Labels and Stereotypes - The Excuses: I'm/He's/She's Having a Bad Day!
I’m/He’s/She’s Having a Bad Day!
This excuse is clear acknowledgement from a person that they’ve behaved in a way that was inappropriate or they’ve made comments that were completely out of line. This excuse also makes it clear that the offending person doesn’t have a legitimate reason for what they’ve said or done. God forbid White workers, supervisors or managers just apologize and accept responsibility for their words and actions. But, no…they’ll tell a Black worker that they were just having a “bad day.” So, it was the “day’s” fault, not theirs.
Minority staff are often told that we “need be accountable.” But, the same standard often isn’t required of White members of the workforce. White staff are allowed to explain why something was said or done. Black workers have to defend what they say and do, never really being allowed to get to the root cause of why things may have transpired a certain way. We’re too busy using our deflector rings to boomerang attacks against our credibility back to the appropriate target(s). But, the boomerang never really works as intended because it’s hard to score points against an individual who has the presumption of innocence.
Because of this advantage (being allowed to speak and being assumed right/innocent), White workers often have an opportunity to come up with all sorts of lies and excuses that will justify their actions. The catch-all defense, “I’m having a bad day,” is a great umbrella alibi to explain away inappropriate behavior. I’ve heard this excuse being used by White supervisors and staff who:
· blamed staff for problems they actually caused;
· threw papers at staff;
· yelled and cursed at staff;
· got caught slandering a Black worker to other staff;
· had temper tantrums and stormed around the department/office;
· pointed a finger in someone’s face; and
· made inappropriate/offensive comments to staff.
Yes, they were just having a “bad day.” You know, I’m still trying to find “Bad Day” on a calendar—any calendar. There has to be some obscure holiday that proclaims that all can be forgiven in its name, if you simply acknowledge the day. Maybe, “bad day” isn’t so much a holiday as it is a God! I can just see the images of White workers chanting in their offices…
In the name of “Bad Day” I invoke the spirits to remove the memory of me calling the secretary a “monkey.”
It’s funny though. African Americans don’t have bad days. We just aren’t allowed. It doesn’t matter if a loved one is hospitalized, if we just ended a long-term relationship, if we’re being followed by a stalker, etc. Nothing is supposed to have an impact on a Black person’s behavior at work and nothing is an excuse for perceived ill behavior. But, for White folks…it’s just a bad day.
Oh, why didn’t you just say so? Fuhgetaboutit! I really wasn’t too offended by the “tar baby” comment anyway!
That wraps up the racist labels and stereotypes, as well as the excuses used by the perpetrators. If you’ve got some stereotypes or excuses to share, post them in this thread or send an email to email@example.com!