{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I am a woman of color in a predominantly white field. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to keep a straight face when a colleague said something that was hurtful. What experiences you had that only emphasized how much of an outsider you are?\n\nI’ll start. I’m in a D9 sorority (AKA) and a coworker referred to the pinky up/ivy leaf as a gang sign. \n\nI tried to search for a similar thread, but couldn’t find one. If it already exists - please let me know.", "post_id": "5ef2405bfcb30f0030bf7573", "reply_count": 510, "vote_count": 93, "bowl_id": "5e6fe1c31f5e51001d267e46", "bowl_name": "The Work-Life Bowl", "feed_type": "bowl" }

I am a woman of color in a predominantly white field. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to keep a straight face when a colleague said something that was hurtful. What experiences you had that only emphasized how much of an outsider you are?

I’ll start. I’m in a D9 sorority (AKA) and a coworker referred to the pinky up/ivy leaf as a gang sign.

I tried to search for a similar thread, but couldn’t find one. If it already exists - please let me know.

Posting as :
works at
You are currently posting as works at
Highlighted IconHIGHLIGHTED

I’d be so interested in the outcome of what would happen if any of you followed up with “what do you mean?” When these comments happen. There’s clearly bias with some of these comments, but I’m so curious on whether the person providing those comments came to the realisation that it was because of a bias.

My parents, first generation immigrants, would let it go - because they didn’t want “trouble.” Fortunately it’s something I’d call out and follow up to the point where it made people uncomfortable. It’s been my experience that people just really don’t comprehend - and honestly do you blame them? I grew up brown in America, and I don’t have the imagination to fully understand to what it would be like to experience being black in America


The “what do you mean” was abundantly clear when the principal at my mother’s school (a large Chicago Public School) told her in front of colleagues that she should be the one to go buy supplies since she’d be able to “Jew them down and get a good price.”


Back to the original question: yes I have experienced situations where folks said things that made me feel an outsider. (A woman in a traditionally man’s world) Once in an earlier career a miner’s call was transferred to me. I said hello and he said: “Honey, I wanted to talk to the geologist.” I said with great emphasis: “I AM the geologist”. Sometimes folks would refer to me as “you little heffer.” For that I’d just glare or sternly look at them. I would not do a cute little laugh. It’s tough to respond to statements that hurt. I think one way to handle is to ask, why questions. Why do you say that? Why do you ask? Why do you make that assumption? And perhaps if you feel comfortable enough, let them know how you hear their comment.

Recent IconRecent

Being told, enthusiastically, how articulate I am.


This was in one of my performance reviews. I did not think it was a compliment.


I once had my MD sit me down to talk to me on how I’m not fitting in with the culture. He talked about how people feel uncomfortable with someone who uses big words and larger concepts and that I needed to hear people who’s feelings were just as valid as my logic because they’d been with the company longer and management valued their opinions. And the fact that I favor wearing black is intimidating, I should wear some brighter colors, change it up a bit, you’d look good in a light blue do you have anything in light blue? After about an hour of telling me all the ways I needed to accommodate the fragility of my colleagues I summarized: OK let me get this straight - you want me to know my place, talk dumb and dress pretty?


What an idiot. Sorry you had to experience that.


When my team asked me how to pronounce ‘Wuhan’ 😂 I was born in the US and am Korean. I know they didn’t mean it to be offensive so I was okay, but it just made me realize I’m still considered an outsider


I had a very close Japanese friend here. He would get angry when white people would address him in Japanese, inquire about his food, basically single him out. I'm not very PC and treat everyone the same way unless they are known to be hyper sensitive. He said he was my friend because I never made him feel different. I even amused him with my kamikaze pilot impersonation. Folks need to realize the difference between racism and genuine humor even if it's based on bad stereotypes. I miss you Hiroshi!!


Someone touched my hair, without my permission, and said “wow! Your hair feels so white! It’s so soft!” I’m mixed (black/Asian). I smiled and responded “please do not touch me without asking first. That makes me feel really uncomfortable.”

There was also the time someone referred to me as “a black.” I asked “do you find pleasure in dehumanizing me?” And they turned beet red.

I honestly dgaf anymore when it comes to calling people out. As Beyoncé would say “ you can watch my fat ass twist, boy!”



Post Photo

I could write a book on this lol. Colleagues assuming I grew up poor because I am black. Or that I went to college on some kind of minority scholarship.

I get way too many requests to touch my hair and fascination around how I style it.

Being told I’m not like them in reference to “bad” black people or “they don’t mean me” after saying something racist about black people.

My favorite was “I didn’t expect you to be so smart and articulate” said by a leader on one of my accounts.


Honestly, I really want to know who asks someone to touch their hair? It’s so weird, but sounds like it happens a lot!


Walking into a client meeting for the first time as a Black woman (and only Black person in the room) with a staff person who was a white male and having everyone rush to him first to introduce themselves or pass me by and walk over to him as they enter.


No, actually. It’s exhausting and ridiculous that I have to do it.


I was talking to my friend (white guy) at a happy hour, and a partner (another white guy) interrupts our conversation and starts talking to my friend about sports and acts like I’m not even there. Was so awkward, and even my friend pointed that out afterwards.


It is totally your leader’s job to not create awkward spaces that exclude certain people.. if only certain ppl ever join while the majority of the group doesnt then maybe leadership should learn how to read the room but i know thats a joke

When my sister was in college in NH, her roommate went around telling people she had a "black power" flag on the wall. It was the flag of my parents' country. 🤦🏾‍♀️


I hope she didn’t take it down


I’m a veteran. I’ve been asked if I’ve killed anyone a bunch of times.


@Senior Tax Associate 1 I’m confused... aren’t all recruits required to go through basic training?


I’m a female Asian lawyer and one time in court one of the court personnel asked if I was the translator 🙄



Yes im Indian, no i wont fix your computer. Yes i can but then the actual it department would be out of a job.


Same man. I just reply back with “what makes you think I know how to fix your computer?” And watch them back away slowly.


I’m Mexican, One time I told a client I lived in LA and they said “Oh, how are things in Compton?” I don’t know. I don’t live there. 🙄

Or being asked if I know any “illegals.”

Or the classic, “I bet you make great margaritas.”

I am TIRED. That’s it. Thank you for listening.


Yeah, totally. I am an immigrant and I do know all the places but I’m not a search engine.

I think the first one bothers me because I hate how incredible or unrealistic people think economic prosperity or social mobility is for minorities. Especially those that are sometimes portrayed as service workers. Ps: no shame to service workers my mother was one and def appreciate her struggle.

I’ve been asked if people could touch my hair plenty of times. Once at a work event in a group, someone that I didn’t know asked and before I could respond, a colleague spoke up and told the person it was inappropriate. The person that asked didn’t understand why and it turned into an entire group discussion about being on display or being treated as a pet. The conversation ended thinking the person that asked understood. A couple of hours later, I saw the same person by myself and they asked if they could touch it now as if being by myself made a difference. I was flabbergasted.


I just want to know why this isn’t obviously just a creepy and weird request in people’s minds. I mean if anyone asked a white lady if they could touch her over processed blonde hair “to see if it really feels like straw” would she not be offended? Or even if someone wanted to touch it because it looked so...idk...touchable, my question is still what in the hell are grown humans doing wanting to touch other people’s hair??? For F sake. The answer is no you creepy freak. If you are not my very, very close friend or my bed partner, you are super weird and need to assess your social skills.


First day of my internship I got pulled aside and had to hop on a phone with legal with HR present. HR was prepping me to "just apologize and say you'll never do it again." I didn't know what it was for. Turns out someone with a Latino sounding last name got a DUI and they thought it was me.

Ooh, or I had a colleague straight up tell me "I was definitely" going to be a Partner because I'm smart and Mexican. Or, I've had a client feel like it's totally cool to jump into a long story complaining about Mexico and Mexicans with me. The topper is they actually had the audacity to say they "felt comfortable" telling me this.


My first day on the job, a co-workers was trying to do something nice and wanted to buy me breakfast. He turns to me and asks, you like bagels and cream cheese, right? (I’m jewish)


This is parody right?


Oh gosh i dont know where to begin. In law school, this girl made a comment how con law must be so hard for me given i needed to know us history to *fully understand* the course. I went to school here throughout my life lol.




I often encounter this too! I was suggested by another female colleague (both of us not white, different cultural backgrounds) to just call them out on the situation (without being angry but also not joking along) and say something like, “Have you noticed what you said is (culturally) inappropriate and insensitive?” And leave them there with the discomfort and let them also experience the discomfort feeling. I thought this was inspiring and it’s doing something at least (not just silently taking it and being angry at myself later on for not having said something). Interested to hear other’s suggestion!


Deloitte 2, does the flat Dutch culture work when calling out Zwarte Piet blackface?


I’ve literally been told “you speak so well for a black person” and am constantly asked what my nationality is. I’m from Michigan 😑


HATE THIS. Also hate: “Wow THATs a REALLY good school” and when they vaguely know you and where ur from “You’re from the [insert poor, run down part of town] right]


White girl here. I’ve witnessed so many microaggressions towards my BIPOC coworkers it’s not even funny. The poster above mentioning braids reminded me of one time a young black coworker did something different with her hair and a much more senior white coworker started petting the younger coworker’s hair in a meeting. My eyes bugged out of my head and I almost said something but the younger coworker moved away and changed the conversation towards work and away from her hair. I was livid. I didn’t get a chance to say anything to the senior coworker, and it bothers me to this day that I didn’t speak up.

Sadly, one of my black friends told me that she is so used to such microaggressions that she doesn’t always call them out, depending on the situation. Ever since then I try to call out any microaggressions I see.


So thankful for people like you. Sometimes one of us calling them out just doesn’t hit home the same as a fellow white person calling them out on their shit


At a work function I was in a group conversation where one Hispanic colleague was trying to describe someone and he said “you know, that guy with the Chinky eyes” and did the motion of pulling his eye lids back. One other colleague looked uncomfortable but everyone else had zero reactions to this blatantly racist comment/gesture.


Honestly this is why these things continue to happen. Don’t be too EASY on yourself! You’d be far less likely to get fired than the Asian person in the group because you’d be far less likely to be dismissed as overreacting or emotional. Do not miss the opportunity to use your privilege! It is your turn.

So, what to say? Honestly the easiest and most effective thing might just be your honest response. Say “Wait. Did I just hear what I think I heard? Did you really just say that OUT LOUD??” And then make them fucking repeat it. Believe me, it won’t take much of a nudge for the other people in the group to jump to YOUR aid once the offense has been called out. You just need to be the first person out on that dance floor.

I cannot stress this enough: you are at a far lower risk of retaliation than the POC/victim in these situations. It’s really time for you guys to pick up your end of the banner. It’s so damned heavy to carry all by ourselves.


Additional Posts

Has anyone changed from sales to marketing?

My past experience is the following:

Stryker: [medical devices company]
- 6 months: customer service intern
- 6 months: sales and marketing assistant

Rentokil: [pest control]
1 year as a sales representative

My background:
MBA with a minor in Marketing.

Do I need to take another course in order to be specialized in a specific area of marketing?

Please give me any advice!



During our daily morning standup calls at 8:30AM, we heard snoring sounds coming from one of the participants - this happened atleast thrice and the person convinced us that it was his dog sleeping away 🥰✨ so adorable


Tips for interviewing for openings - first job as a ‘real lawyer’?


Monday, Monday, so good to me/Monday mornin', it was all I hoped it would be/Oh Monday mornin', Monday mornin' couldn't guarantee/That Monday evenin' you would still be here with me.


How much is health insurance at Deloitte ? I was told by my recruiter today that I'll have an offer this week and preparing to make comp comparisons. My health insurance is covered 100% currently (I'm responsible for a 1k deductible and some copays, but no monthly pmt) and I've been there 6 years so not sure what to expect. Would be for myself and 2 kids, possibly my husband if the numbers make sense. (He already has VA)


How much client interaction are you getting?


Favorite travel steamer? Looking for something not huge


New to Fishbowl?

Download the Fishbowl app to
unlock all discussions on Fishbowl.
Download Fishbowl to see what others are saying
That was just a preview…
Sign Up to see all discussions
  • Discover what it’s like to work at companies from real professionals
  • Get candid advice from people in your field in a safe space
  • Chat and network with other professionals in your field
Sign up in seconds to unlock all discussions on Fishbowl.

Already a user?
Login here


Embed this post

Copy and paste embed code on your site


Download the Fishbowl app

For account settings, visit Fishbowl on Desktop Browser or