>Do you shift?

>I’m reading this book called Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America. Here’s a synopsis of the book from the website:

Based on the African American Women’s Voices Project, Shifting reveals that a large number of African American women feel pressure to compromise their true selves as they navigate America’s racial and gender bigotry. Black women “shift.” They change the expectations they have for themselves. Or they alter their outer appearance. They modify their speech. They shift ‘white’ as they head to work in the morning and ‘black’ as they come back home each night. They shift inward, internalizing the searing pain of the negative stereotypes that they encounter daily. And sometimes they shift by fighting back.

I never thought about the art of “shifting” until I began reading this book. I realized that I’m a chronic, habitual shifter. In order to survive in my world as a journalist in a county that’s 95 percent white, shifting has not only become a way of life; it’s become a survival mechanism. Being the only person of color in my small office, shifting has also become a way in which I block off all the stereotypes and low expectations people may have of me because of my race or gender. When I’m interviewing people or dealing with sources on a daily basis, shifting has become necessary to put people at east when talking to me.

Which ways do you “shift” in your life? How often do you think you shift? Have you shifted so much that you’re not aware of your true self anymore?