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Don’t Put Your Labels On Me – Part II

Don’t Put Your Labels On Me – Part II

Here we are yet again… *sigh*

I’ve had multiple instances in the past couple of weeks where someone (in this case WASP / White Anglo Saxon Protestant female manager bolstered by another authoritative WASP woman) automatically assumed I was lying and tried to “catch” me by offering up what they saw as “proof”. I had to write detailed explanations of the circumstances, justify myself and provided my own absolutely irrefutable proof that I was indeed being ethical and truthful from the very beginning. (I.e. I shut this mess down quickly with perfect tact, professionalism and screen grabs.) This was followed by the most insulting five words I’ve heard in recent memory, “Thank you for your honesty.”

Thank you for your honesty?! That insinuates that you assume that everything I say and/or do is fabricated until you feel you have sufficient proof that I’m telling the truth. This coming from the same non-POC people who, when the tables are turned, and I KNOW that non-POC has glaringly lied through their perfectly veneered teeth, tell me to “assume positive intent” or that I “misunderstood” what they said/did/asked/instructed/demanded. I am positive that it was intended to make me out a thief of time, a fabricator of salacious falsehoods and unethical to boot. Nothing there to misunderstand.

To compound all of this and add insult to injury, the earlier exchange is later followed by a backhanded compliment of a recorded WebEx presentation I did 3-4 weeks ago saying, “… it was very professional and easy to follow. I was very impressed with your presentation skills…”. There again are the micro aggressions.

It is automatically ASSumed that we are lying. It is automatically ASSumed that, despite our experience and education, we don’t have the same or better skill set than our white counterparts. And when we prove we ARE telling the truth and we DO have the knowledge and expertise, they are “impressed” with our professionalism and presentation skills. You ASSume because of my milk chocolate hued skin, my Afrocentric name and my love of head wraps that I couldn’t possibly be poised and polished and able to lead, teach, and inform the masses, let alone the white masses. I have to prove to you beyond what is expected of my white counterparts that I AM and that I CAN.

This is what it is to be black in Corporate America. This is what it is to be black in America, period.

#staywoke #resist #DiaryOfAMadBlackProfessionalWoman

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Why Black Lives, Like All Lives, Matter

Why Black Lives, Like All Lives, Matter

Anyone who knows me well knows that I tend to stay away from politics and religion on social media. It isn’t to say that I don’t have an opinon on global politics, domestic policy or theological discourse; I’m just not one of those people who go back and forth with strangers via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (no judgement on those who do choose to do so). One person asked me if I was scared to put my thoughts out into the abyss of cyberspace, if I had a fear of people speaking out against me. The short answer is “no”, I have no fear of anyone else’s opinions, I’m strong in my beliefs and have no issue speaking on them when asked. If not wanting to bandy words with those that are militant, racist, facist and/or ignorant is cowardice then you can call me such and I wouldn’t care. 

I say all this as a preface to what comes next. In the last days and months I’ve seen many Facebook posts regarding the Black Lives Matter movement. Today I saw one about a correspondent on Fox News categorizing the entire movement as a ‘hate group’ and ‘murder movement’. And though I’m not surprised by this type of coverage from Fox News, I am surprised at how much hate against the Black Lives Matter movement has been generated. So here’s a combination “Grinds My Gears”/PSA post:

First of all, ALL lives matter.  No one deserves to be beaten, brutalized or murdered. We are all deserving of justice and civility, no matter our socioeconomic status, race or anyone else’s perception of who and what we are.  However, there are those in this vast country that feel and think otherwise. There are those who would deem that Black lives are expendable, disposable and nothing of worth.  This country has seen Blacks ripped from their home countries and shipped across the Middle Passage as chattel. They have been enslaved, raped, beaten, tortured, denigrated, degradated, and had to fight for basic civil rights. From the first day that the first Black person set foot on the soil of this country, they have been deemed less than human and not deserving of the same rights as those who brought them here. Fast forward 150 years after the abolition of slavery, 61 years after the overturning of Plessy vs. Ferguson and 50 years after the enactment of the Voter’s Right Act and still we are called niggers in rants by civil servicemen and lay people alike on Twitter and Facebook. All these years later we as a people are still denegrated and terrorized by those who would and should protect us. 

*As a footnote, I am not speaking of or making a generalization of all peace officers. Just like not all Black males have criminal tendencies and/or backgrounds, not all peace keepers are bigoted, racist or impart injustice on John Q Public. While I absolutely do not condone nor relish in violence against the police, neither do I condone police brutality. Revenge is not an appropriate response to the events of late, it just further widens the gap of racial and social discourse.*

When we consistently and repeatedly see Blacks being accosted and killed just because they are Black, it is no surprise that we have spoken up. When these sad and unnecessary deaths are caught on video and the perpetrators are not held accountable, we speak up. Sadly until you have been accosted, descriminated against, called nigger, black monkey or told “you are so articulate” in a tone that imbides that they are surprised that you have any command of the English language, you’ll never understand why Black lives matter. 

If the power structure was reversed; if history was flip flopped and it was Blacks who enslaved Whites; it was Whites who had to fight and die for the right to vote and send their children to school; if it was Black police officers employing brute force, chokeholds, knees in necks and shooting of unarmed Whites, would you be so critical?  Would you not stand up and say “White Lives Matter”?

  

 

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Stay In Your Lane

 

      When does the status quo become a bore to you?  When does the same routine day in and day out become monotonous and you finally say that enough is enough? It has been said that the only constant thing in life is change.  I couldn’t tell you who said it, why they said it or when, but it definitely rings true. Life is a series of hills and valleys, ups and downs, periods of joy and sadness.  Have you ever watched the Olympics Track and Field competition?  I don’t mean the 100 m or 400 m, hurdles or high jump; there is an event called the Steeplechase. It is a 3000 meter race where each lap has four barriers and one water jump at the back-end of it.  Each runner has to complete 7 laps, meaning they have to clear 28 barriers and seven water jumps.  The barriers do not fall over if the runner hits them and they are able to get over the barrier by any means; stepping on top of them, jumping over them, however they cannot negotiate them by going around them.

      The athletes have to focus on what is ahead and be aware of the other runners in relation to where they are.  Life is just like the steeplechase; we are all running the race together and face some of the same obstacles and barriers in life, but each of us approach them differently.  In knowing where you are in relation to others, you may be inspired by the way that someone else prevailed and choose to try your own variation of their method as an alternative to yours.  However, you cannot pay too much attention to the other runners.  You cast sideways glances at them and know that each of us runs our race at a pace.  We focus too much on the circumstances and situations in our lives, when we should be more concerned with how to surmount them and move forward in life.  How can you effectively run this race if you are so busy worrying about the person in the lane next to you or 3 lanes over?  How will you see the turn ahead if you are telling the ref how to do their job?

     Stay in your lane, run the race that God has placed you in.  The race is different for all of us; we have different barriers to navigate and various difficulties to overcome.  At each turn a hurdle presents itself and if we stop at the issue, the problem, the situation, we will be left behind in life.  We will be unable to get to the end goal, the finish line, where God waits with our laurels, our crowns and the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant”.  The same blockade may present itself more than once, but look at it as maybe you didn’t handle it right the first time.  Instead of trying to go around it, face it head on.  You may have to climb instead of jump; Step on and over, using it as a platform to catapult yourself forward, rather than vaulting over it.  I stay in my lane and use God’s Word to face my fears and to bring me through.  Maybe someone will cast a sideways glance during their race and see that my plan for overcoming, prayer and devotion to God, may help them. 

Athletes compete in the Women’s 3000m Steeplechase Heats at the National Stadium
Stu Forster / Getty Images

 Blessings and Happiness

T. Nicole

 

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