I’ve been having a hard time at work. I’m being abused and mistreated. I was recently given advice by my father to quit work and focus on my studies, so I’ll be turning in my resignation letter soon. But this post isn’t really about work.
This post is about steretypes, brainwashing and the impact that they have on our thinking.
Most of the employees at my job are African-Americans, but the upper level employees, the supervisors, the managers, the directors are almost exclusively white males or white women.
In the department that I work in, we’re on the lowest end of the totem pole. It’s me and two other full time employees who are slightly above me.
My coworker is nasty, he slaps my hands, curses at me, threatens to slap me and belittles me about everything that I do…including my hair, how I dress and how I bend over. He is a Nigerian Black man.
A couple weeks ago, I met a guy at work and he was walking outside the office. I was going to keep walking, but he pulled me into conversation and eventually somehow we ended up exchanging phone numbers. He turned out to be completely crazy. We’d only known each other a couple weeks and had barely been talking and he already asked me to spend the night at his house. He told me that women had dirty private parts naturally. He kept interrupting me and wouldn’t let me talk, he lied to me about where he worked. He was just crazy. Then he yelled at me on the phone and when I told him that I didn’t want to talk to him anymore, he went off crazy. The next morning he texted me saying “hey I’m at the gym, gimme a call.” As if everything that happened the night before hadn’t happened. No apology for hanging up on me, no apology for yelling… nothing. It was like he was bipolar or something. He was a Black man too.
On the flip,
The white males that I’ve interacted with have ,for the most part, been pleasant. The ones on my job (most supervisors are white) have been pleasant, the ones I’ve chatted with outside the building have been pleasant.
In fact, the other day I caught myself thinking “i really like working with my white male coworkers, they’re more pleasant.”
Now, you all are reading this and thinking I’m a sell out, you’ll want to stop reading…but keep reading I’m going to make my point.
I was ashamed of myself for having that thought. I was ashamed because I knew that my thinking was wrong and untrue, but I still thought it…where did that come from?
Well, it was an emotional response. Not logical. Keep in mind what I said about most of the lower level employees being Black, while the supervisors/managers were white. I had to check myself and tell myself that just because one of my Black male coworkers harasses me and another Black guy I met was crazy, doesn’t mean that Black men are all like that. In fact, it’s not true and I know it’s not true. I reminded myself of all the positive Black men who I’ve interacted with at that job and I realized that I was being brainwashed.
I was so focused on the negativity because of my one nasty coworker and one crazy guy, that I was overlooking the positive. I had a customer who was a Black man come into the office the other day and he was the sweetest man. He was kind, professional, he was smiling and he was just so pleasant to work with. Another Black man brought lunch one day for free just because he thought I was so nice. I didn’t eat it because I’m watching what I eat, but I did accept it (gave it to family member) and I really appreciated the gesture. On the other hand, I remember at one job where I worked some summers ago, we had a customer come in and threaten to blow up the building over a rent slip…he was white. I have never had , since that day, any customer threaten to blow up a building that I worked in. So I KNOW there are some crazy, nasty white males out there.
Not all white men are saviors and not ALL Black Men are devils period.
But the point that I’m trying to make is that our emotions can warp our perceptions of reality. I got to thinking about the Black men who go on youtube and bash Black women. One of their main complaints is that Black women have attitudes and I’m realizing that it may just be that maybe they’ve succumbed to their emotions. They may be running into SOME Black women with attitudes, but they’re doing what I did and overlooking the positive. So, in their minds IT SEEMS like all Black women are nasty and white women aren’t because their mind is playing tricks on them. Their emotions are draining them and they’re reacting in an illogical way.
The same can be said of some Black women who worship white men. You go on certain blogs and you’ll see some Black women aggrandizing white men as if they’re Gods, while Black men are made to seem like the devil. Their emotions are causing them to react negatively. It may be true that they’ve interacted with SOME negative Black men, but I’m willing to bet that they’re overlooking the positive ones too.
Now Back to my nasty coworker. I told you that most of the lower level employees (such as myself) are Black, but the supervisors are white. Well, part of the reason that I’m running into some nasty Black men is probably because some of them are so overworked and underpaid. Now, I’m not making excuses for my coworker, there is NO EXCUSE for him to be so nasty to me to the point that I can’t even feel comfortable in the workplace, but he does work a lot and he doesn’t get paid as much as he should for his work. That’s probably part of the reason he is so nasty come to think of it.
In fact, I was in tears because of my Black male coworker the other day, someone (another black woman at the job :)) saw me crying and reported my coworker to the supervisor, who is white. People have complained about my nasty coworker before, so my supervisor was sympathetic to me. I was called into the office and I basically told my supervisor that we worked it out because as much as I can’t stand my coworker…I didn’t want anyone to lose their job. As much as I dislike him, he does his job well. He works hard. He is the only one who is willing to do the amount of work for that job and get paid what he gets paid. Everyone else that was hired for that position has left within a few years.
On the other hand, I’ve noticed even the supervisor has called HIM to ask him questions that the supervisor really should know the answer too. But, because the supervisor has a college degree automatically the pay-grade is higher and they are bumped up in rank and get paid more even though the lower level employees do most of the work. They are the ones who deal with the customers, do the bulk of the work with the public and have to know all the information on the spot. But again, my coworker has no excuse for his behavior, even if he is overworked and underpaid. He is only hurting himself because I’m leaving and now he’ll have more work to do on his own.
But, even though I’m leaving, I do (in a way) feel sorry for him. He is nasty and drives people away that’s his own fault, but he doesn’t get paid what he deserves and he does work hard at his job. He’s just not nice to people.
So, it would be easy for me to join the WMW club after the negative experiences that I’ve had. It would be easy for me to look to white men as my blue-eyed heros because I haven’t really had any problems with my white male coworkers, most of my problems have come from Black men at that job, honestly. But then again, it’s only been a few men (who happen to be Black) who have given me problems, most haven’t. Finally, as I said I think part of the reason that my Black male coworker is so mean is because he isn’t treated right and it’s a system that isn’t fair. BUT, again that’s not an excuse…he’s not helping himself or anyone else by treating people disrespectfully. Sooner or later, that’s going to blow up in his face. I mean customers have complained about him, other workers…it’s just a matter of time. The reason that they can’t keep anyone at that job is primarily because of him.
Since being at work, I’ve noticed that my attraction to white men has increased. Could this be coincidence or does it have something to do with my experience with some Black men on my job…maybe, maybe not. I can see HOW a white male worshipper or a white woman worshipper is created, in theory. If I didn’t know any better, I may have joined the white people are better bandwagon myself.
I could easily jump on the “white men are better,” bandwagon because I had a few bad experiences. But the truth is, people are individuals. There is nothing wrong with being attracted to white men in general, but stereotyping and judging others is wrong and I am still very attracted to Black men in general. Just because I had a few bad experiences doesn’t mean all Black men are bad. I think it’s very easy to get caught up in these stereotypes when our perception is so warped. Some of us can’t see the bigger picture, we can’t understand the human aspects that drive our behavior, we can’t always understand the complexity or how deep certain stereotypes and racism run in our society. I think A LOT of Black people who are self-hating go through experiences like mine and don’t realize that their perception isn’t accurate. They aren’t exposed to Black people who don’t fit that negative stereotype, so they never “wake up,” or check themselves so to speak.
Finally, if I want positive Black men, all I need do is look to the men in my family. My father (to me) is the true hero in this situation because he was the one who told me to stop working there. When I told him what my coworker had been doing he was so upset and he reminded me that I deserve better. He told me that he wanted me to focus on applying to grad schools & my studies and that he would support me, so I didn’t need to work full time just yet, focus on my studies. My dad loves me and he’s a Black man. He’s a hero to me and I’m so blessed to have him in my life. So, what more of a positive example could I need.
How could I overlook him and the love he shows me just because of one simpleton. I think that’s what it all boils down to…people want to be loved and respected.