My Fight with The Man (Part I)

Yeah, this title could mean a lot of different things . . . But I will just expand on one such subject that falls under this blanket statement. Everyone who has known me a long time; knows that most people consider me the whitest black girl to ever exist in life. And I have been okay with that title, because really, who is it hurting. Certainly not me, not by a long shot. But in this year that I have been working with numerous Pale People, I have come to realize a few things about racial acceptance vs. tolerance.

The rest of this blog might be considered racially insensitive, or even rude, but really, suck a cock because it must be put out there. I must of course place a disclaimer on my statements, and say that they are not directed toward anyone one specific, and let everyone know they are my own thoughts, and not those of others. They are just statements, and should not be taken as a verbal or written attack on anyone. I just feel the need to talk about I have observed.

Okay, let’s first talk about us, the Black folk, and how we are generally perceived in the work force. Now, half of the people that I know work for the Pale people, and they don’t have any issues with working for them… They have never felt slighted in the least way, nor have they felt racially profiled in anyway. And that is great for them. . . . But for the other half of my friends that have experienced the things I have, I know you will feel me when I say, that as long as you go along with their prescribed plan for you, you are good. It’s when you jump outside the box, and do something they didn’t expect you to do, that you have these issues.

And we are not talking about blatant showing of this racism that lingers just below the surface, but more the sub-conscious indignation at your success. Yeah, that happens to me all the time. In college, when I had the nerve to not attend class and yet ace all the tests, numerous people in the school of education were PISSED. The Little Black Girl should only be able to do this, this, and this. And how dare she exceed, after someone not her color who is here every day is struggling in this classroom. And like I said, this isn’t blatant, it’s a sub-conscious thing. But when a School of Education, which encompasses about 1000 students, changes their attendance policy because one student comes to class when she damn well pleases, and can still pass, you start to notice stuff. Like the fact that the only person effected by this change, which was applied retro-actively, was me . . . hmmmmmmmmm. And this isn’t even dealing with the whole Corporate Glass ceiling issue. Because until this summer, I had never encountered it. But this summer, it hit me in the face, hard as hell.

Now let me tell you a story, about a Little Black Girl who was lost. Who had no clue where she was going in her life, and stumbled upon a job at a school on the East Side of Some City. Now, she is a happy person, Little Black Girl. She gets along with most people, and because she gets along with children, she does well. Well enough that that lady in charge of the program notices her, and starts to pay attention to her. They talk about the school system, and the things that must happen in order for them to change. And said person who is in charge of the program offers her a summer job.

You could even say that Little Black Girl stalked her way into the job, because she made herself invaluable to the program. So, she got hired for the summer. At an exorbitant rate per hour, more than she could ever have fathomed receiving at such a young age. And she was excited, she made plans for the 3 checks that summer school would have netted her, like Little Black Girls do, and made sure that she planned a trip to her favorite city. But right before this dream job started, she was hit with injustice. She was told that no one in her company had ever received that high of a rate of pay, and she would have to accept 9 dollars less an hour . . .

And she went along with it, because she was just happy to have said money. (I know this is a long story, but it’s a build up, it will be worth it) Now, once again, she made herself invaluable to the director of the summer program, and was offered a job for the fall. At once again, more than she would have ever considered making in her lifetime, let alone at her age. And once again, she was shut down, and told that she should accept what she had been given.

But Little Black Girl had come to realize that, if it’s not your money, and you aren’t losing it, then why do you care how much you are being paid. Then LBG had an epiphany, one of those, “Well Son of a Bitch that Explains EVERYTHING!” moments when she realized that she was being denied her pay, not because others had never been paid that amount, but because she was a Little Black Girl. And it offended the senses of the LWM in charge that LBG would make in 2 weeks what they made in a month.

I tell you this story to began the bulk of this blog . . . I had been de-sensitized to the racial tensions around me. I was raised around the Pale people; hell most of my friends until college were Pale People. All but one and Stacey doesn’t really count because she is a Halfie. Now I am not one of those Damn the Man type of people, because I believe in racial harmony, and love, and togetherness, and all that White Girl Lifetime shit . . . But working on the East Side of Some City has really opened my eyes to the plight of “My People.”

I have lived my life as the Token. The racially soft version of the Black Girl, with the ethnically neutral Name, and Voice. A voice so Ethnically neutral, that I was asked to make phone calls for my job, because people called back and gave us money, because my voice was just so pleasant. Now I don’t have a problem being the Token, so some extent. However, the problem arose, when I had the audacity to show my full potential, and reach outside the box that I have been put in. The box which told you I was only good for making your phone calls, but not training people. The box that told you that I was good for working with black children, but not for the others. The box that told you, that my curly hair is safe, but the afro isn’t.

In the corporate world, we all have to kow-tow, to get to where we want in life. But at a certain point, the kow-towing must stop. The time for the step and shuffle is far beyond me. I was appalled and frankly hurt, when I realized that I was being denied what was due me based on nothing but fear of me as an unknown. But lately, a lot of my views on the world have been changed, and I think for the better. Sometimes it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the truths that have been staring me in the face all this time, but I have.

Truth

*You will never move up in a company, you must create your own, and move at your pace
*No one cares about your sob story, or your extenuating circumstances. You have to move beyond them, or be able to explain them in a sentence
*The only people who are going to look out for you are people that look at the bottom line
*The bottom line is money: Who makes me Money, and How Can I get more from them
*We are sending Black children out in the world with an ignorance so profound they will never be able to function in normal society

That last truth scares the hell out of me. I went to really good schools, my mother struggled to give me the best education she could, and for good reason. Education is the key for anyone. The fact that I work with students who in 5th grade read on a 1st grade level, is absurd to me. And yes, I know that part of the problem is the politics that go on within the school systems. But the biggest problem is us. We don’t care enough for our youth to take them by the hand, and guide them. To expose them to something outside of their neighborhood, their city, their state, their country. We are continuing to breed this ignorance. We don’t require the basic things from our children. A non-ebonical method of speech, a high school diploma, a GPA of more than 2.0.

The things that we expected, neigh DEMANDED of me and my circle of friends. Until recently I didn’t know how blessed I was to have had a mother that knew the names of my teachers, and knew what homework I had to do, and made sure that I did it. If we don’t start taking this children under our wing, and steering them into the mainstream, they will die. Die, while languishing in their ignorance, and “Hood” Mentality. They won’t be able to acclimate themselves to society, that is still run by the Pale People.

The same people who can deny you credit based on your name. That can deny you a job based on your skin color, not your qualifications. But if you are qualified, they will have a harder doing it. We have got to step up to the plate, when parents are not. When parents are stuck in the cycle that has become regarded are the Black Way of Life, those of us who are privileged enough to have, in some cases, risen above our circumstances and excelled. Don’t look at the ignorant young kid that you see blasting their music, and shake your head in pity. Instead, why don’t you take him to the side and let him know it’s inappropriate to do so.

No, I don’t want to save every child in the ghetto with a hug, but I do want to see more black children who know something outside of 50 Cent and Young Joc. Who know more dances than the Solider Boy and the Cupid Shuffle. Who have seen more movies than Soul Plane and other such coonery. I am sorry if I sound preachy, and I seem to have gotten slightly off topic, but not really. All I want is to have us not have to fight The Man for every damn thing. I want for us, as a People, to become The Man, or at least work right alongside of him.

So Thanx for reading of this very long blog, and please let me know what you think about what I wrote.

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