RSS

Tag Archives: T. Nicole Graham

Don’t Put Your Labels On Me

Don’t Put Your Labels On Me

This is an open letter to those well-intended progressive folks who just don’t seem to get it. 

I’ve been called a lot of things in my nearly 35 years of life on this planet. Some of which have been positive and quite flattering. I’ve been praised on my poise and work ethic, my ability to rise above corporate politics and pettiness. Yet, I don’t take these as compliments so to speak. I see them for what they are, micro aggressions. “You carry yourself so well.. you are so well-spoken.” What? Am I supposed to walk around staring at my 4 inch pumps, afraid to make direct eye contact with those around me and speak in unintelligible and muted tones? 

I’m sick and tired of speaking up for myself, or others when that need arises, when I’m mistreated, disrespected or denigrating only to be told to “assume positive intent”.  I’m sick of, “Oh, s/he didn’t mean it that way.”; You’re being too sensitive.”; I’m sure you just took it wrong.”  Then I’m labeled the “Angry Black Woman” because I push back and refuse to be treated any kind of way. Don’t put your labels on me!  And no, I will not assume positive intent. Truthfully your intent is what is really the issue. I am positive that you intended to offend me. I am positive that you intended to “put me in my place”. I am positive that I am intelligent enough to recognize micro aggressions when I encounter them. I am positive that I am cognizant enough to realize when you are trying to fit me into the niche that makes you most comfortable and keeps me in a non-threatening position. 

Just in case you think I am speaking in generalities take these examples into account:

As a HR Consultant I facilitate training seminars and trainings. After my first of two sessions one day, I had a WASP attendee come up to me and say, “I enjoyed your training. You were so well-spoken, I was pleasantly surprised.” I waited a full two heartbeats and asked, “Pleasantly surprised at the training materials?” To which she chuckled and replied, “Oh no, I expected the training materials to be top-notch!” Pleasantly surprised? You were pleasantly surprised that as a Black woman with an Afrocentric name that I have a firm command of the English language? Why should that surprise you? I received the same, if not better, education that you did in this country. Don’t give me a backhanded compliment and then have the audacity to be shocked that I don’t thank you and smile. 

I was working and having lunch in a conference room with group of co-workers who were engaged in separate conversations. Next to me two of them were speaking Spanish and I gathered up the trash and asked in Spanish, “Do you have trash?” I proffered up an open trash bag and waited a few seconds. Suddenly everything stopped and silence reigned. They both  sat there looking dumbfounded and said, “You speak Spanish? I didn’t think you would speak Spanish.” Why are you so shocked that I could possibly speak any language other than English? Am I not capable of learning any language other than my native tongue? Stop making suppositions about my intelligence based on your own limited worldview. By the by, I took 8 years of Spanish beginning in middle school and went through college as well. I also learned Brazilian Portuguese. 

A colleague was upset that I pushed back regarding me wanting to stick to a particular policy and procedure. While I know that there are gray areas and that exceptions will need to be made from time to time, circumventing this particular process would, and did eventually, prove to be detrimental in the end. When approached outside by this colleague I was told what I was and wasn’t going to do. When I professionally, calmly and tactfully pushed back, this person charged up to me, got into my personal space and said “respect my wishes.” When I reported this bullying behavior I got the party line… “s/he was just trying to get you to understand her/his point of view. Assume positive intent.”  I understand and am positive that I was told to “do as I say and don’t question me!”  My status as a POC and a woman does not give you the right to get into my personal space nor to assert your will upon me. I will not back down and say “Yes sir massa/ yes’m missus! I’s gon get right on dat!”  No, absolutely not! If you want respect you need to give it. 

I shouldn’t have to write pieces like this. I shouldn’t have to explain macro and micro aggressions to anyone. What is so disheartening is when I am told, “How dare you question me or say I have White privilege! Prove it to me!” That statement alone is evidence of your privilege. 

Stay woke! 

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Somebody Go Get Donny!

Somebody Go Get Donny!

Typically I start my day early, whether I want to or not, with personal devotion time, prayer and flexing my arthritic toes for half an hour so that I am able to get up and walk. Typically I leave the ignorance, bigotry and just general jackassery that is happening in the world for later in the morning. But I deviated from my routine and looked at the news earlier than usual and was greeted by 45, President Agent Orange, and yet ANOTHER idiotic tweet. 

Why doesn’t an adult take this man’s phone and/or twitter account away from him? He obviously has no one that is willing and ballsy enough to say, “Give me that! WTH dude! You have no chill and no couth! Go eat your Cheerios and watch Ren & Stimpy!”

This is what happens when you let someone with what seems to be a severe, undiagnosed Narcissistic Personality Disorder and who is literally disassociated with reality, attempt to run what used to be the most powerful nation in the world. Before you make an attempt to blast me saying that 45 is just confident and “making America great again”, I offer you to look up the diagnosis criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the DSM-V, Psychology Today or any other reputable scientific journal. Read it for yourself and compare what you have seen with your own eyes and heard with your own ears. Not what I’ve interpreted it to be. But you have to be open and willing to accept what comes next. You will have to ready to recognize, accept and act. Narcissists are TOXIC. They take and give nothing back leaving people, places and things in utter ruin as they pass by.

Look at it and let me know what you see… don’t worry, I’ll wait…

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

My Seat On The Bus

My Seat On The Bus

In the last 72 hours I have learned so much. I opened up to the general public and let the discourse come in. I welcomed the opportunity to have a respectful, open dialogue with others and to share with them the “why” behind the fear and anger that millions of us feel. However, I have seen the paper thin veneer of decency in this country ripped away to expose the seething and venomous hatred that lies just below the surface.  It isn’t that I didn’t know how oblivious and hateful some people are. It’s about the people who, for whatever reason, still think and contend that the hurt, anger, grief and protest (which is protected by the Constitution whether people agree with what we’re protesting about or not) is simply and ONLY about Hillary not being elected. Frankly that is woefully inaccurate, ignorant and delusional. 

 I wrote in my previous blog post that it is so much deeper than that and I meant it. I put it in the plainest of terms; I shared the terrible, painfully racist, xenophobic and violent encounters that were and continue to be reported and was dismissed as spreading propaganda. Are you serious right now?! I don’t know what kind of fairytale world you have created for yourselves but I live in reality. Not some diseased figment of my imagination where racism, sexism, Islamaphobia, xenophobia and hate don’t exist and where all that give voice to discrimination are silenced and told “that isn’t an issue” or “put it back in the deck”. 

From my seat on the bus it isn’t the millions of upset people in this country who are wrong, it is those who perpetrated this atrocity who are. Here’s the kicker as I ride the bus of discontent and heartache and look out the window at the scenes as I pass by: many of you see absolutely NOTHING wrong with all that Donald Trump has said and done. You dismiss and trivialize the POV of millions and you refuse to believe or repudiate any of the hate speech and violence that is being perpetrated by Trump supporters. Hate speech and violence that he spurred on and approved of during these last 18 months. But now wants us to tow the line and unite and heal the racial divide. It’s so much bigger than a divide, it is a chasm that is deeper and wider than the Grand Canyon. 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: