Career and Business

Racist things that only Black women deal with at work

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Black women are kicking ass in the work place. With success comes a whole bunch of crap. More like microaggressions. You can’t quite call HR on your racist coworkers because to nonBlacks what the sophisticated or dare I say “unknowing racist” says sounds innocent. But the things they say somehow makes your Blackness senses go tingle. Your first instinct is to say, “look (five letter expletive) you thought wrong” but you can’t because those loans are due and we have got to pick up Bougie Black Girl’s book, “Change Your Mind, Change Your Destiny” and Toni Morrison’s new book (YAY). Sis, we have two choices. Go mad from it or just laugh at it. I decided to laugh so here is a list of racist things only Black women deal with at work:

  • Everyone expects you to be hip, strong and sassy. When you aren’t they are disappointed.
  • You are supposed to know every rap song and rapper. If you don’t everyone is still disappointed but that doesn’t stop them from coming to your desk and asking anyway.
  • When there is a company potluck you are expected to bring some fried chicken and people are disappointed when you bring quiche.
  • That’s when your nonblack coworker eventually tells you that they are “Blacker” than you.
  • And you are left wondering at your desk what the hell was the supposed to mean.
  • If your hair is short one day and long the next day they try to analyze what you did to your hair. Yes, you know Black hair is magical but you don’t feel like explaining shrinkage or your latest wig.
  •  Just for fun you wear it “short” again and they still are amazed.
  • They think you know all of the Black people (meaning that one Black person) they know.
  • If you are single, it turns our they want to hook you up with the only other Black person they care to know, the security guard. That’s because they read Steve Harvey’s book and watched his show.
  • They had to let you know they love Steve Harvey.
  • You are expected to be the White girl coworker’s Black side kick.
  • When we don’t want to, something is wrong and you just need someone to speak to.
  • Who is that someone? Well they are of course.
  • For some odd reason they think it is OK to call you “girl” or “girlfriend” with a half ass neck roll.
  • You are thinking to yourself this is what they really think we i.e. Black people do.
  • No, you really don’t care to hear about the family party she is having that you and apparently no other Black people in the office were invited to.
  • But you later find out that your nonBlack coworkers were some how invited to her “family gathering.”
  • You want to say “Bye Felicia” but you know she’ll end up acting like she invented the term and you’ve just reached master level code switch so you settle for saying, “I have work to do.”
  •  Then your White faux girlfriend tells you, they have someone they want you to meet.
  • It is the office “Stephen” (see the video below, my posts on Uncle Toms and Sell Outs and Office Mammies).

  • You learn the hard way that Mother Zora was right, “All my skin folk ain’t all my kin folk.”
  • Eventually you become one of the Black race representatives at work.
  • When discussing Black holidays i.e. Kwanzaa, MLK Day or Black History Month everyone looks to you for direction but when racial current events occur many nonBlack people avoid you.
  • But that’s when that one coworker who told you, you weren’t Black enough, called you girl friend and tried to hook you up with the security guard because Steve Harvey said so they stops by your office to let you know they are not racist because they voted for Obama.
  • That’s also when those nonBlacks who didn’t vote for Obama seek comfort from the office Stephen. (See video above)
  • After all of that you decide to treat yourself.
  • People then see it.
  • That is that moment when people find out you live in a nice place, are travelling to another country, had a five star dinner or are wearing an expensive item and you can see the utter look of confusion on their face.
  • And finally the joy you felt when it happened.

These are just a few. Feel free to add.

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22 comments

  1. L. Higgins 10 December, 2014 at 10:02 Reply

    When other co-workers bring in food, and you do not rush to the table. They want to know the reason why. Want to know what type of lotion you used. Always around when a guy is speaking to you and this person is a fellow co-worker also. Less not forget Roots the television series( How did your people survived comment). When I was in college majoring in nutrition, for one of my class which deal with food management. I brought in a low cal banana loaf. The student teacher wanted the recipe and told me her sister is marry to a black guy. My reply with a smile “skin folks are kin folks” I walk away.

  2. Karla Fears 10 December, 2014 at 11:35 Reply

    You have an opportunity to make a presentation or speak, for a long period of time, and your co-workers look at you with awe, as if the secret of the ages has come out of your mouth. You’re only talking about the latest production figures but they are riveted! It’s finally made clear to you what’s going on when someone says, “You’re so well-spoken!”

  3. Von 10 December, 2014 at 12:32 Reply

    The only one I can relate to is when it pertains to my choice of hair styles. They complement you to start conversations based on superficiality. Too bad I received most of the hate from my black co-workers who don’t like Afro textured hair. I’ve been rocking the ‘Fro for decades.

    Before Obama was elected to the presidency, my organization sent all kinds of emails telling department heads all kinds of lies in order to tell people not to vote for him. Since I don’t consider them as superior, they know not to try their ignorance with me.

    I learned a very long time ago to tell racist individuals by their eyes and by their actions and I treat them accordingly. I just don’t give people that much power.

  4. Tia 11 December, 2014 at 21:57 Reply

    “For some odd reason they think it is OK to call you “girl” or “girlfriend” with a half ass neck roll.”

    So true. I’ve observed this time and time again. They need to stop taking their hints on how to talk to Black women based on the media.

  5. sheree 13 December, 2014 at 10:30 Reply

    When they don’t know how to approach you because you’re not giving off “typical black woman in the media” vibes. You dress nice (read:problem), you speak proper english (read:stuck up), you want to know everyone (read:not just interested in “her own” so possible problem) and you don’t do drama (read: can’t trust her). I had to put my foot down yesterday and it was relieving.

  6. Ms. Lady 13 December, 2014 at 23:04 Reply

    I’m so glad I caught this blog on accident. You must be my sister from another mother, except for the fact that I’m a christian. It’s like when I try to speak to older black American women about this including my mother I get shut down and accused of being a trader. I am a witness to black women who white knight for black men and enjoy being a female “stephen” side kick or slave mammy to white women. These same black women attempt to stab me in my back. I’m going to make an example of them before it’s all said and done. Their minds are so conditioned that it is impossible for them to believe that a white female could ever be jealous of me or any black woman. When some of them become jealous they are down-right evil and they use their skin to their advantage to get over. I am a witness to white women who are dating/married to black men who use black people when needed to fight their battles because the conditioned negro just loves to save and defend white folks and show em how they are not like them other no good negroes. Wow! Again, I’m glad to have read this blog and I pray that this developing knowledge spreads like a sun-ray. I am sick of this bs!!!

  7. Georgie 14 December, 2014 at 21:13 Reply

    This happened in a job several years ago, but for some reason, I was supposed to get the references to the Madea movies.

    I was accused by my boss’ boss of making my coworkers uncomfortable b/c I “act like I am better than [them].” This was stupefying, as years ago, I remember purposely putting myself down to make others feel better.

    I am glad I am no longer the only black woman in the workplace. It truly makes a difference.

  8. notproper 18 December, 2014 at 09:59 Reply

    Being the only black woman anywhere, be it work, school or in the pta is a crazy experience in itself. Very easy to get annoyed with non-black people’s insecurities and hang ups. Especially if you have that Diane Carol dynasty personality, like I tend to have around white people. Lol I’ve been told by white friends, that I’m “stuck up” or think I’m better, my answer is, “Yes, I am the way they perceive me,thanks” Try being a black woman in the South with Atheist vuews,whose slender, woman who doesn’t eat meat living in the SOUTH. Oh white people REALLLY don’t like that. They go from zero to 100 with an attitude quick!

  9. krkennedy 19 December, 2014 at 00:57 Reply

    I love the confused look when you mention any thing that is not listed in their inner racial profile. Cracks me up.

  10. Adina Tawole 10 January, 2015 at 14:23 Reply

    “If your hair is short one day and long the next day they try to analyze what you did to your hair. Yes, you know Black hair is magical but you don’t feel like explaining shrinkage or your latest wig”.
    Lol! And so true.
    What I do is simple. I refer them to the Internet.
    Like:”girl, I really need to send you the webpages which inspire me!”. And then, I move on.
    Playing dumb works all the time

  11. Linda 23 January, 2015 at 18:24 Reply

    Here in Colorado, I’m always one of the few Blacks in the office, and usually the only Black woman. I HATE when summer season rolls around because here come the tans. As soon as my white co-workers get a tan, they sneak up next to me at the copier, hike up one of their sleeves, and try, surreptitiously (although I know what they’re doing), to compare their tan to my naturally brown skin. And as soon as one of them mentions sunscreen, someone inevitably turns to me and says (patronizingly), “Linda, YOU should use sunscreen. Black people DO get sunburned, you know.” Like I just dropped in from Mars and having Black skin is new for me. Like they know more about having Black skin than I do.. Like I need someone white to tell me how to take care of my own skin.

    “Everyone expects you to be hip, strong and sassy. When you aren’t they are disappointed.”
    Boy, is this ever true! I’m a soft-spoken nerd who enjoys doing logic puzzles and drawing portraits on her lunch break, instead of being involved in useless, destructive office gossip. This has led to white supervisors telling me I need to be more “sociable”

    And I can always count on at least one white co-worker asking, “Why do black people do this? Or that…?) Like I’m the spokesperson for the entire race.

    And I’ve actually had words with white supervisors who insist I participate in office potlucks, which I never do for two reasons:
    1. I’ve seen too many people use the bathroom and leave without washing their hands and I don’t want their DNA in my food.
    2. If it’s something someone white brought, it’s usually a casserole, which is code for last night’s leftovers with some cheese and breadcrumbs strewn over the top. No thank you.

  12. d 2 August, 2015 at 20:36 Reply

    I was the only white female and expected to follow ideas I don’t like. There were racial statements made because our boss would give them free reign i action and words.

  13. itfwad 30 May, 2016 at 23:27 Reply

    The only way we overcome things is by doing exactly that…….we all have beautiful minds, let us use them!

  14. damn.your.a.bigot 7 January, 2017 at 10:26 Reply

    This is a racist way at looking at work. You haven’t realized you are not there to play,you are there to work.

    You have these expectations that aren’t being fulfilled and you blame others for your subjective outlook on life.

    I would say “grow up” but chances are your mental capacity ceased at 15 and it is reflected in the extent of your understanding of the world.

    Please don’t ever leave your bubble. You’re a disgrace to the human race.

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