BIPOC women entrepreneurs have always been marginalized. The first oppressive reality is systemic racism and how it has impacted the BIPOC standing for hundreds of years. In fact, systematic racism is when institutions, such as governments discriminate against people of color. Corporations, schools, and banks discriminate against people of color too.
The Problem with Feminism
The second oppressor is feminism. Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies, and social movements that share a common goal: defining and achieving equal political, economic, cultural, and personal rights for women.
Above all else, when feminism isn’t intersectional, that’s where damage transpires. Intersectional feminism is a term used to describe the notion that there can be no single feminist movement. This is impossible! Women experience oppression in varying ways due to their race, class, sexual orientation, etc.
In 2022, feminist movements and ideas must become inclusive and consider these differences effective.
Spiritual Bypassing as Emotional Violence
The third oppressor is people’s unwillingness to see marginalization. The law of attraction is a naive belief taught widely by the growing spiritual coaching industry, a $20 billion-dollar industry in 2022. This gist is that people create their reality. The first LOA belief is that colonized and enslaved people attracted colonization and enslavement. They did this through their negative thoughts. The second LOA belief is that colonizers and slave traders thought positively. They thought positively about what they wanted and therefore “won.”
Disgusting, right? To sum up, the law of attraction and spiritual bypassing are interconnected and, therefore, doubly brutal against BIPOC people.
Spiritual bypassing is a term used to describe how some people use spirituality to avoid dealing with difficult emotions and problems in their lives. They use it to avoid seeing other people’s distress. Bypassing can involve meditation, prayer, or other spiritual practices to avoid dealing with pain, fear, and other distasteful feelings. Ignoring is dangerous. Doing so prevents privileged people from advocating for their BIPOC neighbors.
BIPOC Women and Toxic Resilience
The fourth oppressor is toxic resilience. Toxic resilience is a type of resilience fueled by anger and bitterness. It is often the result of experiencing racism, sexism, or other forms of discrimination and oppression. Toxic resilience is harmful because it leads to bottling up negative emotions. This includes emotions like bitterness and anger, which are destructive and counterproductive.
I see toxic resilience in two parts. First, it’s helpful temporarily for survival mode but only when you can decompress afterward. You can let that shit go. Second, long-term toxic resilience is akin to self-harm. We believe it gives us the strength to overcome challenging obstacles and achieve our goals.
However, why should we? Furthermore, why should we take in the poison? Why should others live in ignorant bliss, aka white privilege?
White privilege is a term that refers to an advantage that white people have that others do not have. The power of being in this position and having these privileges leads many people with privilege to believe life is easy for everyone. They think some laws apply to others. Those with white privilege (and don’t realize it) lack empathy. Empathy is the heart of humanity. Without acknowledgment and humanity, where does that leave our society?
What can BIPOC Women do?
As BIPOC women, we know better than to wait. We can’t wait for the world to change to become equitable and empathetic. We carve our path.
There’s power in this. As a first-generation Filipina American, I value my parent’s courageousness coming across the globe with only one suitcase in hand. We’re resilient, creative, innovative, and fucking brave. We do what it takes.
However, beware of toxic resilience. Too many of us are having health issues at an early age. We struggle with stress, anxiety, depression, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity. How unfair is this? We have to work 10x as hard to get paid .80 on the dollar compared to our co-workers.
Stop Chasing the American Capitalist Dream
Capitalism benefits immensely from white supremacy and patriarchy, which maintains and intensifies the oppression of all those who are not white males. It perpetuates all other oppressive structures while rewarding those already privileged.
Capitalism harms BIPOC people. It materially benefits those who are white & materially marginalizes those who are not white.
It reinforces ableism through various neglect of disabled people’s needs. Capitalism renders them as consumers/inhabitants rather than valued members of society.
Capitalism also harms Queer people, denies the existence of LGBTIQ+ people, and encourages violence against them.
As a business coach, I’ve observed that the capitalist mentality demands that we increase sales and boost revenue. That’s fine and good. But, there’s another side to the story ~ profitability. Do you want to know how to beat capitalism? Get scrappy. Learn how to dissect your financials and find opportunities to make and save money. That’s how I help my clients.
Blaze our Trail
The first way that BIPOC women can succeed without killing themselves is to let go of toxic resilience.
Our resilience got us to this point. But at what cost? What health issues are you dealing with? I can honestly say that my adrenal crash was no fun. It was the most frightening experience in my life. The most horrifying thing was losing control of my vision, balance, hearing, touch, appetite, sleep, sense of direction, and rationalism.
Challenge & Redefine Stereotypes
BIPOC women have to be twice as good as everyone else to succeed.
Yes. But let’s define this more. Does good mean dress, manner of speaking, work output? Sure. But let’s uplevel what to be twice as good at.
Most importantly, be twice as good when it comes to knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Focus on networking, building relationships, and asking for help. Collaborate more. Mastermind. I Don’t think you need to carry it all on your shoulders. Most of all, stop taking pride in doing it all yourself. Build a team that helps you and that you feel great helping back.
BIPOC women are used to overcoming obstacles and dealing with adversity.
Overcome obstacles and deal with adversity in the face of capitalism. Capitalism wants you to operate in an individualistic culture. No. There is more power in numbers. In fact, start adapting to an eastern philosophy when it comes to working. Anytime you have a boss or culture that says only western thought is the way to succeed, immediately rebel. Don’t second guess yourself. Prioritize self-knowledge, build relationships, and collaborate.
BIPOC women are natural problem-solvers.
Late-night solo brainstorm sessions are bad for your health, mind, and creativity. Besides, you can get so much more accomplished by hosting a mastermind. A mastermind is a group of 5-6 individuals who come together to solve a challenge. Collectively solving problems with others builds each person’s creativity. Each person benefits too. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In addition, most people love helping when you give them a chance.
BIPOC women are survivors, and they know how to hustle.
Build your network and your relationships. To hustle alone is an uphill battle. Utilize your network. To sum up, help one another create opportunities.
We’ve seen the “Boy’s Club” operate in partnership for decades. Why not create your Crew, Community, or Team?
Please, not “tribe.” That’s a term popularized by spiritual woman coaches, and it isn’t very kind for those of us whose ancestors were colonized or enslaved.
First, BIPOC women entrepreneurs face extraordinary obstacles. The westernized capitalistic culture is stacked against us. I say, let’s not play that game anymore. Let’s redefine business our way. We should be twice as good at self-knowledge, relationship building, and collaboration. We need to let go of toxic resilience and our prideful “I can do it by myself” mentality.
Second, BIPOC women need to stop competing against one another. We aren’t rivals. Instead, our collective adversary is white male, western capitalism. Finally, we can’t truly succeed until we work together.
If you’re a BIPOC Woman and Small Business Owner, I invite you to apply for a free consultation with me. With my 25+ years of business experience, I’d love to help your company succeed.
Janet Johnson is a small business advisor and author of My Money Pivot: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Finding & Making More Money and this educational blog. All views expressed belong solely to Ms. Johnson and do not represent the views of her employer.