“I will always be the Black girl first, before Miriam Njoku. I cannot achieve my way out of being seen with prejudice. That's how they view people like me.”
In this episode, Miriam Njoku changes our lens to reveal the racism she experienced working and living in Canada and Switzerland.
Does that surprise you? These two countries are probably not the first that comes to mind when you think about racism. After all, Canada prides itself on being a haven for many refugees, and Switzerland is a neutral country that hosts the United Nations.
But Miriam, a Master’s graduate from the London School of Economics, who worked at the World Economic Forum and JP Morgan Chase, was still seen as a Black African girl first. She had to overcome significant prejudice to finally be seen as a qualified high calibre professional in banking and international development. When she finally started to be recognized just a little bit, she was told she’s not like the others. It’s as though Miriam was either too African or not African enough.
So as you listen to Miriam’s personal story, challenge yourself. What’s your immediate visceral reaction? Have you heard similar comments from business colleagues as part of normal small talk? Are you wondering, if everyday comments have no racist intent, can they still be racist?
If you do have questions, and want to discuss with like-minded people who genuinely want to understand, you’re welcome to join our free Facebook group. It’s a private online community for safe and respectful discussions about justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Contact me and find more JEDI resources at: https://www.changinglenses.ca/
Full transcript available here.
In this episode, we talk about:
[06:03] Miriam’s experience as a Black African working in Switzerland.
[10:31] How reporting racism to HR can fail the victim.
[11:27] Ways that workplace abuse can manifest (with or without intent).
[16:50] Prejudice at the intersection of racism and sexism.
[19:32] Switzerland’s dark side.
[20:57] White moms racism in Canada.
[25:13] Capitalism: a driving force for exploitation.
[29:00] Creating a safe work environment for people with trauma.
[32:18] When the oppressed try to escape racism by becoming the Model Minority.
Content warning: this episode contains references to sexual harassment, racism, and workplace discrimination which some listeners may find disturbing.
About Miriam Njoku:
Miriam is a Trauma Informed Coach, an African, a mom of three daughters, a blogger and writer. After graduating from the London School of Economics, she built her international career in the fields of banking and international development, working for organizations such as the World Economic Forum, Lombard Odier Private Bank, JP Morgan, the Mastercard Foundation and the United Nations. She now uses her passion for psychology and dedicates her time to coaching others to free themselves from the burden of childhood trauma through sharing the knowledge she acquired on her own healing journey and storytelling.
If you enjoy the podcast and want deeper ways to Change your Lens in work and business, check out the free resources on my website, changinglenses.ca. I also offer workshops and keynote speeches on JEDI topics like Decolonizing Corporate Workplaces, recruiting more inclusively, anti-Asian racism, and many more. How can I support your JEDI journey? Contact me at changinglenses.ca.
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