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Ask Amy: Woman in startup should strike out

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I work for a small entertainment startup, consisting of five cisgender white men. I got in on the ground floor during the pandemic.

As the only female and youngest/newest member, I’ve felt undervalued and excluded, despite being the only one with a four-year degree.

So far, I’d brushed these concerns aside because of my youth and lack of experience.

However, two weeks ago, politics came up and I realized that several of my co-workers (who are also co-owners) have beliefs that fly in the face of social justice, such as denying the existence of white privilege and calling women “sugar” or “honey” in the workplace.

It is now clear to me that the secretarial and maid work they’ve had me doing (instead of the engineering I learned in school) may be as much the result of sexism as my lack of seniority.

Because the industry is male-dominated, I had expected a certain amount of sexism.

 

Now I’m wondering whether I can ethically work alongside people who I -know fundamentally disrespect me and disagree with my progressive opinions. But if I quit, they will quite likely replace me with another white male.

Is it my obligation (as a white person and aspiring ally) to try to teach these privileged men something about the experience others are having in this country, and hopefully change the direction of the company?

— Fit or Quit

Dear Fit or Quit: Identity is obviously extremely important to you. You carefully categorize these co-workers according to their race, gender, and sexual identity.

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