The fear of being the “angry black woman at work” 

Time and time again at work, I hear my fellow (few) black colleagues with fear of being labeled angry black women, when something goes wrong.

Is like a non-written rule, not fruit of paranoia or acting out the race card but of years of constant everyday racism examples of just simple ignorance and constant stereotyping about everything about us from our bodies being fetishized, to our minds being diminished or considered volcanic, to even the way we walk and dance.

Can you blame us that we snap at times after enduring this on a daily basis?

Even if we are right in feeling angry because someone was simply a bitch, said or done something against us, often times we don’t speak up for fear of our fellow white British colleagues making a comment or given us a look that we could be angry and hot tempered because we are black.

This happens when black women work in majority white environment but can also transcend in the every corner of our lives. If the people that you surrond yourself with don’t have a diverse relationship once in a while if race issues will come up you will be surprised with some of the missconceptions and their straight up naivity.

Happened again this week, when a colleague of mine felt that another colleague, with the same job title, was nagging at her too much, watching her too much, checking what she has done, how she has done it and how long it took her to finish a task, asking her to do tasks even though there were senior people around and the senior people were not using this colleague to delegate tasks. This employee was doing this for no particular reason since she is considered a good employee that knows what she is doing and just gets on with it.

I asked her why she doesn’t just ask her why she was acting a certain way and her plain answer was “I don’t want to confront her for fear of looking like an “angry black woman”.

Working in a majority white environment, especially a white British working class environment like I do, we always have to deal daily with constant stereotyping, misconceptions and straight up casual racism. Is still difficult to understand to some people that when a black woman is angry she is just an angry… woman. No if’s or but’s, she is simply just a woman….

 

1484079438_370_striking-black-and-white-portraits-of-celebrities-at-the-golden-globes-2017
Viola Davis at the Golden Globes 2017

 

This colleague that was checking on her could be doing that for a variety of reasons but the way she was doing it left this other colleague very uncomfortable.

This is the same colleague that weeks before had another issue with other colleagues that were making fun of her Afro on the bus on the way back from work, snapchatting it all to other colleagues calling her hair brillo pad and toilet brush, and trying to touch her hair without her permission and filming the whole incident on SnapChat without her permission. Then again she felt without power because they on top of their white privilege considered that just work banter and she was just being angry for no reason.

Sometimes is not easy as well to completely judge why a work colleague with the same job title is just being extra bitchy that week and all that bitchiness is directed to one person.

Still, there is this fear and conformity, that I feel as well,  of knowing that if it gets into a discussion or argument often times there are comments and stereotypes directed at us and how the world perceives us as black women.

Not just women with different personalities, star signs, cultures, TPM’S, personal, fears insecurities or work issues but as one group: the angry black

We have all the right to be annoyed or angry sometimes but for the black woman that comes with an array of comments, racism, casual everyday “work banter racism”  that I heard several times, towards me and other people.

How to fix this? How can we slowly finish stereotypes? when will black women be just looked at simply as just women…

  1. have a more diverse work environment, I had an ex that said he had a diverse work environment because there were two women in the top of the company and two British Asian guys, while the rest of the 100+ employees was mainly all white British males. He also could not understand that maybe those white colleagues were at the front of the queue for the jobs, most likely because of their British sounding names and the colour of their skin. took me time to take that in and I couldn’t even answer for a while…white blind privilege is real folks.
  2. Teach in school the real history and atrocities of how the British Empire became an Empire. Teach also not just examples of white British people but also all the amazing work that people of other ethnicities made to shape this country.
  3. Have a more diverse media, this will slowly break down any stereotypes that people might have and also give the younger children something to look up to. Representation and having posite examples of black people in the media is as important for black children as it is for children of other nationalities.

 

Have you heard steriotypes being directed at you or at somebody at work because of the way they reacted from a situation?

Being white what is your take on white privelege? If someone says that you have white privelege will you aknowledge it, take offense, deny it?

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