The other day I’m sitting at work on my computer and instead of work, I’m on Twitter. Most of my coworkers are cool and while we can occasionally hang out and get into some trouble, they know we have boundaries. This one guy on my team does not know what that means and he proceeds to ask me, “Hey what’s your Twitter account?” I paused for a moment. I thought to myself, how would I explain this to him? There was absolutely no chance of him getting my Twitter account name. I looked him straight and the eye and I said, “My friends and I don’t have Twitter so we created a group account to go online and read the timeline from time to time. I can’t remember the name, it’s very discreet.” My boss was standing there and he knew that made absolutely no sense, but he also knows, we have boundaries. Today’s post is about those awkward moments and questions at work. It’s in those moments that Black people are reminded, being Black in America is like a constant state of paranoia. Check out the list.
1. When your coworker asks if you’re going to answer your phone, and since you don’t know the number you ignore it. (Secretly, you know that it’s Verizon Wireless or Sallie Mae calling from that unknown number.)
2. When they ask you if you’ll play on the company basketball team, but never on the golf team.
3. When someone asks if you want chicken for lunch, and you really do want chicken for lunch.
4. When you’re asked to speak on an issue or topic for your entire race in the morning status meeting.
5. When you forget to silence your ringer, your phone goes off in that same meeting, and you realize that you’ve had Jeezy’s “Supafreak” as a ringtone for way too long.
6. When a family member calls you and asks you for money.
7. When your coworkers think that a good time to you is being in an establishment where they sell alcohol with all white people and you’re the only Black person.
8. When your coworkers think you’re attending the company retreat in the middle of the woods with all white people and you’re the only Black person.
9. When they assume you’re the atlas of the bad neighborhoods in the city. “Hey my friend is having a party at E. 99th street, is that the ghetto?”
10. When you’re at happy hour and the drinks cost, “on the house.99” and you’re discreetly trying to order Henny.
1- Dr. J
11. When you get away with not brushing your hair or getting that haircut you’ve been needing for about a week and no one notices.
12. When your coworker references a standup by a popular Black comedian like Dave Chappelle or Chris Rock.
13. When you dance at the company holiday party and everyone stares at you in amazement.
14. When your child’s teacher calls you at work about your child’s behavior and you have to start the “let me speak with him” rant.
15. When your boss has “the talk” with you about being late and you don’t get what the big deal is.
16. When your coworkers catch you smoking a Black & Mild by the loading dock during your break.
17. When you say “pause” instead of “that’s what she said” and the only person who laughs is the other Black person in the office.
18. When you realize that you still have no idea what Nalgene means.
19. When they ask you “why didn’t you just catch a cab?” but they don’t understand you tried that.
20. When you overhear your coworkers talking about the upcoming election and how Romney is going to win, and Obama has to go.
They say you should never talk about politics at work, but when you’re the majority, you can do whatever you want. That’s why if you worked with all Black people a lot of these things wouldn’t be awkward, they’d be downright hilarious. Also, I don’t think only Black people do these things on this list. There’s a white woman at my job who’s son calls and cusses her out just about everyday about cereal and homework. It’s just not as awkward for them because we all feel sorry for her. If that happened to a Black women, they’d say she’s a bad mother and just stare. Nonetheless, that’s what makes it’s awkward, here on SBM we can laugh about it all day long. Feel free to share your thoughts on this post, maybe a funny story, or any moments that I’ve missed on my list.