Don't Be a Proverbial Crab-in-a-Barrel in 2009 and Beyond!
--Having a preference for reporting to a White manager because they can so-call “do more for you” and are “just better,” which results in some of us being resentful for being “stuck” with a Black manager;
--Engaging in a work slow-down, when given an assignment by a Black supervisor/manager;
--Intentionally holding on to an assignment in order to cause work delays for a Black supervisor/manager and out of a sense that you have to be “begged,” which makes you feel important;
--Intentionally turning in sloppy work to a Black supervisor/manager or coworker;
--Pretending not to know how to do something or how a process works, when asked about it by Black coworkers;
--Accusing Black coworkers of being “fake,” a “wanna-be,” etc. because they have been deemed not to be “ghetto” or “real” enough and making these statements to Black AND White coworkers;
--Knowingly spreading false gossip about Black coworkers to White coworkers or actually telling their personal business to White coworkers.
--Being complicit in targeting a Black coworker for mistreatment after they’ve complained of abuse;
--Accepting money and/or a promotion or some other reward for false testimony against a Black coworker;
--Lying to investigators about what happened to a Black coworker (e.g., saying you don’t know anything), not out of fear for your job, but because you don’t “owe them anything;”
--Intentionally making false statements about a Black coworker, who has complained of race-based discrimination, harassment or retaliation;
--Openly finding humor or getting pleasure out of a Black person being targeted by management; and
--Saying there is no racism in the workplace, just because a Black person has complained about it and not because it is true;
These are just examples. I’m sure some readers could greatly expand on this list.
The sad truth is many of us still have a plantation mentality. Instead of focusing on our condition, we focus on what’s petty and we may treat each other in an intentionally harmful manner. We set up false competitions with each other. We envy each other because of success or reward. We seek to bring someone down, who we think believes they are superior to us (e.g., they “talk White,” went to a “good school,” etc.). We find reasons or don’t need reasons to be uncooperative. We feel a loyalty to Whites because we’re grateful they “let us” have a job. We’ve seen friends and family treat each other this way and treat other Blacks this way. We simply may not know any better. There are all sorts of reasons for Blacks hating on each other and walking around with a “that ni**er ain’t shit!” attitude about another Black person.
We need to stop being so quick to tear each other down. We need some self-reflection…a moment to stop and ask why we engage in this behavior. We need to strive to change what is internally wrong with how we think about and treat other Black people. We need to treat each other with the same respect we demand from Whites in the workplace.
It’s fine not to deal with someone and develop a reasonable rationale for why you don’t care for them. But, with Blacks, from my experience, you have people sniping and carrying on with people they don’t know enough not to like.
“That b*tch think she cute.”
“That motherf*cka thinks he’s so smart.”
“He ain’t gonna tell me what to do.”
“She thinks she can boss me around.”
“She don’t mean sh*t to me.”
I’ve heard it all before and more than once. Just trying to be difficult and trying to find a way to cause some grief. Many of us don’t mind being crabs in the barrel.
When it comes to the workplace, we will never free ourselves from discrimination and other illegal behavior, when we choose to focus on needlessly destroying and being difficult with the Black people we work with. This reinforces our targeting by those in the workplace, who would choose to treat us in a disparate and unequal fashion.
We can’t fight the real battles that need our intention, if we simply desire to focus on petty squabbles of our own making. Let’s all look inside ourselves this year and identify how we may be contributing to any issues in the workplace and how we can make things better. And, let’s strive to stop being difficult with each other for reasons that are without merit!