Food-For-Thought Friday: Speak Less, Listen More- A Lesson on Women’s Rights and Race

Image courtesy of Flickr.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

I have been deciding what I want to call the theme of my Friday posts and then it hit me: Food-for-thought Friday. My goal is to share insights I have on a myriad of topics – either inspired by content I have elsewhere on the interwebs or just something I feel warrants discussion.

Today, I am sharing my latest You Tube video from “The Aristocracy of HR” You Tube Channel. If you aren’t already aware, I post a video per week there giving the behind-the-scenes or background on the article of the week. I also post the replays from my weekly Ask Czarina Live™ Periscope show so you should definitely subscribe, but I digress.

Last night, on my Ask Czarina Live™ show I discussed pay equity for women. I talked about the fact that I am disgusted with talking about it. I also shared the startling statistics in the pay equity discussion for women of color.

Did you know?

Although white women get paid 79 cents on every dollar of their white male counterpart makes, Black women make 64 cents on that same dollar. Latinas get paid 54 cents on that same white male dollar. Women across racial demographics who are disabled make 64 cents on the dollar as well. Which brings to light that even though there is a general issue with pay equity for women, the impact is disproportionately adverse when we break it down by race and even ability.

What I find fascinating is the inability of white males and even females to see how this may be a tremendous hurdle for women of color to overcome. There is a mindset that if we (people of color) simply do the “right things” that the problem of inequity goes away and we can all go home and resume our lives as successful professionals. Quick to speak up and offer up solutions, slow to listen.

I contend that it isn’t that simple. There is a system and an institution in this country that makes it near impossible in some cases for women of color to catch up. Even if white women catch up eventually, we will always be behind. That fact doesn’t change unless, white people recognize the issue for what it is and make some serious and intentional changes in how gender and race is viewed in this country. That’s the price of being the majority. What can I say – with great power comes great responsibility as they say.

Someone on my show mentioned, “People pay for what they want.” We could make the case that the fact that pay equity is still an issue is a sign that women overall are unwanted in the workforce. I can also make the case that women of color and those who are disabled are damn near invisible when you consider the spectrum of how much the powers-that-be choose to pay us.

There are ways we can advocate for ourselves as women on the whole, but the advocacy is a harder sell for some of us. This is a fact.

Here’s the food-for-thought: Don’t be offended or quick to offer-up a solution, when women of color speak about the reality of their own plight in the pay equity debacle. It isn’t an affront to white women or anyone else. Instead, ingest the data and decide for yourself if you would want the same for yourself or your daughter. What would you do? I think I already know what your answer is.

Until the next time…thank you for reading! I appreciate you immensely. Stay tuned for more food-for-thought next Friday.

Business, Life, and Coffee Podcast: Do Women Make Better CEOs Than Men?

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I recently had the opportunity to speak with my friend and entrepreneur extraordinaire, Joey Price of JumpstartHR on his Business, Life, and Coffee Podcast. We had a great conversation about when I knew I needed to start my business and discussed whether women make better CEOs than men.

You’ll have to listen below to hear what I had to say about whether women are better than men at leading organizations. I think you will be surprised at my response. The one thing I learned for sure listening to this podcast is:

“We all have a story and we should share it as much as the universe will allow.”

Joey was able to capture my journey to entrepreneurship in a way that I have not in the past. Life often feels like thousands of vignettes that run into one another, blend and become distorted the further away from them you get. Asking the right question and a dose of honesty will always bring forth something compelling and useful.

Joey and I started on our social media journey at about the same time and have since become both colleagues and friends. It is pretty neat to see where both of us have landed respectively in our lives and businesses.

If you have a business, are thinking of starting a business or just have an interest in a story about someone who chased their dreams when everything was falling apart around them – you will want to listen to this podcast.

Please feel free to share your thoughts with me on the podcast below in the comments. Also, if you like this episode you will love the variety of his other shows- give them a spin!

Thanks for reading and supporting! I appreciate you immensely.

 

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Growth and Imperfection

Image courtesy of LiveLifeHappy.com

Image courtesy of LiveLifeHappy.com

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

Day 22 of 31-Growth and Imperfection

When I look back at what I have shared so far, I realized that it is a testament to growth, imperfection, and limitations. I promised you 31 days of me and you got 22 days. A little dishonest, perhaps- but it wasn’t on purpose. I aimed for 31 days until I realized that doing this would mean two things:

1) I would be writing 7 days a week. Which after writing 5 days per week I was completely drained and needed recharge. I’m an introvert and this is what happens. Not an excuse, but the truth.

2) I was also participating BlogHer’s March NaBloPoMo challenge. They only require writing Monday through Friday. In other words, I would have been doing more than what was required or truthfully needed.

Here’s what I have learned:

There are limits to how much I can share of myself. I had an idea, I shared, I discussed and realized some limitations in the interim, but most importantly I showed up. I did the best I could. I am imperfectly, limited and growing through my work, life and all the experiences in between. I know where I’ve been and how it informs who I am today. I have some ideas of who and what I want to be in the future; but recognize that even that vision has limitations. My roots are deep and my branches are growing in many different directions. That is after-all both the mystery and zest of life.

I hope you have taken away nuggets from this series that you can use in your own life. That was my sole intention and if I accomplished at least that- nothing else matters.

In case you missed any of the posts in the series, here is a comprehensive list of them all:

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Time

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Living With Purpose

31 Days, 32 Revelations: The Distraction of Ignorance

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Silent Sentinel

31 Days, 32 Revelations: A Little Bit of Faith

31 Days, 32 Revelations: A World of Dishonesty

 31 Days, 32 Revelations: Green-Eyed Bandits

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Digital Snobbery

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Chin Up, Dear!

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Blossoming In Time

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Knowing When To Move On

31 Days, 32 Revelations: What Checks and Balances?

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Playing The Game Is Played Out

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Ask Questions Even If It Kills You

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Innovation Ego

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Life Data

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Striving For Quality of Life

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Happily Different

 Czarina’s Lesson: Growth is a journey not a destination.

31 Days, 32 Revelations: 32 Fun Facts About Me

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Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

Day 20 of 31-  32 Fun Facts About Me

I can’t thank you all enough for reading, commenting and following this series. I was a little hesitant about switching gears, but I must say I am happy I did. The outpouring of support has been tremendous.

The day that has made this all possible has arrived. I am happy to announce that my 32nd birthday is today. Woohoo! I love celebrating my birthday. I started my day with reflection and giving thanks to the big man upstairs for another year of life.

In honor of my birthday, I am sharing 32 fun facts that you probably don’t know about me. I hope you enjoy them.

Here you go…

1) I am a Hofstra University Alumni.

2) When I started college, I was a Biochemistry Major with a minor in Spanish.

3) I initially planned  to major in Biochemistry because I wanted to become a Forensic Pathologist.

4) In high school, I was in my school’s Intel Program. My project was: The Mutagenesis of Poliovirus and Picornavirus

5) My first job was working as a waitress for a catering hall in a Jewish Temple.

6) I was part of Macy’s TapMania – it was an event that got 5,600 tap enthusiasts of all ages together in an effort to break the Guiness Book of Records for largest tap dancing event.

7) I played the Alto Saxophone in junior high school and high school. I was in both the marching band and jazz band.

8) I really wanted to play the Soprano Saxophone, because my idol, Kenny G played it- but had to settle for the Alto because that’s all the school had.

9) I read in two languages other than English- Spanish and Portuguese. I can speak Spanish and am emerging in Portuguese.

10) I am of Guyanese and Trinidadian descent.

11) I have a West-Indian accent, but it only comes out when I’m around other West- Indians.

12) When I was younger, I used to steal my mom’s black eyeliner to draw on a beauty mark, so I could look like Cindy Crawford.

13) My favorite colors are: teal and hot pink.

14) I love rollercoasters and any thrill rides. I will scream like a baby, but there is no keeping me away from thrill rides,

15)  I’m a Walking Dead fan.

16) My favorite cartoons growing up were: Jem, Looney Tunes, Darkwing Duck, Duck Tales and the Smurfs.

17) I am a trained belly dancer. I was part of a troupe called Fem Fire for three years.

18) I was once on a daytime show called: Living It Up With Ali and Jack. I was one of the models during their teeth whitening segment.

19) I’m a Cooking Channel fanatic. If I am left to my devices on the weekend, I can watch it all day.

20) Speaking of cooking, I love to cook and bake. It’s a labor of love and my happy place. Check out my chops on Instagram.

21) I am the eldest of two kids in my family. I have a younger brother.

22) My favorite sport is: football.

23) I am a diehard NY Giants fan.

24) I played Tennis in high school.

25) My favorite movie is: The Sweetest Thing

26) I was a tomboy growing up. From hopping in creeks to playing crash dummies on bikes, it wasn’t all about dolls and dress-up for me.

27) I love expressing myself through fashion and makeup. It makes me feel great.

28)  I was born in Queens, NY.

29) My favorite genre of music is: Soca

30) I have been known to fall asleep standing up.

31) I was probed to start blogging based on my tweets.

32) I love Philosophy and believe in my previous life I sat on a rock extolling the virtues of life and other phenomenon. My favorite philosophers are: Rene Descartes, Kant and Socrates.

I hope you enjoyed these fun facts about me. Share a fun fact about yourself in the comments. Now for a musical outro with 50 Cent. 

https://youtu.be/_E2w5HiNtic

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Life Data

 

Image courtesy of Brainy Quote

 

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

Day 16 of 31- Life Data

There’s a lot of talk about pay equality, race equality, women’s rights etc. Equally, I feel that the rhetoric against equality on all of these fronts is increasingly divisive and disrespectful. Additionally, there is something to be said for what goes unsaid, because that too is an answer. Those that read my posts regularly know I don’t shy away from the tough subjects. I have tackled everything from Sheryl Sandberg’s “Ban Bossy” campaign to “Race Relations in the Workplace”. Each time, I learn a little more about the moral paradigm the U.S operates under.

When I called the NYPD out for not dealing with their race issues, I got responses like: “black people are always complaining” or “black people commit most crimes and if they didn’t situations like Ferguson wouldn’t happen.” When I talked about how I thought Sheryl Sandberg’s “Ban Bossy” and “Lean-In” campaigns were short-sighted, I had a man tell me that “there is no such thing as pay inequity.” In all of these instances, I shared my experiences. The comments and moderate backlash is not something I take personally, but I do have a problem when people confuse “experience” and “opinion”.

If I say I have never experienced being discriminated against, but offer up some thoughts based on what I think being discriminated against is like- that is an opinion. If I have worked in Corporate America as a black woman and been passed up for promotions and paid less than my white counterparts- that my friends is a bonafide experience. It is something I would like to call “life data”. No, it hasn’t been incubated and studied with a proper sampling, controls and variables aligned. However, it is something I have experienced and have unofficially corroborated with other black females across the country in similarly situated positions and everything in between. That said, I have every right to speak about these issues.

We have become so excitable about data and proof, that we forget that even one instance of any event serves as some proof that something has occurred. When we are faced with employee complaints or claims in an organization, they are often singular instances of issues that are dealt with on a case-by case basis. It is those individual complaints that often times lead to larger narratives that have to be investigated. If we were to discount the experience of individuals until we had a collection of people coming forward with the same issue- we would:

1) Be dealing with bigger issues because the employee would probably sue or file an outside claim.

2) We would be catching a problem far too late to the detriment of both the workforce and company.

We have gotten very good at discounting the experiences of others in this country. The sentiment is if it’s not happening to me or anyone I know- it isn’t a problem. While I will agree that some of us humans have a completely skewed and screwed up way of viewing the world, even that phenomenon is life data. Everyday we open our eyes and interact in the world, provides experiences that become data we use to inform our decisions in life.

I tell you all of this to say, I am sick and tired of people telling me and others that what we see and experience isn’t real or is at a minimum “a humble opinion”. Until you have walked a day in another person’s shoes, you have no frame of reference. It is not reasonable to swap their experiences out for your sloppy opinion.

The individuals who risked making the comments above forgot to arm themselves with data. I am happy to note that I didn’t go commando, but instead reminded them of the facts using data; I haven’t heard from them since. Poof be gone!

 

Czarina’s Lesson: Your lack of experience and understanding, isn’t a reason for me to be both silent and blind.

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