Miriam Njoku: “I Can’t Achieve My Way Out of This” – Workplace Racism in…

This week’s episode is the second part of my discussion with Rosie Yeung. We talk about racism in the workplace.

This podcast episode summary comes from www.changinglenses.ca/podcast

Rosie Yeung|6/8/2021

“I will always be the Black girl first, before Miriam Njoku. I cannot achieve my way out of being seen with prejudice. That’s how they view people like me.”

In this episode, Miriam Njoku changes our lens to reveal the racism she experienced working and living in Canada and Switzerland.

Does that surprise you? These two countries are probably not the first that comes to mind when you think about racism. After all, Canada prides itself on being a haven for many refugees, and Switzerland is a neutral country that hosts the United Nations.

But Miriam, a Master’s graduate from the London School of Economics, who worked at the World Economic Forum and JP Morgan Chase, was still seen as a Black African girl first. She had to overcome significant prejudice to finally be seen as a qualified high calibre professional in banking and international development. When she finally started to be recognized just a little bit, she was told she’s not like the others. It’s as though Miriam was either too African or not African enough. 

So as you listen to Miriam’s personal story, challenge yourself. What’s your immediate visceral reaction? Have you heard similar comments from business colleagues as part of normal small talk? Are you wondering, if everyday comments have no racist intent, can they still be racist? 

If you do have questions, and want to discuss with like-minded people who genuinely want to understand, you’re welcome to join our free Facebook group. It’s a private online community for safe and respectful discussions about justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Contact me and find more JEDI resources at:  https://www.changinglenses.ca/

Full transcript available here

In this episode, we talk about:

[06:03] Miriam’s experience as a Black African working in Switzerland.

[10:31] How reporting racism to HR can fail the victim.

[11:27] Ways that workplace abuse can manifest (with or withoutintent).

[16:50] Prejudice at the intersection of racism and sexism.

[19:32] Switzerland’s dark side.

[20:57] White moms racism in Canada.

[25:13] Capitalism: a driving force for exploitation.

[29:00] Creating a safe work environment for people with trauma.

[32:18] When the oppressed try to escape racism by becoming the Model Minority.

Content warning: this episode contains references to sexual harassment, racism, and workplace discrimination which some listeners may find disturbing.

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