Leading While Black: The Intersectionality of Race, Leadership, and God
The American workplace exhibits a growing imbalance when it comes to human identity. Leaders are frequently defined in the absence of their critical social identifiers, but the exclusion of these identifiers is a mistake and ignores essential physical, cultural, and spiritual realities. Their exclusion is especially problematic for leaders of the Black identity and the Christian faith. Color-blind ideology harms people of color, while religion-blind systems damage people of faith, and both are especially problematic for individuals who reckon with both realities.
Rather than abandoning an individual's social identities, the ones we choose and the ones we do not, Leading While Black draws on the lived experiences of executive-level leaders of the Christian faith and Black identity, and offers a testament to the power of a living God in the social fabric of public life. Instead of ignoring the narrative arc of social identities and the weight they carry when considering an individual's conception of leadership, Torrance Jones leans into the value of those identities and asserts their integral importance for Black leaders and for those who work with and for Black voices.
The reality of those who live with the experience of being Black and Christian in the workplace matters for the grand narrative of leadership in the United States. Through conversations and deep attention to the lived experience of leaders, Torrance Jones explores the intersectionality of these two worlds--Black and Christian--and inspires readers to lead from the context of all that they are.
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About the Author
Torrance J. R. Jones (Ed.D., St. John Fisher University) is the Sheriff's Community Affairs Executive at the Monroe County Sheriff's Office in Rochester, New York, assistant professor of business at Houghton University, adjunct professor of executive leadership at St. John Fisher University, and an ordained minister.
The duality of being Black and Christian as part of our understanding of the Black Christian identity and executive leadership is a welcome offering. Torrance Jones takes bold steps informing Black Christian executives that they can be themselves and not lose the descriptor that defines their realities of being both Black and Christian. I say, "Bring it on!" Leading While Black is an important work by Jones because this masterpiece accurately depicts a cultural appreciation and representation that touches on what matters in the effort to create being and identity, both Black and Christian. Don't leave home without that identity. --The Rev. Dr. Marlowe V. N. Washington, Senior Diversity Officer, St. John Fisher University, and pastor of Agape Fellowship United Methodist Church
Dr. Torrance Jones has expertly articulated the complexities of "leading (and living) while Black." The layered intersections of race, gender, and religion are vividly described through poignant stories from notable professionals who rely on their faith to persevere through spaces historically not meant for people from marginalized groups. This is a must-read for leaders from all sectors who desire to show up authentically in every aspect of their life. --Dr. Myra P. Henry, president and CEO, YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County
In a time of silent resignation and increased social consciousness of mental health, Dr. Torrance Jones has a distinctive ability to allow the reader to deepen their understanding of the psychological toll of the intersectionality of Christianity and leadership within the workplace, which often is unspoken, resulting in individuals silently battling their authentic self and their "safe" representative self. To truly understand an individual and community, leadership must allow the authentic self to enter the room. --April Aycock, mental health director, Monroe County Office of Mental Health
Reading Torrance Jones's Leading While Black sparked so many emotions. I saw myself many times as I was reading the stories of others, especially those leading while being a Black woman. This book was a reminder to pause and take a moment to reflect on my identity and how I show up. Understanding who I am and whose I am will forever be important to remember. --Dr. Yvette Conyers, clinical associate professor, George Washington University School of Nursing