A recent 61-page study published by the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business shines a dire light for black women trying to move up the corporate ladder.
As it stands, there are currently zero black women serving as CEOs on the list of Fortune 500 companies and bias is definitely at play. The last one, Ursula Burns, left her post at Xerox in 2016.
The study pinpoints something many black women in corporate America have either experienced firsthand or witnessed from others: a negative shift in attitudes from white men working under a Black CEO.
That’s right. In addition to being passed over for promotions, black women are dealing with bias at even the highest of career levels.
The study concludes that instead of embracing change and working together to move the company in a positive direction, white males are actually less likely to want to help out.
Author Jim Westphal calls the behavior, “unfortunate.” Teaming up with two other scholars, the trio determined from a review of 1,000 top executives at big U.S. companies that “white males experienced a lower sense of identity with their company after the appointment of a female or racial minority CEO.”
Basically, white men get sad when the portrait of power doesn’t look like them.
This is the part where it gets really depressing: Their reluctance to get with the program can negatively affect other minorities poised for positions of power.
“Our study identifies an important mechanism by which such appointments may, counterintuitively, harm the career prospects of other female and racial minority managers by reducing the amount of help that they receive from their white male colleagues,” Westphal said.
Sigh. The wheels of racism and patriarchy are working overtime.
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