Durr, Marlese, and Adia M. Harvey Wingfield. “Keep Your ‘N’ in Check: African American Women and the Interactive Effects of Etiquette and Emotional Labor.” Critical Sociology, vol. 37, no. 5, Sept. 2011, pp. 557–71.
“Very rarely you see me expressing my true feelings, and when I do, my reaction tells me it scares the hell out of [my white colleagues]”.
–Janice, Assistant Dean at a liberal arts college
Wingfield continues her inquiry on racialized workplaces and black employee’s emotion labor, this time in collaboration with Marlese Durr. Together, they examine black' women’s careful performances in corporate environments and the effect these performances have in their career advancement. Their study opens with a vignette about Michelle Obama’s efforts to distance herself from stereotypes of the “angry black woman” who lacks femininity and worth. The authors incorporate insights from observations and interviews to further illustrate how female black professionals have to systematically “alter their behavior by changing their look, conversation content, and style to fit in, but also to be promoted” (Jones and Shorter-Gooden in Durr and Wingfield, emphasis mine). Durr and Wingfield refer to these behavior alterations as performances that black women resort to as safety mechanisms that ensure mobility and financial stability.
Read some of Adia Harvey Wingfield's open access work on race and emotion management in the workplace here.