Advertisement

“You Can Show a Person Better Than You Can Tell ‘em”: Black Tradeswomen Mitigate Racial and Gender Microaggressions in Construction

  • Roberta Hunte
Chapter

Abstract

Women make up just under three percent of the US construction workforce and of that statistic, Black women comprise a mere 0.4 percent. This chapter is based on in-depth interviews with Black tradeswomen from different parts of the United States with a focus on understanding how they navigated the realities of racism and sexism in the building trades. Women share their experiences of gender and racial microaggressions encountered during their apprenticeships, the official technical training path for construction, progressing as journey-level workers, and promotion. Women outline the nuanced crisis points in their apprenticeships where combined microaggressions from peers, management, and/or industry have impacted their careers in small and major ways. They also share some strategies they have used to address microaggressions at the interpersonal level. Their strategies offer some recommendations for industry, foremen, and apprenticeship centers to interrupt microaggressions at the level of peers, and management.

References

  1. Collins, P. (1989). The social construction of black feminist thought. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 14(4), 745–773.Google Scholar
  2. Crenshaw, K. (1989). Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex. In Scratching the Surface: Democracy, Traditions, Gender (Vol. 20). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  3. Eisenberg, S. (1998). We’ll Call You if We Need You: Experiences of Women Working Construction. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press.Google Scholar
  4. Hughes, D., & Dodge, M. (1997). African American women in the workplace: The relationships between job conditions, racial bias at work, and perceived job quality. American Journal of Community Psychology, 25(5), 581–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hunte, R., & Senehi, J. (2012). “My Walk Has Never Been Average”: Black Tradeswomen Negotiating Intersections of Race and Gender in Long-Term Careers in the U.S. Building Trades. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.Google Scholar
  6. Jones, C., & Shorter-Gooden, K. (2003). Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America. New York: Perrenial.Google Scholar
  7. Moccio, F. (2009). Live Wire Women and Brotherhood in the Electrical Industry. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  8. National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) calculations using Miriam King et al., Integrated Public Use Microdata Series, Current Population Survey 2013: Version 3.0, IPUMS-CPS: Minnesota Population Center (March 2013), available at http://cps.ipums.org/cps/index.shtml (Machine readable data).
  9. Sue, D. W. (2010). Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Race, Gender and Sexual Orientation. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  10. Woods, J. (2010). The black male privileges checklist. In M. Kimmel & A. Ferber (Eds.), Privilege: A Reader (2nd ed., pp. 27–38). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta Hunte
    • 1
  1. 1.Child, Youth, and Family StudiesPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

Personalised recommendations