Today, inauguration day of the 45th president of the United States of America. Today, my communal and sisterly act of resistance and self-preservation is to continue posting images and narratives of us, Black girls and womyn. Today, I introduce you to guest bloomer, Nezabelle, a Black-tech-sistah. She’s been holding it down in the white and male dominated field of technology. How does Nezabelle protect her Black Girl Magic?
It’s simple. I remain true to myself. I don’t compromise my culture or family roots for the sake of someone else’s comfort. I try to be conscientious of seeking validation. Finally, I don’t jeopardize who I am and whose I am, just to get noticed or become successful.
Working in predominately white spaces for the last 20 years, there have been times that my magic has been tried and tested. As I’ve grown older, I’ve become aware of premature signs. There are times I’ve been introduced to opportunities that look good, but weren’t necessarily good for me. I’ve taken promotions that didn’t have my integrity and character at the heart of the opportunity.
I used to brush off racial micro-aggressions and tongue-in-cheek compliments. Most of all, I got so sick of being the token ‘Black girl’ in the IT department. I’ve had to discern what it means to be a Black girl in TECHNOLOGY vs. what it MEANS to be a Black girl working in Technology. Some days, it feels like an honor—other days, it feels like a heavy weight, which I’m no longer interested in carrying.
These days—as I approach 40 and regardless if has anything to do with me directly—I call out ignorance, prejudice, and racism right away. I don’t shrug anything off. I waste no time. I document everything. I contact HR. I proactively research and evaluate my rights.
As it relates to salary, I’m cognizant of how much I’m making vs. those I’m working with. I’m observant, chiming into what my employers and coworkers stand for and if they have different values and priorities. I point out injustices and ignorance when the opportunities arise, and I do it so eloquently. I demand equal pay, raises and bonuses. I am proud of who I am, and I don’t apologize for any of it. This is how I protect my magic.
Nezabelle is a technology professional, writer, teacher and entrepreneur. She grew up on Chicago’s south side and has worked in IT for the past 14 years, including teaching STEM classes to girls at the YWCA. Currently, Nezabelle is working diligently on building her own business—providing social media consulting to small businesses and artists, and helping them grow their online communities. In her free time, she enjoys brunch, traveling, spending time with family, friends and attending her teenage son’s basketball games. Follow Nezabelle on her blog https://nezabelle.wordpress.com/