Introducing Marie W. Watts, in her words:
The day my brother participated in Little League tryouts is etched in my mind. The third graders took the field, a coach hitting balls to them. I watched as a boy at shortstop reached for a slow-moving grounder hit right to him and let it roll between his legs. A terrible realization seized me. Although I could play baseball better than that little boy, I would never be allowed on the field because I was a girl.
You see, my father was an extraordinary man. Because he had led a sheltered life before being thrown into combat in WWII, he was determined that neither me nor my younger brother, would suffer the same fate. I learned to play ball, ride a bike, and mow the lawn along with my sibling.
Both of us were expected to go to college and to succeed academically. It’s remarkable, really, that I was under the illusion that my brother and I were equals until I was in fourth grade.
I expressed rage at the indignity of it all. My wonderful dad and mom did not try to put me in my place or tell me that’s just how it was. He coached a group of my girlfriends, and we had our own baseball team. Unfortunately, we could only practice. No other female teams existed at the time.
Over the years, other incidents have occurred to remind me that, while things are better, the playing field is not level. Women, persons of color, the disabled, those of certain religious faiths, low-income Americans, and the LGBTQ community struggle in various ways.
Thirty years of my career were dedicated to ending employment discrimination and teaching diversity to thousands of Texas employees. Prodding me to push forward was the disappointment, dejection, and fury I felt that day on the tryout field.
Each of us has a moral responsibility to leave this world better than when we arrived. Yes, we can vote, write our politicians, and donate to charities. But there are things we must do when interacting with others to show our commitment to change.
Over the coming year, I will be sharing ideas and skills to help control the biases and prejudices in each of us. Only by taking a fresh look at how we interact with those who are different from us and changing ourselves can we tackle the systemic racism/sexism in this country. If each of us takes responsibility for leveling the playing field even a fraction, the unfair barriers will begin to crumble.
Marie W. Watts is a former employment discrimination investigator and human resource consultant with over twenty-five years of experience. In pursuit of justice in the workplace, she’s been from jails to corporate boardrooms seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly of humans at work.
Her on-the-job observations came in handy when she co-authored a textbook about how to behave at work, Human Relations 4th ed. Additionally, her work has been published in the Texas Bar Journal and the Houston Business Journal as well as featured on Issues Today syndicated to 119 radio stations, NBC San Antonio, Texas, and TAMU-TV in College Station, Texas.
A popular diversity and employment discrimination trainer, Marie has trained thousands of employees to recognize their own biases and prejudices and avoid discriminating against others in the workplace. She has brought her experiences to life in the trilogy Warriors For Equal Rights about the struggles of ordinary people who work at the little-known federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
She and her husband live on a ranch in central Texas. In her spare time, she supports a historic house and hangs out with her grandsons. For more information about Marie and her stories about life, visit www.mariewatts.com.
Connect with Marie:
Bookbub - https://www.bookbub.com/profile/marie-w-watts
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mariewattsbooks
Twitter - https://twitter.com/MarieWattsBooks
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/mariewattswriter/
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/marie-w-watts-5b2a2b/