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Reviewed by Soumya Sreehari for Readers' Favorite
White Shade is a guidebook for black professional women. Dr. Michelle Shelton uses a series of stories, or vignettes as she calls them, to highlight ‘white spaces’ and ‘white shades’ that are abundant in the professional world. The stories are fictionalized but rooted in real-life experiences. Personas such as Ms. Uneasy, Ms. Arrogant, Ms. Strategist are used to share these experiences. Dr. Shelton follows up the stories with words of advice on how to identify the implicit biases and respond to them constructively. The stories bring to the fore the various forms of bias that influence any professional environment, such as intentional acts of alienation. The intention is to make professional black women aware of these biases and equip them to address these biases.
The reading experience of White Shade was illuminating to me. Dr. Michelle Shelton has put forth in simple words the myriad forms of bias we unconsciously condone as a society. I could relate to the different professional settings narrated by her; some were obvious in hindsight and some implicit enough to make me introspect. I can identify myself as a marginalized group in one part of the world and a privileged group in another. So, reading White Shade gave me insights to reflect on my behavior on both sides of the table. White Shade can be used as a guide by any woman in a professional environment. I recommend that everyone should read this book so that awareness is created of the existence of white spaces and ways to address them.