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”I guess she was right; but it broke my heart that she looked down on this good, decent, honest, well-spoken, fully presentable black man—her date the night before—because he worked as an Installer for the gas company and wasn’t making the kind of money in a “white-collar” desk job that she expected, required, demanded. Why aren’t more black girls taught and raised to date, and admire—and inspire—good, decent black boys to grow up to be good, decent, responsible black men like my bond-trader colleague’s date that night? Allen West ever held up as black heroes to be emulated, instead of ridiculed and spat on as “Toms” or “Oreos”? ”Against my better judgment, I assumed that the wingman just wasn’t very good at his job and started talking to his friend anyway.We ended up hitting it off, but it wasn’t until our first date that I realized I had underestimated the wingman’s abilities.A white man must be willing to work toward a better understanding of how race and gender intersect differently for everyone, and he must also be prepared to speak out against the injustices that their partners will endure.
We’ve recently offered suggestions on how people of color can approach their white partner on the issue of race.While white men are not the only group to hold racial biases and stereotypes against black women, they tend to be the least informed on the racialized and gendered issues that black women endure.White men have the privilege of not having to actively think about their intersections of race and gender, which is starkly different from black women’s realities.We returned to the (by then) well-lubricated party, and the whole evening was a happy evening for everybody.The next day, when I talked with my 0,000-a-year bond trader from the office, I thanked her for coming to the party, and told her what a great guy her boyfriend was, and how much I enjoyed him. She explained that, although he’s a “good guy,” he wasn’t of her “class,” or at her “level,” or whatever she said.I actually had occasion to ask this of a black woman—a professional colleague of mine. I was a money market trader at the time, and she was a bond trader at Salomon Bros., the major broker-dealer.