EXCERPT: When They Go Low, We Go High by Raye Mitchell

18 Apr

When They Go Low, We Go High: How Women of Color Master the Art of Persuasion to Win Big Battles

When They Go Low, We Go High. How Woman of Color Master the Art of Persuasion to Win Big Battles is rich in detail, but a quick read-book for anyone that wants to be at the top of her game and up her power and influence in all sectors. They know that mastering grace under fire is both skill and art. This book is about helping Black women beat the odds.

Yes, Black women are strong. Yes, Black women are warrior sistas that take care of others before we take care of ourselves. Yes, we are raised to resist and persist no matter how difficult the challenge and how big the threat.

In When They Go Low, We Go High. How Woman of Color Master the Art of Persuasion to Win Big Battles, the author shares some of the secrets of what it takes to maintain integrity when locked in tough negotiations and critical battles we encounter every day in a wide range of power struggles to advance ourselves.

Applying lessons learned from leaders like Michelle Obama and addressing the needs of millions of women of color influencers and persuaders, this book is about cracking the code on how Black women master persuasion, influence, negotiations, and life in general. Our stories are personal, yet our challenges are shared. Without exception, it is a new day and it is our time to rise-up as leaders and claim our seats at the leadership table.

When They Go Low, We Go High, a stand-alone piece, also provides the backstory as the companion Rise-Up book series and online courses. These innovative books and new courses are designed to meet the needs of Black women who negotiate and make deals in all sectors from the arts to the boardroom. This book and the companion courses help them beat the odds by deploying outside-the-box thinking, strategies, and a few lessons learned from a veteran fighter and advocate for change and disruption of the status quo.


Excerpt:  When They Go Low, We Go High: How Women of Color Master the Art of Persuasion to Win Big Battles


Winning Edge (edited)

 When my grandmother, Mrs. Louise Mitchell, born March 4, 1891 in Galveston, TX, first talked about how her childhood was disrupted when the church and the school for Negro children was burnt down by a midnight terror run of the local Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and by their repeated efforts to sexually exploit, de­mean, and attack the Black women and girls, she always said, “if it’s not one thing, it’s another and a girl child always needs to know how to take care of herself.” She lived into her 100th year of life and left us on August 29, 1989. By the age of almost 100, Grandmamma had outlived all her siblings, her one and only husband, her earthly friends, all of her children except one, my mother, Dorothy Mitchell, and most of her grandchildren, except for about five or six of us.

Grandmamma rarely talked about her life experiences when we were younger, but near her final years before her departure, she stopped talking to others all together, but in the middle of the night, she often held long and very coherent conversations with me about life, her life and her spiritual journey. In listening to her stories, I gained a new sense of strength, insight into being a Black woman, and without knowing, I re-learned my first lessons in what it meant to have a winning edge, even when not always winning. I saw the world through her eyes, and I saw that she was a survivor of and a victor over the circumstances of her life.

Grandmamma, a small framed Black woman with medium toned brown skin and dark blue eyes, managed to achieve a fourth-grade education in rural Texas until, “the white folks” burned down the church where the school was also housed. Later in life, Grandmamma quietly persisted in her quest to protect the women and girls of her family and would start her own church and school as a place for women and girls to thrive, but it never seemed to take root as they tried to “burn her out again”, she said, “if it’s not one thing, it’s another.”

Despite these circumstances, Grandmother as the matriarch that raised us all, rarely lingered on her past, and simply said times were hard, and while it was hard to keep a smile on your face, she always tried. A spiritual woman, she was never bitter, angry, or dejected. She only mentioned the KKK terror when talking about the need for me to go to school, but her real fear was harm to me in a world that was hard on a “black girl child.” She mentioned staying safe when she described my deceased grandfather, Will Mitchell. I never met him. I was the inquisitor in the family and

The two females, who were also the bookends of the seven children, were both the strongest and yet the most vulnerable of the six living children respectively. Aunt Willie Mae was the oldest child closest to Grandmother and much an-in-control-take-charge person. Aunt Willie Mae was strong in will, firm in stature, and determined as the protector of her mother and her role as the oldest child and oldest female child. Aunt Willie Mae and Grandmother were a fierce leadership team of the Mitchell women and the few Mitchell family men that lived past tragedy after tragedy. Some were lost to violence. Some were lost to crime. Some were lost to alcoholism and drugs. Some were just lost.

My Grandmother, Aunt Willie Mae, and my mother has long since passed on and have concluded their physical presence in my life. However, together, the endearing spirits of these three very different women shape my life experiences to this day. They were all not simply the survivors of worldly violence, and domestic violence, they were survivors of all forms of violence hurled against them as Black women, undereducated women, unskilled laborers, yet spiritually strong women who always found a way to make a way out of no-way.

My family was poor and in fact, based on history, statistics and the odds, I was destined to be trapped in poverty through crime, domestic violence, early pregnancy, absent men, segregated communities, poor school systems, dilapidated housing, and a poor inner city transportation system that left us isolated in low income communities with limited community resources. But that did not happen. Why?

While these women have left me, their lives demonstrated to me the meaningful difference between winning and having a winning edge. Few things in their lives could or would meet the traditional definition of winning. Every day was a challenge to just exist. Every day was a fight for existence, food, keeping the lights on, and keeping a place to live for the family. Thus, this book is really about the living and past spirits of different women of color who all found a way to make a way out of no way and of women of color who have found a winning edge despite not always being in the winning position based on life circumstances. In one-way or another, we all have a Louise Mitchell, an Aunt Willie Mae, or a Dorothy Mae Mitchell in our lives.


(  Continued…  )

© 2018 All rights reserved. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Raye Mitchell.  Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author’s written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.






About the Author

Raye Mitchell is the founder of the New Reality Foundation, Inc., and CEO at the Winning Edge Institute Inc. She is a power and influence expert, attorney, author, speaker and activist.  Mitchell is a member of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund network providing legal support for women and girls affected by harassment. Mitchell has received national acclaim for her work mentoring women and girls of color to beat the odds and excel as leaders.

Mitchell is a graduate of Harvard Law School, the University of Southern California (USC), the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy (B.S.) and the USC Marshall School of Business (MBA).  She is a native of Los Angeles, California.


Connect with Dr. Mitchell (primary)




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