Thursday, February 09, 2006

My Corporate People Start Buggin Cuz I Talk Like This

Inspiration - "Go Crazy" Jay-Z on the remix to Jeezy's song "My niggaz love it when I talk like this/My corporate people start buggin cuz I talk like this/The corporate thugs is like, "Nah Hov" Talk that shit?The dope boys go crazy when they hear that boy Jay-Z"

What I'm Listening To - "Embrya" - Maxwell

Question(s) I Asked Myself Today: "How can I get out of work early to see my niece's play?"

So, last night was interesting. My direct manager at work got a promotion, so last night a few of us got together to celebrate. We went to her house to drink and play poker. I'm a novice at Texas Hold 'Em, but somehow I managed to be the last one eliminated. But anyway, that's not the point of the story. The point is by the time the night was over, I managed to basically call my manager a racist. How did that happen? Well let me tell you.

We were all drinking and talking shit and as usual in my corporate capacity I was the only Black person there. They were playing Led Zeppelin and although I am a fan of all kinds of music, I didn't recognize the song that was playing. Everybody was shocked that I didn't know Led Zeppelin's whole discography. So me in my usual smart ass tone said, "you guys do realize that I'm Black, don't you?" That's how it started, it was just a simple joke. But something (probably the liquid courage) made me keep going. I then proceeded to call my manager out on something that had been bothering for a couple weeks. See, I noticed that she always used the euphemism "poor communication skills" when referring to other Blacks in positions of authority. Like, if we were on a conference call, she would say that such and such has poor communication skills. To me, that was a thinly veiled way of saying, he talks too Black. Like there's something wrong with that. I told her that I figured out her code and that she should be careful who she says that to in her new job.

Well of course, hearing those words come from my mouth shocked her. She started turning beet red and tried to deny it. So then I gave her specific examples of who she said that about, and then gave her examples of some White people who actually do have poor communication skills that she seemed to ignore. I also pointed out her implications about certain Black people being Affirmative Action hires. Let me say this, I don't think she is intentionally racist, but I wanted to point out the tendencies. By the end of the conversation she was at least thinking about it and that's all that I really hoped to accomplish. I really like her, and she was a great boss, but that was something that I felt she needed to acknowledge and change about herself.

So did I accomplish my mission? I don't know but I will soon find out. I'm about to go to work now and see if I still am everybody's favorite token negro. If not, that's okay too because I can more than hold my own in this scenario. A friend of mine gave me some good advice on the situation by relating W.E.B Dubois' theories of double consciousness and the veil. She told me, and I'm paraphrasing her, that this was an opportunity for me to reconcile the way white folks see us and the way we see ourselves. I'm going to follow these words of wisdom in my approach to work. If they view me as the angry Black man, so be it. But I will not be afraid to speak my mind about issues I feel are important. So there you have it, an innocent night of reveling turned into a much needed dialogue about race. I'll holla at y'all later.

It was written...

8 Comments:

Blogger Accomplice said...

i feel you on the whole speakin your mind thing because i let people, usually white people, at work know real quick when they are being disrespectful or inappropriate.

however, rather your boss realizes she says racists things are irrelevant. it just goes to show peoples mind set and how when they feel they are in a comfy situation, they can say what's on their mind, racists or not.

i would, it i were you, not go around calling everybody out though. its best for us not to always let people know what we are thinking.

Thu Feb 09, 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger nikki said...

i don't think the reconciliation of the double-consciousness requires a person calling everyone out every time they say something that can be construed as being racist. i think there is a time and place for that kind of situation. however, i do think that it's important to let folk know somewhere down the line, whether it's right then or during a meeting called specifically to address it or during lunch when you can address it more casually.

the thing is, as long as we don't say shit about it, they'll think it's perfectly aiight for them to connect a person's communication skills with his or her intelligence when in fact, it has more to do with background. it's the little shit like that that 'progressive' folk need to hear about, cuz they're the main ones saying they're not racist.

Thu Feb 09, 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger T. Cas said...

I don't presume to think I'm gonna start the revolution, but I felt comfortable enough with my boss to let her know how I felt. I'm gonna try to walk that thin line between corporate Black man and conscious Black man. I think the important thing for me is to pick the appropriate situations to voice these opinions.

Thu Feb 09, 09:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know how I feel about that situation. You know the person near me who is always violating and the sucky part is as long as he excells in his "referral" performance his gets the proverbial "slap on the hand" and it is all good his "uncle tom" manager speaks to him about it knowing that he has had several complaints about him then sends him on his way also b/c they conveniently did not record the call or cannot get in touch with the victim just for him to do it again and act all innocent about it. That shit irks the hell out of me b/c if i was to do it i would be on a final and be watched like a hawk (maybe i should say watched like a falcon b/c hawks are such losers):) Well any way i have vented my frustration on the subject. (bb)

Fri Feb 10, 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger That Girl Tam said...

This was a GREAT post...you know my brain is fried with all that's going on in my life...but I wanted to come by and at least HOLLA at you! (You angry BLACK MAN you...) HHAHAHAHAHAHA...

Some people just need their cards pulled every now again...I guess I'm the token angry black woman at MY job...they all just had to get used to it! HAHA

Fri Feb 10, 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger D- said...

Wow! I really enjoyed reading that. I found you via Tam. Your post reminds me of an article I read last week in one of my classes, Multicultural Counseling. The article is on "White Privilege" and it was written by a white female professor at Wellesley College by the name of Peggy McIntosh. You may already be familiar with it, but if u are not I think that it would be worth ur while. She basically talks about how whites enjoy many advantages just because they are white and that most enjoy them but don't perceive themselves as being racist, and most don't even know that they are receiving advantages that people of color do not receive. It's very interesting.

I think that the story with your boss illustrates one of McIntosh's main points - when whites speak a certain way no one ties it to their race or culture, yet if you are of color and speak differently from the dominant culture it's a problem.

Anyway...great post. I definitely won't be a stranger.

Fri Feb 10, 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger T. Cas said...

@ anonymous... when you gonna update the blog? but yeah, I know who you are talking bout and I should used him as an example. @ Tam, I've been reading about your drama and all I can say is whoa. I hope I can be as honest as you one day. Thanks for the link. I can see that you going "angry Black woman" at work

@ D- thanks for the article. I found it online and its very interesting. I checked out your D.C. shine and I'll be back. Thanks for stopping by.

Fri Feb 10, 06:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i forgot my password again i am ta ta!!!

Sat Feb 11, 09:21:00 AM  

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