Black Professionals - Against All Odds

Elijah Cummings, Karla Swinton, and Z Scott discuss various workplace challenges they’ve faced as Black professionals. AGAINST ALL ODDS: The Fight for a Black Middle Class premieres on Monday, March 6th at 10PM on THIRTEEN.


ELIJAH CUMMINGS: My father, when he came home from work he would always sit in his car.

I don't care how cold it was, or how hot it was, and I said "dad, why do you do that?

Why did you just do that?"

He said "because the pain, the racism and stuff I was going through was so rough on me,

I wanted to make sure I did not come into my family angry and then take it out on them."

KARLA SWINTON: We used to call it, you wear the mask,

so you can take your mask off when you come home.

It just means that you put on a different face.

There's certain things you hear at work where if you weren't at work

you were in a different situation you might have blown up at them.

If someone said something to you that you felt could be perceived as racially offensive at work

you don't blow up. You just kind of take it in stride, you take a breath, you keep moving.

Z SCOTT: I remember my first year as a federal prosecutor.

The things that happened in the office,

people coming up to you and ask you to type.

Type, you know, type for them.

And going in the courtrooms, people assuming that you were the court clerk,

asking you when the judge is going to come on the bench

And I recall a friend of mine, we were working together, she went to court

as a government attorney. She was black and the judge said it would be great

if the government had shown up because he assumed that she was black,

that meant she was the defendant in the case.

Things like that that happened day in and day out.

And you know I think as black professionals we are all suppressing a certain amount of rage.

You know the rage from being you know, people treating as if, you, as if you're not competent.

That you don't deserve to be in the chair that you're sitting in.

And it's something that you have to manage, but it's just not healthy to live like that.

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