"There's the Black Woman Thing, and There's the Age Thing": Professional Black Women on the Downsides of "Black Don't Crack" and Strategies for Confronting Ageism at Work
This article problematizes the concept of "Black Don't Crack" and challenges the universal desirability of youthfulness. This study is driven by two research questions: (1) How does the perceived youthfulness of professional Black workers shape their subjective experience of workplace interactions? and (2) What strategies do Black workers use to assert their expertise and legitimacy when confronted with prejudicial attitudes and interactions based on perceptions about their age? Drawing on 18 semi-structured interviews with professional Black women who are perceived as younger than they actually are, this article describes Black women's experiences with ageism and their specific strategies for combating age bias in the workplace. The focus of this study diverges from most ageism studies focused on bias against older adults. Rather, this article contributes to our understanding of how gendered racism and ageism intersect when Black women's chronological ages differ from how they are perceived.
Smith-Tran, Alicia. 2023. "'There's the Black Woman Thing, and There's the Age Thing': Professional Black Women on the Downsides of 'Black Don't Crack' and Strategies for Confronting Ageism at Work." Sociological Perspectives 66(3): 419-433.
Aging and the life course, Race, Gender, Class, Racial and ethnic minorities, Sex and gender, Organizations, Occupations, Work