ABSTRACT

All women of color function in the workplace against the backdrop of a raceconscious society. Kumea Shorter-Gooden (professor and clinical psychologist) and Charisse Jones (then USA Today news correspondent) conducted an exhaustive qualitative study designed to explore the impact of racism and sexism in the lives of Black women in America. Through a series of open-ended survey questions and in-depth interviews, the authors discovered several persistent themes about the treatment of women in their daily lives. The data sheds light on women at work and at play as they recount experiences based in myths and stereotypes perpetuated upon us in large part owing to our historical roots as lessor beings in this country. Their results are published in a provocative book entitled Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America. This gripping project speaks to the type of dual existence experienced by many women of color who struggle to be relevant in their communities and in their professional lives, and provides yet another confirmation for qualitative studies that seek to understand the salience of race and gender for women in the workplace (2003). My own experiences after transitioning twenty-plus years ago from graduate school to the academy, reflected upon through the lived experiences of those I’ve recently mentored, have left me with unshakeable impressions about the academic life for women of color.