The term “b!+$#”, how it’s used and why it’s used was the first topic on the table. One of the attendees made an interesting comment that evoked something in me to address during the second half of the conversation, which referenced mentors and how women support one another, or lack thereof. The young lady said it’s not necessarily how the word is used, but more of how women (black women specifically) treat one another. She referenced how she walks down the street with a smile on her face and is greeted with mean glares from fellow sisters for whatever reason, be it personal problems, low self-esteem or other issues that don’t relate to her. I couldn’t have agreed more with that point, which is why I was compelled to bring it up when the second half of the conversation made an interesting segway to the topic of mentorship.
In my young career, I’ve experienced the misfortune of perspective mentors and employers who said or promised one thing and reneged on those statements. So, in this “game” of life, I’m learning the rules of the game and learning how to deal with the cards I’m dealt. So, I raised my hand, gracefully walked to the microphone and asked, “So, how do you hold women accountable who are in the position to help others when they not only refuse to assist, but use their power for evil and deceit, rather than for good?” Earlier, we discussed our disdain for the word “b!+$#”, but what happens when someone acts like one?
My question was met with the responses like, “Stay away from the horrible individual,” “When people reveal who they are, believe them,” “Look for positive men in your life as mentors,” “Take the positive career attributes from that woman and keep it moving” and others. All of these comments are etched in my mental file drawer because I agree with all of them. Unfortunately, my question was asked at the close of the discussion, but it’s a subject many refuse to discuss because it’s the truth. It’s painful and it’s ugly. It can even be seen as embarrassing. Who wants to get up in a room full of people and say you were played by someone or the brunt of someone’s joke? I have to tell you it didn’t feel great, but it was fascinating to find out from others who confronted me after the discussion in person and via social media to say they shared similar experiences and were pleased I brought a light to that issue.
We may live in a time when women are more educated than ever, but the flip side to that is we’re showing more hate than love and are throwing more shade than shedding more light on one another. That’s the painful, ugly and embarrassing truth. More discussions like the one I attended need to take place in order to create a conversation that will dispel those evil whispers and grimacing glares in the streets and boardrooms in our community.