The book is also helpful for identifying scenarios in which race might be playing a role, as well as avoiding acts that can feel tokenistic or presumptuous. Anger and emotion, as well as explanation and historical context, are all here. While not quite a seminal book of the genre — there are plenty that provide a deeper and more narrative modern takes on issues that have haunted us for generations — the specific focus of Williams’ THRIVING WHILE BLACK is to serve as an explainer for the specific corporate target audience, and it deserves heavy and considered reading in that context.
As U.S. corporations have increasingly included social justice messages in their advertising campaigns, Williams’ book is an important reminder of the entrenched systems within corporate America that work against Black employees even when the business publicly states a commitment to “diversity.”
The work is well organized to build its different points and approaches, listing the micro-aggressions, stereotyping, and barrier-building that is systemic in the corporate world, and explaining it in such a way that the unaware and privileged can see it anew, and do something about it. Overall, I would highly recommend Thriving While Black as essential reading for anyone involved in or aspiring to be involved in corporate America. An eye-opening, important read.
Today, globally, African Americans in the corporate world have an extra detail on their to-do list that risks self-esteem, personal productivity, and the inalienable right to thrive. Tasked daily with surviving racial bias and its resulting inequality, bright black men and women must watch what they say, who they say it to, and, most importantly, how they say it. It is called “code-switching,” and no one is immune, not even President Barack Obama.