Being black in the western workplace comes with a whole bunch of unique experiences that only black people can relate to, and the struggle can be very real sometimes.
So if you’re not black, do take note, and if you feel personally attacked by some of these points, then you my friend are probably guilty of some of these things.
So here’s a look at some of the things that most black people know too well.
1. The ‘I’m not trying to be racist’ or ‘I don’t mean to sound racist but…’
We’ve all heard this one before.
This statement is always followed by something borderline racist, racist, or just pretty damn stereotypical. And no, not all black people like chicken. Non-black people love it too. And no, I don’t know where the stereotype came from. So please stop asking me and please stop being obtuse, thank you.
2. ‘WOW. Did your hair grow over the weekend?’
This one can be quite sweet because you get to educate your colleagues on the wonders of black hair. However, the other side of this is dealing with those annoying with the looks and a gazillion questions about how your hair ‘grew’ overnight.
Oh what, this 22 inch of goodness? It’s a weave darling, and white and Asian people wear them too. NEXT.
3. Straight hair, no fear
You hear about this one all the time. Dodgy workplaces that drop people for not having a hairstyle classified as ‘professional’ because their hair is not bone straight, so you opt for something more ‘toned down’ and ‘normal’ to fit in with the standards.*
Dodgy workplaces that drop people for not having a hairstyle classified as ‘professional’ because their hair is not bone straight, so you opt for something more ‘toned down’ and ‘normal’ to fit in with the standards.*
*Don’t do it, it’s a trap. Go somewhere where you’re appreciated and rock your hair, however, the f**k you want to like your life depends on it.
4. The angry black girl/ The aggressive black man
You’re aware of stupid, negative stereotypes like being ‘the angry black girl’ or ‘the aggressive black man’ so you try and downplay everything. You turn a blind eye to the nonsense and be careful not to talk too loud or even get too excited about anything, in case your colleagues think you’re ‘raising’ your voice.
You turn a blind eye to the nonsense and be careful not to talk too loud or even get too excited about anything, in case your colleagues think you’re ‘raising’ your voice.
5. ‘I know someone from there’
This one happens a lot. You tell someone that you’re from [insert your country here] then they proceed to explain how their brother’s, ex-girlfriend’s mum’s old teacher’s pet cat was also Nigerian. OK?!
6. ‘Oooh, what’s that?’
As much as you’d like to bring in some of your bomb ass country foods from home and eat peacefully at your desk, you just can’t deal with all the scrutiny and a gazillion questions about what you’re putting into your mouth.
So you opt for yet another boring Pret sandwich.
7. No, I don’t know the name of that rapper
You’re used to everyone assuming that you know the name of a RnB/rap/hip-hop song or artist because, dur you’re black.
8. Oh hey!
You automatically notice every other black person in the building and they probably notice you too.
9. ‘Where are you really from?’
Getting asked ‘where you’re from?’ and replying England because that’s where you were born, and then on que, they respond ‘no, where are you really from?’ as if being black makes you less British.
10. Twice as hard
Constantly feeling like you have to work twice as hard as your white colleagues to prove yourself, because inequality is a b*tch.
11. ‘We’ll just call you Anne’
People having trouble saying your ‘exotic’ name but can confidently say Zlatan Ibrahimović in a heartbeat.
12. Code switching like a boss
You are very aware of the whole ‘white voice thing’ and you can code-switch like a boss. Everyone and their nan understand the art of putting on this voice and it’s a skill you’ve mastered.