professional and to consider it while continuing to read the novel. It important to understand and notice now because as we continue to read, you'll be able to notice it without it being pointed out to you. It is also important because while she is being used for her sexuality as a woman and by being black, she also is expected to be strong and overcome those challenges that she has carried that into her home life that she doesn’t recognize that she not alone until it pointed out to her.

R. Ginger said...

Marie’s description about her challenges as a Black woman professional were important for me to consider because I am also a black woman and it is much harder for us. She is so underestimated because she is a black woman. She kind of only got this undercover assignment because Daniel Slater recommended her. Even though she was recommended Ross still expects her to seduce Thomas. -R. Ginger

Kelsey McNeil said...

Marie's struggles are important for me to understand and hear because I am also a black woman. As I am getting older and have to think more about my future career and profession, it is important to read about situations like this. People must understand that things like this in real life and have been going on for a long time. It is also important to know that women are very much underestimated in professional settings.

Kelsey McNeil

Alliyah M. said...

The challenges that Marie faces as a black woman professional were important to consider because these accounts give readers an idea of how much of a challenge it was and still is to be a woman in a professional setting. Without Marie accounting her experiences as a black woman professional, these problems would go unnoticed and therefore, change is not possible to happen. Marie accounting these challenges also motivates other women that face these challenges that it is still possible to overcome these obstacles and prosper in any work field.

Raillane Kamdem said...

The stereotype portrayed in this chapter that is very prevalent in all media with women, and even women of color did not surprise me. It is very common for media in storytelling to portray women in such a way that no matter how intelligent they are, they are still women, and at the end of the day their main contribution to society is their sexuality. And that’s how they can get anything done. Even a book as progressive as this one did not shy from that.

Anonymous said...

After reading chapters 10-14, I was not surprised when Marie was sexualized. Black women, especially in a professional workplace deal with this more than it is discussed. Marie has made it clear that she is not the type of female spy to sleep with her bosses or targets. Even though this is true, Marie is at a crossroads because she is developing feelings for her current target. I am interested to see how Marie will react to being sexualized as the book further develops.

Danielle Hawthorne 10/19/20

Anonymous said...

I think it was important to consider Marie's challenges as a Black woman professional, because they are ones that she has yet to fully overcome. The "seducing" assignment is a perfect example of this. Marie has put in a lot of hard work to get to where she is, yet it seems like because of her race and gender she is still not being taken seriously. The assignment reflects this.
Chaianna Curry 10/19/20

Vanessa H. said...

I think this section reflecting what men think is okay is very important. Marie is stuck is a time where stereotypes take over a lot of black women. It is hard to stick out and stand your ground when eveyone around you is doing the opposite. Marie has put a lot of hard work into her career and I think she will stand her ground and doesn’t plan on taking the ‘easy’ route anytime soon. What is to come next will be very interesting.

Vanessa Hovey

I'Lysa Walker said...

I was disgusted when her bosses expected her to sleep with them. It brought attention to the stigma that black women only seduce men. Gender and race within a workplace have many harsh stereotypes and it was interesting how the novel utilized it to evoke emotion.

I'Lysa Walker said...

I was disgusted when her bosses expected her to sleep with them. It brought attention to the stigma that black women only seduce men. Gender and race within a workplace have many harsh stereotypes and it was interesting how the novel utilized it to evoke emotion.

Anonymous said...

Marie, as a black woman, already knows that she has to do more than the average employee. Sadly her bosses take advantage of that and it’s not only racist but sexist. Black woman have been over sexualized for years and from a young age so her bosses seeing her as a sex object is generally racist. Because of recent things in the real world like the me too movement, being open about being sexually harassed at work has been a downfall on women because men don’t want to hire anyone who could potentially sue them. This probably puts Marie in another tough spot because even if she doesn’t go through with sleeping with her bosses, she can’t necessarily come out about with sexual harassment in the work place without her credibility as an employee come into question.
-Deja L. 10/24/20

Anonymous said...

It’s important to consider her challenges as a Black woman because it explains the choices she’s made so far. She refuses to seduce him because she knows that’s exactly what Ross wants from her. She knows she can get the assignment done without giving into what these selfish men want.

It explains why she turned down the assignment in the first place. As a black woman we have to work 3x harder to get the same recognition as our colleagues. Having her first assignment be so degrading is a slap in the face. I’m interested to see how she completes her assignment and if Marie will give into Sankara’s charm.

Nyla Woods 10/26/20

Anonymous said...

It’s important to consider because some may think things like that aren’t going on. It’s still going on today. Women are very sexualized. I understand how uncomfortable and hard some things may have made marie feel, it makes it no better that she is somewhat developing feelings for him. I was not shocked that they wanted Marie to do something like that. If marie went along with this, it wouldn’t because she put her mind to it, but because she used her body. I would hope marie wants more for herself being that she IS an african american women.

Damaiya L. 10/26/20