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What Do White Men Think of Black Women?

Ask the White Guy Luke Visconti

Question:
Do all white men think all Black women are hoochie mama, welfare, child bearing, uneducated b******?

Answer:
No, I don’t think all white men feel that way about Black women. However, media images and the lack of interracial socializing have led to a situation where the distinct minority of white men can say that they truly know a Black woman. Even fewer can say with conviction that they trust a Black woman in either a business or personal relationship.

My friend, former Rutgers Business School Professor Dr. dt ogilvie, co-authored a phenomenal paper about African American Women Executives (AAWE). Her paper documents how AAWE leadership traits are very different from white women’s. They’re actually similar to white male leadership traits. This creates a conflict with many white men, especially those from my generation (age 47) or older. It comes from a mix of racial AND gender stereotyping. You’ll hear that expressed in terms like “You’re so articulate” or “Can you believe that this ‘little lady’ can do (insert normal business function here).”

Ignorance and confusion are hardly conducive to a good relationship. The good news is that there are a growing number of white men who know, trust and rely on their black women colleagues. By the way: If you are unsure of what a “hoochie mama” is, I recommend www.urbandictionary.com. It is a useful tool, especially for white men.

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

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10 Comments

  • grannybunny

    In my opinion, the question is flawed, in that it is, basically, asking whether White men — stereotyping them based on their color and gender — hold certain stereotypes about Black women. Any answer addressing the question as written is doomed to be equally flawed. Under the circumstances, Luke did about as good a job as possible.

    • Luke Visconti

      Thank you. I’m almost positive the question was a joke; I answered it as if it were a serious question. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • Donna Howlett

    Is there ever going to be a time when I am recognized for what I do and not for the color of my skin or my gender. Is there ever a point when someone will say that I am an executive, period, end of story. The fact that I’m a woman or even a woman of color should not make a difference.

    • I expect that to happen when I’m old and gray (i’m in my 30s now) and am too tired to care anymore.

  • Mergie Allen

    I never thought about white Africians beign black or American African. I only thought of American Africians as being born Black in American. Do we learn something new for debate every day. I suppose when you thing about it, they are black America wehn they come to America. I’ll bet that is a stigmathat they have to live that one down.

  • I met a black lady on line 2 years ago. We were married 6 months ago. She moved from the Seattle Wa. area to my area a town of 3,000 people. She is a queen my family members love her as well as my friends. We are both senior citizens and are living our retirements having a good time. I just wished we met several years ago. But things happen for a reason.

  • Craig L. Perkins, Sr.

    All women fight an uphill battle in the workplace especially black women. Black women are strong and powerful in general, because of life’s challenges and when they make it to the coporate level, there is nothing they haven’t seen or can’t handle. So, it is understandable why a white man is afraid of a black woman at that level, because all they know is what the media portrays so they really don’t know the “black woman” personally or professionally, therefore they are left with assumptions and media stereotypes. There is way more substance to a black woman whether she is a CEO or works the Drive-Thru at McDonalds.

    • Luke Visconti

      In my experience as a trustee of Bennett College for nine years, working with many Black women executives in corporate America and having several Black women reporting to me, I have come to learn what you already knew. In my opinion, there is no demographic in our nation with more strength of character than Black women. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • Steve Izzy

    Luke, I occasionally read the columns you have on this website, and this one struck a nerve. I’m a white guy, and I’ve had several black women working for me in the past, of which one of my best machine operators was a black woman. I enjoyed working with her and gave her the best evaluations and pay increases available, since she put all of the white/hispanic men and women to shame. She had kids to feed and take care of, and I respected her more than ever for that. I also had a black man, who worked there for over 30 years, and one of the white operators made a comment about his intelligence, so I told him that he may not talk as well as you, but he has a job and you don’t. You’re Fired!

    • In reading, it behooves me to find that as a child, being called names and I learned to fight back. As an adult I am taken off guard as to the inference to such which seems to be the times to subject another to downgrading them because of difference that hinges on their race. Most educated people no matter what race or climate they come from are able to carry well across communication channels a openness that shows no prejudice in refinement. I see intercultural competence is something new that needs to be adopted into the management planning of all businesses in every part of America more so. Race or color has always been a separated value wage. This is why online learning brings more substance to writing rather than a face. Even when we provide a bio-of who, we learn the beginnings of what another hopes for and offers instrumentally.

      I have never been a racist, but I have learned my prejudices built through the confines of those who give no value to difference of race, religion, culture, or any driver for success!

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