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Experience vs. Audacity

Black woman smiling and holding books

Experience vs. Audacity

When then-Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris said, “I’m speaking” to then-VP Mike Pence, I felt that with my soul. Perhaps some of you did as well. 

You know the feeling: You’re speaking from a place of experience, then someone’s audacity leads them to interrupt you … as if you don’t matter. As if your knowledge comes secondary to their perceptions and assumptions about the value you possess. 

As I continue to explore feminist theories, especially Black feminist thought in my doctoral program, I am reminded of several incidences where I succumbed to the expectation that I was to sit down and shut up. 

Throughout my career, I have been among the highest educated with a proven track record of success. I have also been the sole Black woman for the bulk of my professional life. This brings with it a host of challenges mainly in the form of microaggressions. These subtle forms of racism and sexism were traumatizing and still affect me today. I internalized people’s expectations of how both Black people and women are expected to “perform” – silently and without emotion. 

I am not invisible and refuse to take that type of treatment. I wish I would have known then what I know now. This recent article in the New York Times shows that this problem is still very present. 

However, as long as we keep using our voices, we will not and cannot be silenced. 

We are speaking. Listen up. 

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