A Black Woman’s Job Title

By Lloyd Graff

Rosalind Brewer took the helm at Walgreens this week, becoming one of only a few African American woman CEOs to ever lead a large American corporation. She had been #2 at Starbucks before being recruited by Walgreens. 

I wasn’t surprised to see a black woman get a top job with a company like Walgreens. It would have been more shocking if a black woman’s small machining firm applied for membership in the Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA), an organization I belong to as a technical member. 

This is not a putdown of the PMPA, which I am happy to be a member of. It is an observation about my America, where women have generally been outsiders in manufacturing, engineering and metals, both by culture and by prejudice for as long as I can remember.

Perhaps the scene is changing, with Mary Barra now heading GM, but an African-American woman running a machining outfit with 25 employees in America is something I would love to see in my lifetime.

New CEO of Walgreens, Rosalind Brewer


As I talk to clients and people in the industry, I’m getting the strong impression that business is perking up. While the media is obsessed with COVID-19, empty malls, and evictions, the shortage of people who want to take manufacturing jobs gets even more acute. 

Even in fossil fuels, which we all know are yesterday, the US is still pumping 11 million barrels of oil a day and importing the black gold from Canada too. Farm prices are up, which means tractors are finally selling, and car lots are short of inventory.

Home sales are allegedly frantic, at least in the suburbs, and new home builders are having their best years ever.

It’s all a bit bewildering as the Washington politicians lament the worst economy since the Depression and are bargaining the difference between $600 billion and $1.6 trillion to dump into the economy.

The stock market has given its verdict. Buy, buy, buy. The Fed has made its call to keep interest rates low. Bank losses have been a fraction of what had been expected to this point.

It must be the time to book a cruise for this summer.


The least recognized vital aspect of health is posture. I don’t know how the chimpanzees and gorillas live like they do, but a bent over Lloyd is a miserable mammal.

The last year has been brutal on my body. I have been home for much of the time, from Groundhog Day to Groundhog Day, and it feels like perpetual winter. During this period, I have made the kitchen table my workspace, and my neck has been almost continually bent as I navigate the phone and iPad to write. My spine feels like a defective erector set. I look like a FANUC robot. I might be turning FANUC yellow as well.

My neck and shoulders are tight as 2-year-old unopened pickle jars. I keep fiddling with the thermostat because the compression of my shoulders and neck and rib cage gives me the chills. 

I tried to throw a snowball the other day and it landed 12 feet from me. I am a sorry heap. 

But, I now have placed three foam rollers strategically around the house, and I’m starting to feel like bread dough. The rolling is beginning to work. My pain is six Advils less a day. I have fewer groans when I hit the bed. The chills are fading. My stretches have some elasticity. 

Why, oh why, didn’t I start the bread dough a year ago?

Question: What are your back pain remedies?

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3 thoughts on “A Black Woman’s Job Title

  1. R in NYC

    Glad comments are fixed!

    I truly look forward to a time when we are judged by the content of our character and not the colour of our skin nor gender.

    If I recall, we had a black president for two terms. He TWICE attained the status as leader of the free world!

    We now have a female Vice President who is, by most accounts, less that a heartbeat away from the presidency.

    Although, Kamala is NOT African-American as President Obama is.
    She is half Indian and half Jamaican and a decedent of a Jamaican SLAVE OWNING FAMILY!

    Kamala is an Indian-Jamaican-American.
    I thought after Two terms of a black president we could get away from hyphenated Americans and all be just AMERICANS!

    As I recall, before the WuFlu, we had the highest Black employment in the country’s history.
    And good paying jobs.

    Until recently Kamala prided herself on incarcerating the most black youths in California’s history! What an accomplishment.
    When will she repent and pay reparations for the sins of the father?
    Or will she be the tie breaking vote in the Senate for “US”, We the People of these United States, to pay reparations to African Americans? Decedents of slaves or not ?
    What will she pay?
    Just curious.

    Talking about gender equality, I am waiting to see just one female garbage collector here in New York. That is an incredible gender disparity!

    75% of the NBA is Black e=when they are only 15% of the population.

    When will these be equaled out?

    I look forward to a time when we are judged by the content of our character and not the colour of our skin nor gender.
    We can all dream…

    As for my back;
    I am often in pain from being hunched over a lathe all day.
    Someone has to work and pay the exorbitant taxes.
    I have one of those microwave heating pads filled with beans or something.
    Good for the back and shoulders!
    Then at night, a good soak in the bathtub with Epsom salts.
    That’s getting to be more and more 🙁
    I avoid the painkillers and stick with some good ole fashioned Tennessee whiskey.



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