Many Black women felt relieved to work from home, free from microaggressions. Now they’re told to come back.
Last year also brought a lot of emotional trauma for Black employees. In May 2020, 28-year-old project specialist Funke Adeniji had been working at home in Silver Spring, Md., for two months. The office hadn’t been her favorite place — as a Black woman, she felt she was expected to be friendly to everyone, look presentable and field inappropriate personal questions. But she didn’t absorb the extent of her freedom until George Floyd’s murder that month. In the ensuing days, weeks, months, she could take a moment to herself between meetings, turn off her camera when she got overwhelmed, ignore texts from colleagues asking her to educate them about race. She didn’t have to pretend to be the happy Black woman. She just got to breathe and be.