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It’s Not Just Confrontational, It’s Racist

Last week, a House Oversight meeting turned hostile when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who had already been disruptive to the Committee’s proceedings, insulted Rep. Jasmine Crockett. Greene questioned whether Crockett’s eyelashes were fake and proceeded to get even nastier, including with Rep. Alexandria Ocasta-Cortez. 

Immediately, the moment was framed as a confrontation between the two women, ignoring the instigator. And what was perhaps one of the most insidious moments of that meeting was Rep. James Green's decision not to remove Greene from the meeting, ruling that her antics did not violate House rules. 

Greene’s antics were not trivial. She was blatantly racist and aggressive toward Crockett, and her behavior derailed an otherwise important conversation. 

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene sits in congress with a blue dress and glasses on her head. Her head is slightly tilted to the left and her right hand is pointing outward.

The disrespect that Rep. Crockett received is the kind that Black women face every day in the workplace. Marjorie Taylor Greene is the worst kind of White woman, and women like her show up in offices and online every day to bully, belittle, and berate their Black women colleagues. 

White Women Can’t Distance Themselves From Marjorie Taylor Greene 

Many White women may dismiss women like Marjorie Taylor Green as caricatures and are unable to see the overlap in both of their behaviors. Not being a right-wing operative does not equate to being a professional who treats Black women with respect and kindness. 

Women like Marjorie Taylor Greene in the workplace use a more “nice-nasty” approach to wield their power around Black women. For White women who are committed to advancing DEI in their places of work, it’s important to see Greene not as an exception but as the standard for how White privilege operates. Sitting in the discomfort of that reality is critical for addressing the ways that Whiteness shows up in their own worlds and holding themselves and their peers accountable. 

Six white women smile at the camera while at work.

Who Will Stand Up for Black Women? 

The only White woman who spoke up during the meeting used her voice to tell Crockett to calm down. Instead of encouraging her party member to apologize, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna chose to police the behavior of a Black woman who was on the receiving end of mistreatment. And other than Ocasio-Cortez, no one else spoke up in the moment. 

Rep. Jasmine Crockett. Greene smiles and looks to the left while sitting in a Black chair in the congress chamber.

Instances like this happen daily in the workplace, where Black women are interrupted or mocked amid meetings and presentations— and it’s noticeable who does and does not sit by as White supremacy singles us out. 

Shifting a working culture from one that antagonizes Black women and expects them not to react requires real-time intervention. It’s not difficult to spot and disrupt these moments, either. It does, however, require a willingness to address and correct racially aggressive and biased behaviors as they unfold. Getting intentional in your DEI strategy with goals and values that encourage everyone to be disruptive of White supremacist culture can create an environment that is more safe for Black women. 

Research shows that White women can be the greatest bullies to Black women in the workplace and that Black women have worse job outcomes when working on Whiter teams. They frequently misuse and abuse their power and privilege in ways that harm Black women emotionally and professionally. 

Committing to a strategic DEI plan can transform your organization. Schedule a consultation with ShiftEd today! 

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