Black CEO, Who Is Married To ‘Star Wars’ Creator, Uses Being Mistaken For The Kitchen Help To Teach An Amazing Lesson (VIDEO)

20 Posted by - February 2, 2016 - Holidays And Birthdays, LATEST POSTS, Looking Black On Today

CEO Mellody Hobson was mistaken as kitchen help and takes the opportunity to use her experience to build awareness. Video by Ted talks.

In 2006, Harold Ford called his friend Mellody Hobson, to tell her that he was running for US Senate in Tennessee and that he needed some national press. Hobson, an investor, in turn called a friend at a major media organization and organized a lunch. But when Hobson and Ford arrived at the lunch, they were taken to a back room. Then they were asked: “Where are your uniforms?”

Hobson says that she and Ford still laugh about that incident, but also that “deep deep down inside, I wasn’t surprised.” Her mother was ruthlessly realistic, and had prepared her for such things. For example, after a birthday party where she was the only black person, her mother asked, “How did they treat you?”

Why did she ask that? Mellody wondered. Because, as her mother said, “They will not always treat you well.”

“Race in America makes people completely uncomfortable,” says Hobson. “Bringing it up is like the conversational equivalent of touching the third rail.” Friends had even warned her about talking about the topic here at TED, that it would make her a ‘militant black woman’ and hurt her career. But she realized, “The first step of solving any problem is not to hide from it. The first step to any form of action is awareness.”

So she decided to talk about race, and to share her experience so we could all be a little less nervous. She has heard it said that the election of Obama ended racism in our time. But she says, “I work in the investment business, and we have a saying — the numbers don’t lie.” And the numbers show clearly that there are significant disparities in household wealth, income, job opportunity, and much more. As just one example, white men are 30% of the US population, and have 70% of all corporate board seats. There are only 7 minority CEOs in the Fortune 250, and of thousands of publicly traded companies, only two are chaired by black women. “And you’re looking at one of them.”

Hobson wants to make clear, “I’m not here to complain. I’ve been treated well by people of all races more often than not. I have succeeded in my life more than my wildest expectations. I tell the uniform story because it happened. I tell the race stats because they are real.” And furthermore, those continuing problems threaten to rob future generations of their opportunities.

Read More — http://blog.ted.com/be-color-brave-not-color-blind-mellody-hobson-at-ted2014/

35 Comments

  • Laural December 26, 2015 - 1:08 pm Reply

    [“Friends had even warned her about talking about the topic here at TED, that it would make her a ‘militant black woman’ and hurt her career. But she realized, “The first step of solving any problem is not to hide from it. The first step to any form of action is awareness.”] –No one but those to which micro aggressions are aimed can honestly speak to how little or how much damage is truly done with their summation on a culture or a life. If we/they are annoying about calling people out about them, it is not hopefully to claim our victimhood, but to raise an awareness in ourselves and others in hopes that culturally accepted ignorance will diminish over time due to social and peer pressure–enough that it eventually changes that culture. In the meantime, we will break ourselves, our spirits, and our souls, against rock walls of self-congratulatory entitlement and dismissiveness until we can no longer be dismissed as militant. Because that’s how it has to work, ‘annoying’ as it may be right now.

    • tea December 27, 2015 - 8:49 pm Reply

      I really enjoyed listening to that because it was calm and NOT militant. I want to express myself without sounding bitter even though second ny second of my life im confronted with microaggressions. I sure hope that the change hapoens on my childrens life time. My God

      • $ynch July 3, 2019 - 6:26 pm Reply

        She doesn’t speak like or come across as a black militant woman at all. She’s very well spoken, highly intelligent and someone who can sit in any circle and bring something of value to the table… in sum she’s a person of substance. These are not just idle words of flattery but self evident when one hears her speak. I’ll conclude by saying she’s the kind of individual who puts me at ease in any setting –

        • Kevin Lawson July 7, 2019 - 4:24 pm Reply

          “She doesn’t speak like or come across as a black militant woman at all. She’s very well spoken, highly intelligent” You make it sound like these are mutually exclusive.

    • Adrienne June 29, 2019 - 2:18 pm Reply

      Your statements ring true, in truth…

      • Adrienne June 29, 2019 - 2:19 pm Reply

        Your statements ring true, in truth… I wrote my incorrect email address before, my reason for postng again

  • Stewart December 28, 2015 - 2:54 pm Reply

    It wasn’t necessary to mention she’s married to “Star Wars creator”. She’s amazing in her own right and the a cement of married to, is a modifier, in the title. I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere in her quotes in the article, either Nothing wrong with being married to George Lucas, but I’m not sure how it’s relevant to her being a powerful black woman CEO? and she only married him in 2013.

    • char g. June 23, 2019 - 10:32 am Reply

      I agree. She was (and is) an accomplished woman long before her marriage.

      • Ms Vee June 25, 2019 - 7:47 am Reply

        Agreed. When George Lucas is announced, do they mention that he is married to this ground breaking women?

    • Bill June 25, 2019 - 7:12 pm Reply

      Yes!!

      • LOUIS July 2, 2019 - 10:32 pm Reply

        It’s interesting that some of these comments obviously reflect microaggressions that she clearly points out as being troublesome. Rather than look for the good in the article and applauding it, some would rather pick st insignificant items like a scab that never heals.

    • Adrienne June 29, 2019 - 2:25 pm Reply

      I agree…It takes our insightful author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to remind us that sexism is as bad as racism, an appropriate example here

  • Darilyn Krupp June 23, 2019 - 8:52 pm Reply

    When things will begin to change is when a white mother, after a birthday party, says “How did you treat ALL of the other children? & Did you treat anyone differently because they looked different or were different abled than you?” And hopefully they will make it as uncomfortable when with their adult friends are acting inappropriately as people who want to shut her up instead of change their ways. It is how I raised my children & how I choose my friends as an adult.

  • Cynthia Pughsley June 23, 2019 - 9:36 pm Reply

    Thank you, I’ve been mistaken for a maid, nanny & caretaker recently. 71 year old retired computer programmer.

  • Donald E. Cole June 23, 2019 - 10:18 pm Reply

    Great TED talk, we are better when respect the differences and acknowledge that America’ strength is her diversity and values of respect of others different.

  • Andrea June 24, 2019 - 1:26 am Reply

    That was Awesome.

  • JB June 24, 2019 - 9:28 am Reply

    George Lucas should be sticking his chest out not the other way around!

  • L June 24, 2019 - 9:48 am Reply

    Mellody Hobson, CEO Ariel Investments and former chair of DreamWorks Animation, Uses Being Mistaken fo the help to teach a lesson. (There I fixed this sexist headline)

  • RJ June 24, 2019 - 11:11 am Reply

    I have to disagree with her on at least one point…Race or talking about race doesn’t make everyone uncomfortable.. Only those who are descendants of those who have oppressed and terrorized a group of people feel uncomfortable with the subject of race. History does not lie, only those that tell it…There is no way to justify not only the treatment of black people in this country but brown and yellow….The biggest difference between the three groups that I have mentioned is black people have been treated the worst and for the longest duration….It will be hard for black folks and rightly so to ever trust and respect the person who has oppressed and continues to brutalize him/her for so many centuries…And the oppressor knows this and believes that what all has been done, slavery, Jim Crow, disenfranchised And not allowed to vote, segregation, lynchings, rape, denied jobs, breaking up the black family, an unjust judicial separate and unequal system and the list goes on…How can one Honestly say that those fences can be mended and he /she knows this 😐

  • Morris Engram June 24, 2019 - 3:28 pm Reply

    Thank you for the info on surviving money and the isums!

    • Mel Brown July 4, 2019 - 5:09 pm Reply

      Sir, or Madam

      You may want to widen your resources on history. Blacks don’t want any hand-outs, hands-up, “sympathy,” pity or “guilt” (self-imposed or otherwise); however, a level playing field would be most welcome. Sir, if I may, I would suggest a few books, that might fill in the gaps: “The Lies My Teacher Told Me,” “The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.,” “They Came Before Columbus,” “Christopher Columbus and the African Holocaust,” “The Hanging of Angélique.” I could go on, but I’d rather hear from you if you ever read something other than the mainstream conditioning propaganda, before I do.

  • Morris Engram June 24, 2019 - 3:30 pm Reply

    Thank you for the info on surviving money and the isums! May l repeat’

  • Morris Engram June 24, 2019 - 3:31 pm Reply

    Thank you for the Surviving insight!

  • Khalid June 24, 2019 - 10:37 pm Reply

    We need to be more militant. And, what about the poor and working-class Black people? Rich, wealthy Black folks can afford to be non-militant and reasonable. They have financial resources and networks to advance their interest.

  • Billy June 25, 2019 - 11:17 am Reply

    Poor white people are treated terribly as well. I bought tickets for two friends of mine to go see a dueling piano show. They didn’t enjoy it, because of the way they were treated.

  • Deborah Lagutaris June 26, 2019 - 12:05 am Reply

    Billy. I feel bad that your friends were not treated well. Nevertheless, because they were white, they could gone under the radar by dressing or behaving or speaking differently. Whereas skin color is indelible, not removable, and always a factor in their treatment. This is why the 13th Amendment forbids discrimination against those marked by the “badges and incidents of slavery.”

  • Bobby Hol June 26, 2019 - 8:39 am Reply

    Obviously, she is limited to her country and her poor knowledge of world’s history. I had been mistaken for a staff member on official events because of being tall white, formally dressed and well manned. Her issue with black-skinned people and their treatment is related to the USA. In my country and the whole region of the world, there had never been black people or at least not as slaves. In opposite, for more than 5 centuries the brown and black people of Islam conquered and treated far superior civilization as a source of white slaves with sadism beyond imagination. I am sick of the so-called white guilt imposed on people absolutely unrelated to any of the US slave trade events. For my and the neighboring “white” countries, it is like to blame the victims to pay for their own suffering. Is it really so difficult to understand this? There are people blaming let’s say Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and etc. for slave trading?! The “N” word is the word for a black-skinned person but IT IS NOT loaded. It has no meaning in our languages different than describing a person with definite skin color. Saying you, “white people” this and that is an insult and proof of imbecility.

    PS: during my late teen years, we had one mixed marriage boy in our school. It was the first child with dark skin we met so there were fights who to befriend him and who to invite him to his/her BD 🙂
    PS: and Why TF is this twice for a day in my newsfeed?

    • Nadine June 27, 2019 - 9:40 pm Reply

      Well, you are limited to your country and your poor knowledge of American history. When black people talk about white people it is not all of the white people in the world just as the term black people does not refer to all of the people in the world with brown skin. The Europeans, who acted in the slave trade of Africans and those who came after and called black people all of the different names they are called, decided that they themselves were white. In the Americas and more specifically the United States for legal and social purposes it became necessary to the distinguish the two races. A person was white or black or colored. The “N” word has always been derogatory. Even if it weren’t it is now. It is not descriptive as black people do not actually have black skin but unlike a Polish person they no longer have roots to a specific group of people. Just as the white Americans who may no longer have connections to their ancestors who came to America are just white. If your people weren’t involved, no one is even thinking of you. But when you come to America, know that you will enjoy the spoils of the suffering of African American slaves and other people of color who were tortured, killed and taken advantage of to make this country what it is. Maybe it is in your newsfeed because you need to learn how to be a better human.

      • Adrienne June 29, 2019 - 3:01 pm Reply

        Your perspective is quite valid and it mirros mine…Thank you…

        • Sturge July 3, 2019 - 12:13 pm Reply

          He just heard the truth

    • Mel Brown July 4, 2019 - 5:11 pm Reply

      Sir, or Madam

      You may want to widen your resources on history. Blacks don’t want any hand-outs, hands-up, “sympathy,” pity or “guilt” (self-imposed or otherwise); however, a level playing field would be most welcome. Sir, if I may, I would suggest a few books, that might fill in the gaps: “The Lies My Teacher Told Me,” “The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.,” “They Came Before Columbus,” “Christopher Columbus and the African Holocaust,” “The Hanging of Angélique.” I could go on, but I’d rather hear from you if you ever read something other than the mainstream conditioning propaganda, before I do.

  • Marycatherine Taylor June 26, 2019 - 2:04 pm Reply

    This was awesome! As an African American woman in the government I completely understand what she means.

  • Alvin June 26, 2019 - 11:42 pm Reply

    White América has been socialized to mistreat people of color and so knows it so she created a buffer of safety in her own life by getting married to a powerful white man. The Force is truly with her.

  • Dawn July 3, 2019 - 3:05 am Reply

    I live this daily! Recently I had to point out to my leadership and all white male team, how scary it is for me to come into work every day and be inadvertently made the spokesperson for all minority women and/or people simply because no one else in 98% of my meetings looks like me. When I did, the silence was deafening and the stunned looks on their faces spoke to decades, if not centuries, of ignorance to how the “other side; may feel. It was at that moment that I knew I had to let them know that my reason for speaking up, was not to make them pity me or be uncomfortable, but definitely to make them aware. Aware of how non-white counterparts, specifically women, may feel in tge environment we work within.
    In my professional existence, there’s no room for error, showing signs of weakness, or showing myself as assertive. From day one, my white female counterparts seem to have a daily mission to point out and/or put ANY mistake or oversight of mine on full blast, and the white males are equally ready to point out my missteps or even worse, they ignore my voice as one of legitimacy. I LOVE the work I do, and I even accept each strughle and challenge that my line of work inherently brings; however, the walking the fine line of being a mixed race of Black & Hispanic Professional is absolutely the most stressful part of my job. I often wonder if that will cease to be the case during my career, or will I retire with it being the status quo?

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