In light of current events on campus, I’d like to show my support for the #CanYouHearUsNow protest, which has recently grown to gain national attention for the cause. The struggle to adjust to a social climate primarily dominated by the “white man” has been brought to light over the past three days through several personal testimonies and accounts of racism, sexism, and homophobia. President Herbst, in a response, pointed out that this is not a uniquely “Colgate Problem”, but rather a problem in the American Society as a whole- especially in the professional workplace. Statistics show that out of our nation’s Fortune 500 CEO’s, only 1% identify as black, 4% as women, and 0% as openly homosexual. Thus, the great majority of employees of these companies are looking up to heterosexual white man.
This reminds me of an article posted over the summer (link posted below), illustrating the journey of a black, female entrepreneur. Quisha King created a modified teething ring for her infant son, which she hoped to develop and manufacture herself. Though, she lacked a professional role model who shared her perspective and struggled to find other minority women who could offer first hand advice to aid her startup. She described her problem as the “double minority problem”, being a non-white woman, which is also a common situation among many Colgate students and current activists. She argued that she lacked both financial and social capital that many are privileged to have, which enable them to effectively network and market their products, leaving her inherently disadvantaged.
Despite the harsh realities of the minority struggle in today’s American society, there are glimpses of optimism and hope that can spark advancements, both professionally and socially. The article urges minority women and women as a whole not to shrink into socially established roles, but rather excel in what the are passionate about to gain professional respect from people of all walks of life. To effectively network, you must stand out among the crowd and display your true talents. We must highlight our strengths to show how we have overcome our weaknesses. As Colgate students push for a safer environment for both present and future students, we, as women, can use these lessons of perseverance and self-pride as we venture into the notoriously male dominated workplace.