Self-image is a co-constructed concept of multiple attributes. It is the perceptual reality of identity influenced by cultural norms and expectations. In the U.S. corporate sector, many women and minorities strategically (re)define their images to be more competitive or gain a sense of belonging. They seek to avoid the marginalized experience of a historically biased corporate culture that privileges Whites and males. Hence, Black women confront dual battles of gender and racial workplace discrimination. According to Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America, (Jones & Shorter-Gooden 2003), many competent Black women are stereotypically perceived as professionally inferior, an image documented in the study as an “American myth.” While some Black women casually ignore the myth, others actively challenge it. Cognitively, physically, and linguistically, Black women shift mindsets, speech, and even appearance to overcome an image of inferiority. Based on this premise, this essay analyzes shifting through the interpretive lens of organizational culture theory.
|Keywords:||Identity Negotiation, Black Women, Organizational Culture, Workplace Diversity, Shifting|
Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, Georgia, United States Virgin Islands
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