Success doesn’t stop racism and bigotry.
Just ask any successful black person or person of color.
Businesswoman Melanie Hobson (also the wife of George Lucas) could attest to this.
She was working with former congressman Harold Ford when they both were assumed to be the help.
Ford asked Hobson to work with him on his press coverage for an upcoming election eight years ago.
The two were meeting up with a New York media company when the receptionist asked, “where are your uniforms?”
Both accomplished professionals were mistaken for the kitchen help. Being black overrode being dressed in business attire.
“In many ways the moment caught me off guard,” Hobson explained during a TED Talk, “but deep, deep down inside, I actually wasn’t surprised.”
She continued to talk about race in the workplace.
“Imagine if I walked you into a room and it was of a major corporation like Exxon Mobil, and every single person around the boardroom were black. You would think that was weird,” she said. “But if I walked you into a Fortune 500 company and everyone around the table was a white male, when will it be that we think that’s weird too?”
Hobson is one of two black female chairs within two of the thousands of companies that are currently publicly traded on the market
She expressed the urgent need for diversity in corporate America. Therefore, maybe somewhere down the line black professionals and other minority professionals won’t be mistaken as the help… although in business attire.
“We cannot afford to be color blind,” she said. “We have to be color brave… Not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing to do.”