You Don't Look Like a Lawyer
Black Women and Systemic Gendered Racism
by Tsedale M. Melaku
Pub Date 18 Apr 2019
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You Don't Look Like a Lawyer: Black Women and Systemic Gendered Racism highlights how race and gender create barriers to recruitment, professional development, and advancement to partnership for black women in elite corporate law firms. Utilizing narratives of black female lawyers, this book offers a blend of accessible theory to benefit any reader willing to learn about the underlying challenges that lead to their high attrition rates. Drawing from narratives of black female lawyers, their experiences center around gendered racism and are embedded within institutional practices at the hands of predominantly white men. In particular, the book covers topics such as appearance, white narratives of affirmative action, differences and similarities with white women and black men, exclusion from social and professional networking opportunities and lack of mentors, sponsors and substantive training. This book highlights the often-hidden mechanisms elite law firms utilize to perpetuate and maintain a dominant white male system. Weaving the narratives with a critical race analysis and accessible writing, the reader is exposed to this exclusive elite environment, demonstrating the rawness and reality of black women’s experiences in white spaces. Finally, we get to hear the voices of black female lawyers as they tell their stories and perspectives on working in a highly competitive, racialized and gendered environment, and the impact it has on their advancement and beyond.