Women Of Color Sound Off On The Ban Bossy Campaign

HOST INTRO: Can name-calling prevent you from following your dreams? According to Sheryl Sandberg,the COO of Facebook it can. Last week the ban bossy campaign was launched. The campaign states that girls are less likely to become leaders because they are afraid of being called bossy. With this statement came controversy. Asabe Vincent Otiono reports on why some black women don’t agree.

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The ban bossy campaign was launched with it a star studded cast. Beyoncé, Jane Lynch and Condoleezza Rice were amongst the women to be featured in the ad.

ACT 1 Bossy. When I was growing up I was called bossy I think the word bossy is just a squasher. Being labeled something matters. By middle school girls are less interested in leadership roles than boys. And that’s because they worry about being called bossy. Let’s just ban the word bossy.

African American women are often called loud, bossy and feisty. This campaign should be a blessing. But not for Nagawa Kakumba . A former director of innovation at Walgreens, she refers to her department as an old boys network. Not just men but White men. She didn’t have time to think about what people said behind her back, Infact she embraced it.

KAKUMBA- IT’S NOT A NOTION THAT I SPEND TIME THINKING OF. AM I BOSSY OR NOT. OR FOUND TIME TO BE OFFENDED BY IT OR NOT.

Kakumba was the one of the few girls of color in her hometown of Albany. She was often told to simmer down. But that all changed when she went to a Historically Black College.

KAKUMBA- COMING FROM THAT BACKGROUND. WE ALWAYS HAD TO SPEAK IN ORDER TO SURVIVE IN THIS COUNTRY.

Kakumba is in her early 40’s. She doesn’t feel the campaign is important to her. But 19-year-old Paula Francis feels differently. The Barnard undergrad is a leader of the black student organization. She said she has experienced sexism firsthand.

FRANCIS- I THINK I WAS PLANNING A PARTY OR SOMETHING. I WAS SAYING THIS IS HOW I WANT THINGS TO BE. I WAS REFERRED TO, AS BOSSY. I DON’T KNOW IF IT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE SAME WAY IF A MAN HAD SAID IT.

Francis is all for the campaign. She stresses the importance especially because women throw the word at each other.

FRANCIS- ITS A WORD THAT I FEEL IS ONLY USED TOWARDS FEMALES. IT’S JUST A WAY OF SAYING SOMEONE IS DEMANDING OR THAT THEY KNOW WHAT THEY WANT AND THEY KNOW HOW TO SAY IT.

ALI- I SEE THE VIDEO WHERE BEYONCE SAYS I AM NOT BOSSY I AM THE BOSS. WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Zakkiyah Ali is a self-proclaimed anti-feminist. In fact she wrote an article LET THE FEMINIST BANDWAGON PASS ME BY. She has no hard feelings towards the word bossy.

ALI- WHEN YOU LOOK AT ALL THE WOMEN WHO ARE ON THE CAMPAIGN. THESE ARE MULTI MILLIONAIRES.THESE ARE WOMEN IN THE BOARDROOM. THEY GET THESE MILLION DOLLAR BONUSES OR MAKE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WHILE THEY TOUR THE WORLD.SO THESE WOMEN ARE TALKING ABOUT A CLASS ISSUE.

More female leadership roles is what the campaign strives to achieve but for Ali that doesn’t make sense. She said it reduces leadership to just a word that devalues the work women do.

ALI-. WHEN WE START LISTENING TO THIS CEO WOMEN TALKING ABOUT BEING BOSSY. CEO WOMEN TALKING ABOUT NOT BEING IN LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, WE UNDERMINE THE LEADERSHIP THAT WOMEN HAVE ALWAYS DEMONSTRATED. WOMEN LEAD FROM THE BACK AND ITS OKAY TO DO THAT.

But not according to Sheryl Sandberg. She couldn’t disagree more .She wants women to lead from the front. And the ban bossy campaign is just getting started. Asabe Vincent Otiono Columbia Radio News

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