My mom made me wear my Sunday best in middle school for a Saturday morning interview at summer camp. My lilac-colored Easter dress was worn with a purple cardigan and my hair was combed and conditioned. to perfection. My. “portfolio” A blue three-ring binder (also known as a three-ring binder). where my dad kept all my report cards, perfect Attendance awards and other certificates of merit) and I answered all questions politely, as a 10-year old.

Although it was a camp, it was not for everyone. “leaders and scholars” A local private college led me (which would become my alma mater). But in sixth grade I already knew that I was being guided. to Always be Professional, punctual, and all-around great! perfect Lest I misrepresent my entire race. Twenty-five years later, and I still feel this way sometimes, so much so that I’m writing a book about my experiences aptly titled Don’t Wait for Perfect.

Last week, I was so excited to see this tweet Sam Bankman-Fried is a disgraced cofounder and former CEO at crypto exchange (and alleged Ponzi Scheme) FTX. “dirty socks slouching into his sneakers,” I couldn’t help but laugh. A Black The woman would never be able to.

The sentiment reminded me of another tweet about Twitter’s new CEO, Elon Musk, and the impostor syndrome.

Again, Black The woman would never be able to. Black women rarely get a first chance, let alone a second chance, and when we are promoted into leadership positions, it’s often without the resources we need to succeed. 

“We have to be given the same opportunities and chances as our white male counterparts across corporate America,” Kyra Kyles is the CEO of YR MediaIn a recent The Sunday Review Interview about Black women And the glass cliff. “A lot of times you’ll see serial leaders or entrepreneurs who do something, and it may not go perfectly, but they’re still allowed to fight another day, try something else, and go into a different industry. Meanwhile, if we do that, it’s painted as a failure, and it paints a negative picture for the person coming behind us.”

These white men have been featured in the news lately, or Billionaires behaving badly as Jenna Schuner calls this. Musk SBF and Peloton founder John Foley are two examples. John Foley, former CEO of Peloton, is the founder of the company. pushed out of the role in February after the company’s value plumeted from pandemic highs. Ernesta, his new rug business, was recently announced by Neumann. It raised $25 million. Then there’s Adam Neumann, the WeWork founder, who had a spectacular flame out in 2019, when the company failed to IPO. He raised $350 million this year. is More than just the funding Black In the second quarter, founders combined their capital.

And let’s not forget Elizabeth Holmes, the former founder of blood testing company Theranos, who was recently sentenced to 11.25 years in federal prison defrauding investors.

Why do you second-guess your accomplishments?

A manager once said to me earlier in my journalist career to You have the confidence of an average white man. I was in the midst of a career shift into communications, and I was curious what number that would translate to. to Mention it during salary negotiations. I didn’t understand my manager’s advice at the time, but following the 2016 presidential election it all clicked.

This was the undisputed most qualified candidate our country ever had, and she still lost to He was a loud, extremely rich, unqualified white guy. It reminded me of “The Popular”. “you have to work twice as hard to get half as much” proverb that’s passed down from generation to generation in Black There were no families involved, but this was an elite and well-connected white woman. What hope was there for me as a young woman? Black woman?

“Black women are often taught through experience and observations that it’s not enough to be ‘good.’ We often have to be excellent to even step foot in the room. And even then, Black women may still be treated as inadequate by their peers,” Dr. Lincoln Hill is a licensed clinical psychologist who founded the organization. The Center for Liberation and Wellness. “I imagine the concept of ‘working twice as hard to get half as much’ developed as a survival strategy and an acknowledgement that excellence won’t fully protect us or get us what we’ve earned. It’s dehumanizing, but it’s the reality for most of us.”

It’s a phenomenon Hill wrote about in her 2019 article for ZORA magazine Learn more about the impostor syndrome is worse for Black women. The term was first coined by Suzanne Imes and Pauline Clance, clinical psychologists. impostor syndrome is As described “the phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable, or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” However, Clance and Imes’ research largely focused on college-educated white women Who was middle to They failed to succeed in the upper classes to Take into account the gendered racialized component to It is the impostor syndrome Black women Face.

“Black women are at the intersection of gender and racial oppression. As a consequence, many successful Black women are in academic and professional environments that minimize their value and deservedness,” Hill. “It’s easy to feel like an impostor when people consistently treat you like an impostor despite your successes. Many (and certainly not all) Black women may begin to question if they are the problem, and they might try to ‘fix’ this by working twice as hard as others. In reality, the problem is a society that devalues us.”

Dr. Raquel MartinA Tennessee State University assistant professor of psychology,, has taken it one step further, replacing impostor Syndrome with the phrase “racism-related stress” As it applies to Black people.

“It makes sense to feel like an impostor in an unwelcoming environment,” Martin says it in an Instagram reel “So if I’m in a racist environment, if I’m in a sexist environment, if I’m in an oppressive environment, I guess that makes me feel like an impostor. Or, am I dealing with my reaction and my appropriate response to racism, and oppression, and sexism, and colorism, and texturism?”

Hill suggests creating support spaces and participating with others who are like-minded to counter feelings of impostor Syndrome. to Remind yourself of your intrinsic worth and value beyond external accomplishments.

“It’s important to build your critical consciousness and awareness of how oppression manifests in your life and the lives of other minoritized groups,” She says. “How do systems such as racism, capitalism, sexism, etc. impact your self-view? What have these systems taught you about your value and the value of others? How do these systems impact your thinking and self-expectations?”

Hill stated that she used to recommend keeping a record of professional accomplishments in the past. to remind themselves of all they’ve accomplished. But she’s since abandoned the practice as she feels doing so subtly reinforces the notion that our value is It is all about what we do.

“These days, I’m more focused on helping people disentangle the messages they learned about worthiness and achievement,” She says. “Are you still worthy if you’re not ambitious? Can you still find value in yourself and others without using achievements as a metric?”