Get Out of Your Own Way...
I keep thinking about that expression based on some things happening at work now. As I've written, recently, we've had some issues at my job with Black workers stealing. And, we've also had some terminations based on the behavior of Black workers.
For instance, we had one Black worker (male) do a rap song about another Black worker (female) saying that she was "Black and crispy...fat and ugly." He did this in front of White customers and had the guests laughing at this Black female...along with some of our coworkers.
More negative interactions transpired between the two of them and the Black male was terminated. But, here's what's interesting...
other Black female workers in the store are defending this guy and attacting the darker-skinned female worker. Some people aren't speaking to her anymore or are treating her differently.
Some of the women say..."oh, she just played the victim." They're commenting on her voice (high-pitched), her boyfriend (ugly), and all sorts of things (she provoked him) that have nothing to do with the fact that she was humiliated in public for being dark-skinned.
Now, the male worker told me he said things he shouldn't have said because he was mad at the female worker. Yet, the rest of the Black female workers won't make the same admission...that he shouldn't have called her names such as "black and crispy" for ANY REASON!
I have said point blank to a number of them, "You shouldn't have to be her complexion to be offended by what was said." I've asked, "How can any Black woman in here, regardless of color, side with him?" And, I've asked why they are defending him. It's like talking to a brick wall and it shows just how deep the troubles in the Black community still are--particularly in relation to skin tone.
I truly believe that these women don't care what he called her because they secretly agree. She is very dark. And, I guess because of their own feelings on color, they are not bothered by the names she was called. You can see it in their faces that they are cool with it, even though this woman had been their "friend" and even rides the train with some of the people who are now attacking her for "having this guy fired." But, he got himself fired.
I think we, as people, have such a hard time getting out of our own way, and it's illuminated by situations such as this. We block our blessings and make our collective lives so much harder. Crabs in a barrel. Always pulling and tugging on each other and dragging each other down.
Even in the workplace, where we depend so much on our livelihood, we still can't help but to contribute to an environment that is poisonous to us all.
The worst part of this is that a White worker has been one of the most vocal supporters of this Black woman and wrote a statement about the names she was called. While the Black and Hispanic workers, who were also present, said they didn't hear anything or that it wasn't a big deal--without giving details.
If this White worker had called a Black worker "black and crispy" how much do you want a bet that the same Black women, who don't care about a Black man saying it, would be in an uproar? "He's a racist." "We need to do something." "He should be fired." Those would be the rallying cries.
But, the attacker looked like them and they can't bring themselves to empathize and side with the victim.
We can't get out of our own way.
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