How do Black women experience discrimination? Do they feel safe in their communities? Why are these daily experiences important to measure? Leading up to International Women's Day, the director and associate director of the Gallup Center on Black Voices, Camille Lloyd and Whitney DuPreé, join the podcast to discuss Black women's experiences in the U.S.
Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio is posted above.
Mohamed Younis 00:00
For Gallup, I'm Mohamed Younis, and this is The Gallup Podcast. In this second part of our two-part series commemorating International Women's Day, we take a closer look at life for Black American women in 2022. Camille Lloyd and Whitney DuPreé are the executive and associate directors of the Gallup Center on Black Voices. Together, they design and lead the research Gallup has embarked on as part of its 100-year commitment to measure life outcomes for Black Americans across the United States, Camille, Whitney, welcome to the podcast!
Camille Lloyd 00:40
Thank you for having us, Mo.
Whitney DuPreé 00:42
Yes, thank you.
Mohamed Younis 00:43
The reason I wanted you all to come in, of course, you know, International Women's Day is a really big deal globally, something the United Nations got going and the whole international community around that. But one thing that tends to be not a big deal in the United States is International Women's Day. And I thought I would be remiss to have an episode on how women are experiencing life in Eastern Europe, as we did with Galina, and not bring up the topic of Black women in America. So I'm thankful that you're both here. Camille, let me just get this out of the way and ask you the question everyone asks, which is, what is it like currently, when we ask Black women in America about their experiences with discrimination? And then I really want to get into more of just everyday workplace experiences of Black women. But tell us a little bit about what you found on discrimination.
Camille Lloyd 01:37
I love that we're having this conversation, Mo. Can I just start there and just centering the experience of Black women on International Women's Day or around, you know, just to kind of acknowledge that Black women exist. We exist. We are experiencing this world, and we experience this world in a unique way differently from others, and that we don't get lumped up, because I think the experience of Black women is often times, you know, either not seen or doubted. And so I just, I love that we're having this discussion. To your question about, you know, how do we lead our lives every day and what we see in the data and do the work that we're doing at the center, which is, is something that I love that we have that ability now -- being intentional, to be able to look at it to see, especially when it comes to discrimination and, and that, we see a lot of information around, you know how Black men and, and that's because we do know that there are some egregious things that happen.
Camille Lloyd 02:39
But when we look at Black women and how we lead our lives, we see that we're just as likely -- and in some cases, when we compare to a similar-gendered women across different races -- we're more likely to also be experiencing discrimination, just going about our everyday business. I can't tell when we, when we go to, to get service somewhere, and someone really treat you with less courtesy than others. We see that in the data as well, that validates that this is part of our experience carrying out everyday experience. There are also people who find Black women intimidating. So there's somehow this narrative that only Black men are threatening. But what we see in our data, and what we hear from Black women is that Black women are having more of those experiences where people act as if they were afraid of them. Right?
Camille Lloyd 03:39
And so this idea of seeming threatening is not something that is an experience that is isolated to Black men; we are seeing in our data that Black women are also saying that in their everyday activities, they've had experiences in the last seven days where people acted as if they were afraid of them. Or people say, we see close to a quarter of Black women say in the last seven days that they, someone discriminated against them, right? So that's, that's, that's one in four. And if you think about it, that's the last seven days. So I think being able to acknowledge that in our everyday lives that we lead as Black women that we are also more likely to report having these negative experiences with discrimination and mistreatment.
Mohamed Younis 04:12
I think it's such a great point, Camille, when we even just talk about racial discrimination in the United States. I mean, I'm trained as an attorney; you're a criminologist. The first thing that comes to my mind is search and seizure, the police, getting pulled over and Black men. But we don't think a lot about women. Whitney, why was it important for you, along with Camille, to tackle this angle? Why is it important for us to really uncover the daily discrimination that Black women are experiencing versus the discrimination that's often talked about in the media, which is police, often police discrimination against Black, Black men?
Whitney DuPreé 04:51
Yeah. You know, I can't disconnect my identity of being Black and being a woman. Even if you think historically about the civil rights movement and how I feel like the Black community definitely wanted Black women to kind of put women's rights on the back burner. And then if you look at the feminist movement, it was no, no, we're not focused on that right now. We're focused on just being women, right? And so I think it's important for us to really call attention to our identity as Black women and what we're experiencing, because too often I feel like we're put in a position where we have to choose -- where we have to choose Blackness for the sake of the community. And focusing on that and protecting our families and, you know, protecting everybody that we love, or we have to choose being a feminist and, and being a part of the women's movement and advancing in, in that aspect. And so, I think having this conversation about what it looks like for us to be both is really important. And I don't think that it's, it's really happening a lot.
Camille Lloyd 05:49
Mo, one of the points that -- Whitney said it so well -- it's like you, we are the ones that are asked to sacrifice. I love the way you put it; it's like we either, you gotta put your Blackness or you have to put your, your womanhood, and somehow you're the one that's giving up or asking the sacrifice. I think about a critical point that we had in this discrimination and asking Black women about their everyday, like people acting like you're not smart enough. But when we look at the trends, we see that Black women are enrolled in college or any type of higher education institutions at a higher rate than any other group -- any other group -- but 40% of Black women say in the last seven days, people acted as if, you know, you were not smart.
Mohamed Younis 06:35
It's unbelievable, but it's not. You know, it's, it's like shocking to put a number to it, but it's, it's not shocking to anybody that has experienced it or has a mom or a sister or a spouse that's experienced it. I want to also focus on this idea of community. There's a question that we ask all over the world, and it's basically whether people want to keep living where they live or do they want to permanently move somewhere else. Camille, let's just start with the data. What did we find with Black women in America when we asked this question?
Camille Lloyd 07:09
So what we see with Black women in America -- and I don't know if you want to talk about the comparison about just feeling safe, it's about 60% of Black women saying that they feel safe walking alone at night. So let's look at the construct about safety. And, and, and I think that this is a big point of discussion for Black women and how we experience our environment. We want to be safe, and across any group, and so when you compare White men, White women, Black men, Black women are at the bottom when it comes to just kind of feeling safe in their surroundings.
Camille Lloyd 07:44
And I know when I talk to my friends and we, we talk about the things that are concerning for us, safety always comes up. And I do, I don't want to get into kind of the history of this country and whether you believe, but I think that not feeling safe is particularly traumatic and unnerving for Black women. And I'm pretty sure Whitney can talk about her experience and being somewhere where you don't feel safe and how unnerving that can be. But I think, when we think about it, we have to address that issue, right. As a country, we have to address that issue about why Black women don't feel safe in their surroundings.
Mohamed Younis 08:25
I just wanted before, Whitney chimes in, I just want to say that, so that question, we ask all over the world, and basically the rate of the Black women in the United States who say they feel safe walking alone at night in their neighborhood, which is what the question wording says, is on par with Thailand and India. So it's really fascinating to think about here's this group of people in the richest country in the world, and their data basically look like the data of women from two awesome, amazing countries, but the ones that are economically and securitywise really in a totally different place than Main Street America. Whitney, reflections on that?
Whitney DuPreé 09:10
Well, you know, Camille, are you hinting that my city isn't safe? I'm not sure what's being implied there.
Camille Lloyd 09:17
Whitney DuPreé 09:19
You know, if I just reflect on my --
Mohamed Younis 09:20
No, but you don't have a good basketball team.
Whitney DuPreé 09:23
OK. If I reflect on my own experiences, you know, I'll be honest. I think I started not feeling safe when I started puberty, to be perfect, perfectly honest with you. Right? Walking down the street as a young woman, you know, I'm asking myself, am I bringing unnecessary attention to myself, right? Am I inviting some type of harm? And then that type of narrative has only increased as I reached adulthood. And now I'm also, you know, adding on the layer of, do others feel safe around me? Even though I don't think I look particularly threatening, I will say that I have had the experience of somebody looking, seeing I was walking behind them and crossing the street, right? And so it, it is unfortunate, right? Because I'm also looking around to make sure that my, my neighborhood is safe where I'm walking. But then I also ask the question that if I were to, to need help, is there somebody around me who would come to my defense, right, who would help me? And so yeah, I, I definitely I can relate to the experience of not necessarily feeling safe walking in the neighborhood at night.
Camille Lloyd 10:34
We have a history in this country of, I don't want to say not valuing whether or not Black women, particularly, are safe. So, when you think about it, and it's mind-blowing is that the, the act of raping a Black woman did not become illegal until after the Civil War. So just think about, you know, when Whitney said, you know, whether or not I'm inviting harm on myself, there, you know, there are some historical contexts around Black women being seen as promiscuous. And that has real-life implications for the legal recourse that we have. And so, so that idea of, will someone come to my aid? Will I be seen as seen as inviting harm? are things that I think Black women are contending with and weathering. I don't want to say "navigating," because it's wearing down on us.
Camille Lloyd 11:30
So I would say that, those are things that we're weathering every day. And that's why safety is such an important thing for us when we think about our communities and whether we feel safe in our communities and whether we think that law enforcement is going to come up and show up and treat us in a particular way and protect us, right. Those things are important to us too.
Mohamed Younis 11:50
One of the -- so absolutely, can't pass that point, though, without saying that one of the things that has fascinated me the most about your guys' work is the discovery that Black Americans, actually, and even in the toughest neighborhoods across this country, want more police involvement, not less, in their community. But it's the nature of policing that becomes an issue. Every time that topic comes up, I just have to mention that because I think it's so counterintuitive to a lot of the narrative around the experience of Black communities and police. OK, moving on now, I want to talk to you all about jobs. And obviously another really critical part of living in a community, in addition to being safe, is opportunity, right, and prosperity. It's why people, if they can, choose to live where they want to live. What did we find, Camille, in terms of our research, when it comes to Black women's perceptions of just having good job opportunities in their community or even just living comfortably on their present income?
Camille Lloyd 12:55
I think when we see, what we see in the data is that Black women are least likely to say that they are satisfied with the opportunities that are existing within their communities to get a good job or that they're living comfortable on their present income. And I think that that, that is for me and, and, and whether you, regardless of socioeconomic status, I think that we see that across the board when we look at Black women in particular age groups; when we look at Black women across the different income brackets, that -- across all of the different groups, that Black women are the least likely to say that they are satisfied, in terms of the jobs that are available to them and also just the opportunities to, you know, basically lead a life where they can provide for their family comfortably.
Whitney DuPreé 13:55
You know, Camille, I'm really interested in your experience on this. Because as I think about that, that particular question, I don't think it's necessarily about us having what we need to in order to potentially just pay our own bills, right, or pay for the things that we need. If I think about myself, if I think about my friends and their network, I feel like there's this greater responsibility to also care for other members in our family, right, to also support them. And so I'm curious if that's something that you find is common for you and your friends as well.
Mohamed Younis 14:29
You notice how she just stole in there and took my job? That's OK, Whitney! Go ahead, Camille.
Camille Lloyd 14:36
I love the question because one of the things it also put me in mind of is how much, as Black women, we take on, in, in terms of solving issues, right? And I think about it just in voting. Let's just look at, you know, something around the movement to ensure that we activate our power that we have as a block and how Black women can have such meaningful impact on elections when we galvanize and we show out and we show up for the issues that are important for us. I think that it's no different when it comes to our personal lives. I think that Black women, we have to be strong mothers; we have to be exceptional at our careers.
Camille Lloyd 15:23
And I think the burden -- and I don't want to call it the burden -- but I think it is ours to weather and to bear, which is to ensure that everyone is taken care of. And I love our present, you know, consciousness around understanding that as Black women, this issue, you could be strong and also say, I'm not OK today, right? I love the consciousness that's been raised around, yes, we can do all of those things, but also take care of ourselves, right? And so, I would say it's very similar, right? It's very similar, in terms of my friend groups and, and this belief that we have to, we are the bearers of our families, our communities. So --
Mohamed Younis 16:09
You are two experts at Gallup that spend a lot of your time thinking about the workplace -- research in the workplace; how teams are operating in the workplace; employee engagement, etc. I think one of the most impactful, in a negative way, findings of your work recently is that Black women are less likely to report being treated with respect in the workplace. Let's just start with the data, Camille. Can you share with us what you all found?
Camille Lloyd 16:41
So we, we, one of the things that was, this is just over a third. So we asked all workers in our most recent jobs and work study from the Center's research about "At work, I'm treated with respect." And it's really a Yes/No question if you, if you really think about it. But what we do see is that across gender and across race and ethnicity, that about 36% of Black women were able to give that item a "5," like strongly agreeing. And if you think about it really as a Yes/No, strongly agreeing is you saying "Yes"; anything else, it's, it's a variability or variation. And so we just see that just over a third, and, and, and one of the things that we also see that that translates into is feelings of value, right? Feeling like a valued member of the team or feeling like, you know, people around you are going to be fair towards you.
Camille Lloyd 17:31
We'd like to tell our clients that respect is that foundational element for when you're starting to think about creating inclusive environment. And if you have only a third, so if you assume that then it's two-thirds of Black women who are saying "No, I'm not treated with respect." So when you're thinking about, where is your starting point for Black women in the workplace, in terms of feeling respected and feeling included and feeling valued? That's your starting point. And what's so startling, I feel like workplaces are that environment where everything comes to clash. Not just your everyday experience, where we started this conversation around discrimination and mistreatment, but it is the place where everything comes to a head, and where I feel like that idea -- I hate to say it -- the double, you know, being double minoritized, which is being Black and woman in this environment, is particularly tough.
Mohamed Younis 18:24
Whitney, what have been your reactions personally to some of the findings we've had around workplace and the experience of Black women in the workplace?
Whitney DuPreé 18:32
You know, unfortunately, I wasn't really surprised by, by seeing that data. It definitely aligned, I would say, with my experiences and just what I'm hearing, what I'm hearing from other Black women. I will say, I think though that I was maybe slightly shocked that Black women were less likely to report being treated with respect compared to Black men. But then if I reflect back on Camille's comment around being a double minority, in a sense, you know, and it's like yeah, you know what, this makes sense and it does align, you know, with what I think we're experiencing in the workplace.
Mohamed Younis 19:10
All right, on that note, that's Camille Lloyd and Whitney DuPreé. Together, they lead the Gallup Center on Black Voices. Ladies, thank you for being on the show.
Camille Lloyd 19:18
Thank you for having me.
Whitney DuPreé 19:19
Mohamed Younis 19:21
That's our show. Thank you for tuning in. To subscribe and stay up to date with our latest conversations, just search for "The Gallup Podcast" wherever you podcast. And for more key findings from Gallup News, go to news.gallup.com or follow us on twitter @gallupnews. If you have suggestions for the show, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Gallup Podcast is directed by Curtis Grubb and produced by Justin McCarthy. I'm Mohamed Younis, and this is Gallup: reporting on the will of the people since the 1930s.