Within the last 24 hours, politician Maxine Waters and White House correspondent April Ryan were both publicly attacked.
First, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly mocked Waters’ appearance on his show, saying, “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the James Brown wig. If we have a picture of James, it’s the same wig.”
He later apologized for the wildly disrespectful comments while claiming that he has “respect” for Congresswoman Maxine Waters and only “made a jest about her hair which was dumb.”
A short time later, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reprimanded Ryan for shaking her head while he spoke during a press conference.
Both incidents reminded Black women on Twitter of something that’s tough to forget — it’s hard as hell to be a Black women in the workplace, all of the time.
In response, Black women have begun sharing their stories about discrimination within the workplace on Twitter using the now trending hashtag #blackwomenatwork. Misourri based activist Brittany Packnett, who initiated the conversation online, told the Huffington Post that she wanted to “challenge non-Black people to stand with Black women not just when this happens on television, but in the cube right next to them.”
“I have deep an abiding respect for Congresswoman Waters and Ms. Ryan who are both trailblazers in their fields,” she continued. “They are to be respected, just like every other black woman who rises each day to contribute to this society in ways that are all-too-often taken for granted.”
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Whether it is overcoming racially motivated stereotypes, challenges with wearing our natural hair or simply being misunderstood or judged for being outspoken, smart, and often, in charge, the overwhelming responses shared used this hashtag definitely hit the nail on the head and serve as a reminder that this is still a shared experience among Black women.