A Black Woman Stole My Job
Understanding the collective benefit of diversity.
At 7:00 every morning, I spend an hour writing in a coffee shop.
If I’m in my hometown Denver, I usually head to Aviano, where they sell the most delicious single-origin coffees and play good music. And where I can people-watch the hustle and bustle of the morning crowd.
If I’m out of town, I try to find a place that has amazing coffee and a similar writing atmosphere.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m a certified coffee snob.
In those coffee shops, it’s not uncommon that observations of my fellow humans lead to a new writing idea.
Yesterday was one of those days.
Among the conversation noise coming at me from every direction, I overheard a man at the table next to me lament how a Black woman got promoted over him at work.
“She stole my job,” was how he phrased it.
I recognized this familiar phrase and sat with it.
It’s the response I’ve heard dozens of times over the years anytime a company tries to diversify their workforce and leadership ranks.
The “may the best man win” crowd was conveniently silent over the many years Black people and women of all colors were passed over for promotions or not hired because of their race or gender.
But hypocrisy aside, it’s important to understand two things as we continue our diversity efforts.
First, it wasn’t “your” job that was “lost.”
None of us own a particular job or position. Stop acting so entitled. All of us should be able to participate in the path to opportunity and success. Not just you. Not just the same people who always get those jobs and promotions. Oh, and don’t worry, there’s no mass exodus of white folks from good-paying jobs. That’s a lie certain news outlets like to tell.
This may come as a surprise, but if a Black woman was promoted over you, she probably had to work 10 times harder to even be considered for the same job. She earned it.
Second, and most importantly, diversity isn’t about making sure our places of employment represent some magical, colorful…