I recall some years ago I was doing some consulting work for a local investment broker. The VP I was working with was a black man, about my age (I’m 63 — — we would have been in our early 40s at the time) who was raised on the South Side of Chicago, which I believe most realize is not a particularly good address to come from. He had a business degree from the U of Chicago, I believe.
So, let’s put this in perspective. He would have been a child when real, “I don’t hire n****ers” discrimination was legal. His high school and college were in the 70’s, after it was made clear in the law that discrimination was illegal, but old habits die hard, of course. And like me, started his career in the 80’s. He was certainly not from today’s era, where minorities face virtually no obstacles, compared to back then.
So, one working-late evening, we were sitting around a bit prior to heading home, and I asked him if being black had made his success tangibly more difficult than if he were white.
He thought about that for a moment, and said “Well, yes, there’s obstacles and roadblocks that pop up from time to time, but nothing you can’t get around if you really want to. It’s annoying to have to deal with, but you just go through it and move on.”
I thought that was interesting, considering that his education and first job was in the 70’s and early 80’s. It may not be everyone’s experience, but it was his.