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The ‘Problem’ Woman of Color in the Workplace” Diagram provides a comprehensive visual representation of the journey, starting from the diversity hire and honeymoon phase to ending with the exit from the organization.

The “Pet to Threat” phenomenon feeds into the perpetuation of the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype.

The “Pet to Threat” phenomenon is a term coined by Dr. Kecia M. Thomas, a professor at the University of Georgia to describe the experience of Black women in the workplace who face this pattern transformation.

The “Pet to Threat” phenomenon is deeply intertwined with the Angry Black Woman stereotype. 

Society often expects Black women to fit into a narrow box of pleasantness, and allow our boundaries to be trifled with to maintain a non-threatening facade of agreeability. When we do express frustration or assert ourselves, we are expeditiously labeled as aggressive or “angry,” perpetuating the harmful stereotype.

At this point, the Honeymoon is over, Honey.

Have you experienced this? Check out the latest episode of the Bougie Black Therapist Podcast for valuable insights, personal stories, and expert advice as we challenge and debunk these destructive caricaturizations.

Our goal is to empower listeners to dismantle these stereotypes, observe, and pivot accordingly.

Don’t miss this enlightening episode!

Check out Issue 9 of Bougie Boundaries Magazine for more insight on the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype and tips for combatting the effects of the “Pet to Threat” phenomenon!

Let’s come together, educate ourselves, reframe how we respond to these stereotypes, and create spaces where our authenticity and diversity are celebrated.


References

Branch, Breann Lajune (Norwood). “African American Female Millennials’ Sense of Self in Higher Education Support Roles.” University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Foster, Sarah. “Why Are Women Not Making It to the Top?” Aon Insights: Human Capital Solutions, 18 Sept. 2017, insights.humancapital.aon.com/blog-posts/why-are-women-not-making-it-to-the-top.

Kramen, Bonnie. “Shining a Light on Black Assistants: It’s Not Black & White.” 1 Feb. 2021, bonnielowkramen.com/2021/02/01/shining-a-light-on-black-assistants-its-not-black-white.

Page, Kira. “The ‘Problem’ Woman of Colour in NonProfit Organizations.” COCo Highlight, Front Page, ToolBox, ToolBox Document, 8 Mar. 2018, coco-net.org/problem-woman-colour-nonprofit-organizations/.

Stallings, Erika. “When Black Women Go From Office Pet to Office Threat.” ZORA, 16 Jan. 2020, zora.medium.com/when-black-women-go-from-office-pet-to-office-threat-83bde710332e.

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