BEYOND SURVIVAL: Two Arenas, Two Stories
Bari-Ellen Roberts is one of the corporate mavericks who slapped Texaco with a class-action racial discrimination suit and helped to secure $176 million in reparations (in an out-of-court settlement) for hundreds of black Texaco employees across the nation. Its all in her book ARoberts vs. Texaco: A True Story of Race and Corporate America. Avon Books claims Texaco didn’t want this one published, and we see why. Roberts, the lead plaintiff in the historic cases, shares her personal story, from promising career to the ABlack Jelly Bean tapes and national headlines. If you walk Their walk, talk Their talk, and hide your culture in the closet, Roberts and many in her generation were advised, They will accept you; you’ll go to the top, get paid, and experience some of that American Dream. She soon learned that no matter how brilliant she was in the realm of finance, there was always skin color. It was not the same as Theirs.
Once you get past Mrs. Roberts recounting of her growing up years C the story of a stellar child trying to function in a dysfunctional family, a world Ms. Roberts may one day discover was shaped by racism as much as her life was bruised by the corporate experience – the book reads like a movie script; you cant wait to see how the bad guys, who tried to belittle with Mrs. Roberts because she was too Auppity C get their comeuppances. Corporate strivers, get this book. Everything you and your executive friends have experienced is in here. So is the usual cast of corporate culprits C like the division vice president who dressed as Sambo for a company Halloween party. Then, in an unrelated incident, he explained to a black employee that if an American and white person were competing for a job, its, Aonly human nature to give it to the white person.
You Reparationists looking for backpay may find th book interesting also. Ms. Roberts writes that after Texaco agreed to settle the case with a mediator, it refused to consider a money settlement, and their lawyer declared the company Awould never throw a bunch of money at a bunch of blacks. Ms. Roberts is now beyond surviving. Shes succeeding without a worry in the world about glass ceilings. She left Texaco to write this book. Now as chair of the African-American Association for Corporate Responsibility, she continues to fight against racism in the workplace.
BG Songstress Gloria Gaynors 70’s mega-hit AI Will Survive touched the lives of millions, defined an entire era, and catapulted her to Queen of Disco. But it wasnt until she started really listening to the words that she got her own life in order. Her book of the same title as the song, tells about a life teetering out of control, then saved when she found peace and comfort after a religious conversion. Its a strong and honest accounting of a woman who made it back to the top, one day and one step at a time. As the spokeswoman for Ashley Stewart, Ms. Gaynor makes an appearance at Kings Plaza Mall on April 25 afternoon. She will sign her book, and offer encouragement to all!
These books can be purchased through Oak Books. For information, see ad on page 18.