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diaryofanegress

Observations of an Invisible Woman

Archive for the category “Nasty Co-workers”

Working While Black

Black man in the office

This is just my observation. But in the work place when an black person is quiet and keeps to one self , I thinks this makes whites uneasy. Or when there are too many black employees together they find a way to break that up as well. I think black people freak white people out in the workplace…is this some carry over from slavery? Do they think blacks, like during slavery, are going to revolt and cause an insurrection?  —–  Mary Burrell

I say this with no exaggeration. Working in white corporate AmeriKlan has taken years off my life. On Sunday nights (and some weekday nights, depending on my shift) a wave of insomnia and terror overrides me. I am filled with apprehension and cold, paralyzing fear of entering my prison plantation called The Hospital. I toss and turn, anticipating Demons who will tear at me, lie on me, meddle with my machine, obstruct my dictation, interfere with my patient load and virtually try to destroy me.

I am the sole black in a sea of white people who fear me, envy my abilities and hate the ground I walk on. To say that I’ve developed a psychological trauma is putting it lightly. I make every effort to codify myself around them, to protect my hair and thusly my aura around them to no avail. They flock to me. Stare at me. Criticize me. Ask me questions that no sane person would ask and drain me Spiritually and emotionally. Without my strong faith in The High Creator, I would slip into the mouth of madness…or become someone that would make my mother weep.

I say this with no exaggeration that working in white corporate AmeriKlan is akin to a slave plantation with overseers in every corner, every hiding place, every crevice. And their number one goal is to bring you to your knees.

Since my blog is designed for us to heal, learn and share, I shall give my family an opportunity to vent out their frustrations and ask questions about workplace violence. Yes…you read correctly. I call it like I see it. What is being done to us is violence. It is real. It is Deadly. And it is a very effective from of menticide.

Do you have a story to share? And can you help Miss Mary and answer her very astute question?

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Confessions of a White Racist: Chronicle Four

“Can I ask you something?”

I looked up into the eyes of my patient. “Yes?”

“Why do you people twist your hair into ropes?”

****rubs temples****

As I contemplated telling my rich, white patient to go fuck herself, I wondered for the umpteenth time why EVERYONE has a fascination with our hair. The question brought me back to my childhood in Ameriklan where white children would ask to touch my hair then call me a Nappy-headed nigger. The Creator gave us spiral waves, in the exact form of hue-man DNA, as a Spiritual antenna to connect with the universe in all Her glory. Our hair, in its natural state, absorbs energies from Nature, animals, the soil and each other. Unfortunately, it also absorbs Demonic forces. These energies are then transmitted to our Chakras:

African Spirit or “Ba”

Which is why you often times “pick up on someone’s vibe.” It is very real and is currently being used to oppress us. That’s why, Black Family, I seldom go out without my head scarf.

Our hair, which is the MOST diversified texture on earth, can be shaped and styled to our liking and in many cultures throughout the diaspora, can represent ceremonial traditions, marriage or even Princedom. These are traits that many emulate and try to pass off as their own invention:

Wannabe

Dreadlocks, also called Natty Dread, locks or ras, are simply left to coil and tangle on their own without the use of combing. As old as time, Moses, Samson and Jesus himself were said to have dreadlocks. The Ras Tafari movement made this style synonymous with their deep connection to God, Nature and reggae music. Today, blacks sport many styles of hair:

Natural Woman

As for my patient, I thought about my mortgage before I replied, “To be one with the Creator.”

She said nothing.

Dear Diary #3

I read the bible off and on and I must admit, I rather enjoy it. Whether or not you believe in the Most High, it is truly the Greatest Story Ever Told. I grew up in a household where spirituality is apart of life. I am also my Grandmother’s Soul. So when I meet certain people who give off a certain “vibe” and the hairs on the back of neck begin to tingle, I always know to follow my instincts.

X is an older 50-ish white woman at my job. Married to a well-off former salesman, she lives in the “nice” part of town, drives a Corvette and can retire early if she chooses. From the moment I met her on my interview, I knew there was something about her that I didn’t like.

X, like most whites I’ve met, is terrified of me. I picked up on her aura while she, just she, bombarded me with questions on my schooling, grades and level of education on my first day of work. She looked at my resume unbeknowst to me and questioned its validity. As I quietly watched her, I grew more and more sure of my initial assessment of her and wondered when the bomb would drop.

One day, while I was at another campus, X took a phone call from a psychiatric patient who made a series of unfounded complaints about my conduct. She immediately took her long-awaited opportunity to malign me and took the complaint to the director of the department. I knew from the jovial way she greeted me the next morning that something was awry but I had no idea it was a company write-up.

Frustrated, I asked my supervisor why the word of an unstable man was being taken over a loyal employee. I never did get that answer.

As I walked to the hospital’s tiny chapel to ask God why, I was reminded of my family’s explanation that demons walk the Earth in human form. I walked back to my department with a heavy heart needing some explanation for this never-ending curse on humanity when I spotted X looking at me. The corners of her thin, brightly-coloured lipsticked lips were curled maliciously into a “C” and her eyes gleamed. It was then that I realized my torture and terror was her heaven on Earth. The Spirit of my grandma whispered into my ear, “Demon.”

Rules of Survival While at Work

Awhile back, a commenter, HunglikeJesus, asked me to formulate a post on survival in the white world. I had just done the 3 D’s of White Supremacy and he wanted a follow-up post…but just for us. So I did the best I could:

Rule #1. Never speak any thought out loud around the supremacist. Anything you say can and will be used against you.

Rule #2. Never discuss your personal life. This is BIG. Whites are always in our faces. Especially at work. “Oh! Where did you get your training? Do you live around here? Wow! You speak so well! Did you go to Harvard?” This is known as psychological interviewing…where you sum up your enemy to see “what you’re up against.” Also, resist the urge to share about your new car, your husband’s promotion, your kitchen remodel. ANY indication that you’re doing well will inflame them.

I’ve learned to simply say, “Why do you want to know?” That throws them because now they must answer…which puts them on the spot. If they come back at you, which they probably will, say: “Listen, not to be rude but I don’t like discussing my personal life at work.” Remember to keep your voice even-toned so they can’t claim that you became “aggressive.”

Rule #3. Tell your family members not to call or email you using the COMPANY TELEPHONE OR INTERNET. Why? I.T. can trace all calls and messages and it can be used against you. My boss did that to me once and I was caught off guard. Now, when I make calls, it’s from my cell phone only.

Rule #4. I CANNOT SAY THIS ENOUGH: DON’T GOSSIP!!!!! Have you ever been in this situation:

White woman: I can’t stand the new supervisor.

You: Yeah…I know…she’s seems a little out of touch.

White woman: Out of touch? How?

You: You know…she tells us about how we need to cut the budget, yet she buys a new car.

White woman: Ohhhhhh…yes, yes, yes…exactly.

Two days later, you are brought into the office…and reprimanded! Don’t gossip! It leads no where, except the unemployment line.

Rule #5. Some of you may be required to attend company picnics, parties, ice cream socials, etc…If liquor is served, don’t drink any! Stick to water and say that alcohol gives you diarrhea, heartburn, the hives, dizziness…whatever…just don’t drink any. When you are intoxicated, you leave yourself open to suggestion, if you know what I’m saying.

Rule #6. Most whites at work will feel threatened by any intelligent black person. This is a fact. My own co-worker put this one patient in harms way just to spite me with a Vascular procedure called a A-V Fistula scan for dialysis. Without getting too technical, a fistula is created when a patient has something called end stage renal failure or ESRD. This fistula is utilized to clean the blood and essentially keep the patient alive. My co-worker pretended not to know about a particular fistula, when I asked for a consult, to make me look foolish in front of the Nephrologist. If possible, do your own research on that machine, that protocol, that new rule…anything…except go to them. Or simply ask for help with Human Resources.

Rule #7. Black men, hear my plea, do not for any reason, be alone with a white woman unsupervised. When I was working in New Jersey at this wealthy hospital, we had a black man as the Chief Nuclear Medicine Tech. With his tall and strapping good looks and 3, yes…3 degrees, administration had no choice but to elevate him to Chief status. That meant that doctors went to him for advice…Now, there is a rule with our male staff: All male practitioners must have a female chaperone while with a female patient. So, having said that, listen to this short story:

One morning, around 2 am, X was called in for an emergency. The surgeon wanted quick answers so he wrote the order and X got to work. Not thinking that anything was going to happen, he never thought to call the floors to get a female chaperone. He performed the test, dictated the results and sent the patient back to her room. A few days later, he was called in to H.R. with accusations of “misconduct.” He was fired. Went on unemployment and his record, tarnished.

Black men, if you are doctors, nurses, construction workers…don’t be alone with a white woman period.

Rule #8. Write it down. If someone says something to you…and that funny voice in your head says, “Hmmmmm……” write down names, time and dates. Keep a log so if shit hits the fan, you have backup.

Rule #9. Communicate by email. Words can be twisted. Email is tangible. Keep your email short and to the point.

Rule #10. If you suspect that you are being sabotaged, run to H.R. with a typed and NOTARIZED letter. Keep it factual, not emotional and have a copy for yourself. This paper trail will maybe save your job.

Anything else I missed?

Dear Diary… #2

Last night I cleaned out my junk drawer and found the business card that I should’ve thrown out years ago. It was from my very first professional job interview. I was a new grad and eager and desperate to land my first job. I drove to a little upstate New York hospital after having a dynamite phone interview. We hit it off straight way. I dazzled him with my personality and even though he knew I was a novice, he welcomed me to meet him face to face.

Nervous and wanting to make a good impression, I picked up a large box of doughnuts, bagels and coffee from the local coffee shack. When I entered the building, I swear, movement slowed down. All of a sudden, people just turned around to openly stare at me. It was then that I knew just how very black I was.

The receptionist looked…uneasy as I approached her. Remembering my Rules of Talking to White People Manual, I smiled at her. I told her I was here to see Mr. X, from the Nursing Department. She made no move or sound. I explained that he was expecting me. She stammered, ” Have a seat, uh, miss, and I’ll let him know you’re here.”

I sat down and scanned the room. I was the only black face there.

Again.

I began to notice how everyone that walked by me was trying ever so carefully not to look at me. It was then that Mr. X walked up to me, shuffled his feet and said tentatively, ” Miss Truthbetold?” I nodded and offered him my brightest smile and extended my hand to shake. He hesitated before accepting it. We walked down this narrow corridor and I noticed that not one person who passed by looked at me directly. You know that old Urban Legend: If you look directly at a Negress, you’ll turn to dust?

I sat down when prompted and pulled out my meager resume. I was shaking. I knew that this would not end well. I felt his “vibe” all over me. He looked at my resume and said he was sorry but the department needed an experienced person. They couldn’t train anyone new. I felt defeated And for a reason that I could not explain…ashamed. I wanted to cry but stubbornly I kept my eyes dry and voice even.

“OK. Well, thanks for your time.” I got up to leave and half expected him to say something reassuring. He said nothing. I got in my car and the dam burst. I cried for allowing myself to feel the exhilaration of hope. I cried for the hate stares I received that penetrated me. For the lies he told…he knew damn well I was a novice. I cried for wasting my gas to drive up to that damn racist place. I cried for the way my blackness made everyone uncomfortable. I cried for my weakness and my curse that will never be lifted. I cried in despair. I cried in rage. I cried in fear of never finding a job.

I cried because I am black.

I drove home with a deeper understanding of what it means to be black in AmeriKlan. No college course could ever teach me that. I would no longer doubt that I was imagining things when I felt that “vibe” coming from whites. I would no longer doubt that AmeriKlan hated me for no other reason than the colour of my skin. And perhaps, most importantly, I would never again allow anyone to diminish my Black Pride. With each toll booth that passed, my depression lifted and became defiant rage. I thought about this unknown, uneasy feeling I’ve had my whole life. It was called Blackness. And now, I knew its name.

What was your first job related racist experience?

Dear Diary #1

I got a phone call last night from X, a white ex-classmate of mine. I was surprised to hear from her. We weren’t that close. She told me that she found the piece of paper in her address book that had my number on it and she felt the urge to call me. I listened as she explained how she felt regarding an incident that had happened when we worked and studied together.

When we were students, we ended up in the same hospital for our clinical rotation. It was a monstrous hospital, ever growing and very hard to get into. She, being a blonde from Staten Island, fitted in nicely with the other girls who loved to talk about TV shows, waxing their eyebrows and dumb things their boyfriends did.

Me, being black, working class, from NYC, who prefered books to TV and never revealed anything too personal…well…you know the rest. To say I stuck out like a sore thumb was putting it mildly. There was a tension in the room at all times whenever I was present. I now know that the name of that tension is called, “White Anxiety“. There was this one Italian girl, let’s call her Y, who hated the sight of me. Y did everything in her power to fuck me up. From giving me wrong information about policies and procedures, banning me from entering the patient’s room( that’s how we learned pertinent exams…from observing ) and…finally, writing a letter to the administration team of my school, imploring them not to let me graduate. I was written, in great detail, to be: Absent( 2 times in my entire internship ), argumentative, defiant, slow, aggressive and as someone who will “never make it.”

I cried openly the day when I was summoned to the administrator’s office. School was expensive and we didn’t have the money to begin with. They wondered what had happened to cause this woman to say such atrocious things about my character especially when I had gotten good reviews everywhere else. I pondered the consequences of telling the truth. I lied. I said I don’t know. From the look on his face, I knew that he didn’t believe me. The thing that stuck out for me, was this girl X. The same girl who witnessed my pain and suffering but said nothing. She saw and heard…but turned the blind eye. I’m not mad. Her education and career was on the line too. As you can guess, I did graduate and eventually moved on to my career.

So…why the phone call from X? It was to tell me that the day she found my number on the crumpled piece of paper, guilt hit her and she couldn’t sleep. She explained how she wanted to say something in my defense but nerves and fear won out over doing the “right thing.” She said she was sorry for all the things that happened and wishes now, that she, a mother of a black boy and wife to a black man, had spoken out on racism in the workplace. She asked me to forgive her for something so potent, so dangerous yet so widespread…silence.

Sure, X. No problem. That was ages ago. But now that your eyes are finally opened…please…next time…speak.

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