31 Things You Have To Deal With As The Only Black Person In Your Office

Please, for the love of God, stop trying to “raise the roof.”

1. You encounter a lot of ideas that have just clearly not been thought through.

2. You’ve noticed that people get weirdly uncomfortable when describing someone as black and quickly say “African-American” instead.

As if black is an insult. SMH.

3. When you show up with a different hairstyle, the ENTIRE OFFICE LOSES ITS SHIT.

 

4. You imagine all the hours of your life you could get back if you could remove this alienating small talk from your day.

5. You find yourself teaching some very basic lessons.

6. But you’re always nervous about asserting yourself because it’s interpreted as being too “loud” or “aggressive” or “angry,” no matter what you say.

7. You have to deal with that one co-worker who insists on speaking to you in corny, outdated slang.

8. Everybody expects you to have the Black History Month event/bulletin board planned months ahead of time.

9. You’ve been told you look like [insert any black pop culture figure here], whether or not you look like them. At all.

You smile and take it as a compliment but you’ve begun to take note of all the co-workers who have LITERALLY NEVER LOOKED AT YOUR FACE.

10. You may have also been told that you remind someone of their black childhood babysitter…

11. People feel compelled to slip into conversation that they know someone does [insert do-gooder activity here] involving “underprivileged” communities.

Netflix / Via uproxx.com

12. Co-workers who never talk to you about the news ask you about stories like Trayvon Martin’s death.

Or whenever a Sad Black Movie™ comes out, they are sure to let you know they saw it. As if you would want to discuss any of these traumas with them.

13. You hear offensive shit all the time and you feel alone when you realize no one else is going to say anything.

14. You go out to happy hour with the few co-workers who actually hold you down and then one drink in someone says some side-eye-worthy shit.

The betrayal. The heartbreak.

15. You’re always nervous about any karaoke invites because someone inevitably does a rap song that will have you holding your breath.

If only you could carry this girl in your pocket.

16. Multiple people have gone up to you and felt compelled to note, “I really do think Lupita is the most beautiful woman in the world.”

You’re just trying to use the printer, not give a lecture on the exotification of Lupita Nyong’o.

17. You find yourself explaining basic things like ~personal space~.

Tumblr user HowToBeTerrell succinctly notes: “Look at how disgusted he is by the very notion that she could touch his hair too without permission.”

18. Personal space, y’all.

19. In a moment of frustration, you use the n-word under your breath at your desk.

One of your white co-workers hears you. It’s hella awkward.

20. You worry that you might snap one day.

But you’re reminded of the cautionary tale set out by The Chappelle Show’s Vernon Franklin, When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong.

Comedy Central / Via dinuguan.tumblr.com

21. You catch whispers of the suggestion that you were an “affirmative action hire” and somehow unqualified to be there.

FOX / Via attitude.co.uk

You refrain from asking them what it’s like to swim in their own mediocrity to save them from any more embarrassment.

22. There’s the awkward moment when white co-workers are at the water cooler, laughing about something, then get suspiciously quiet when you walk up.

23. Or when a company outing takes place at a venue you’re HELLA uncomfortable with. A retreat on a plantation. Drinks at a country club.

24. Even though it’s a dumb stereotype, you do feel some type of way about eating things like fried chicken or watermelon in the office.

I mean, you eat them anyway because C’MON, but still.

25. There’s also the awkwardness that happens when maybe you do fit their stereotypes.

So what if I don’t know how to swim, I’m still stylin’ on you.

26. There’s the absurd moment when a co-worker who listens to rap more than you do declares themselves “blacker” than you.

27. And the severe bugging of their eyes when you say you’re ambivalent about The Beatles/The Stones/Neutral Milk Hotel.

Related: The severe bugging of their eyes when you have heard of/actually enjoy Neutral Milk Hotel.

28. The uncomfortable moment when there is some sort of music and dance situation with your co-workers and people look at you like you’re Rhythm McGee.

 

Next time someone says something like this to you, just pull an Aziz Ansari.

29. The worst part of it all though is just being the only person, period. When all of these things happen, you have no one to Gchat/subtweet/side-eye with.

30. When you’re “the only one of” anything SO MUCH ENERGY goes into analyzing and trying to understand what’s happening around you, even if everything is “fine.”

You have no one to confer with so you can’t tell if you’re being sensitive or imagining things or what. And that mental toll — the amount of energy it takes to analyze everything around you — takes away from your ability to actually do your work.

31. But when your job finally does hire another black person thooooo:

 

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