Breathe. Sit Down. Listen.

If a person of color opens up to you about their experiences, they have a level of trust in you as an individual. There is no need to put yourself at the center and offer anecdotes to show how YOU are “not like that”. Also, there is no quicker way to derail your friend’s point.

And if you don’t see color, there is no need to balance the scales with the “not all whites”, “not all men”, “not all police officers”, sentiments when activists initiate discussions about systemic oppression. We all live in the same society and are surrounded by mainstream news media. The greater society has, does and will make that point to all of us every day without your help.

For real, it’s HARD to realize when the reason we are squirming is because for once, whether or not our feelings will be hurt is not the central most important thing in any conversation. It stops feeling right somehow! What we ARE used to, is feeling benevolent because we are engaged in the conversation, at all.

As non-POC, nothing prepares us for having to suppress our own natural tendency to take offense. To learn how to do that, we need only ask a member of any oppressed group. To keep a job, be a customer, walk down the street, live life, lesson the chances of getting thrown in jail for nothing – for them, it is a necessary skill.

Ask:

How on earth do you avoid getting offended all the time with:
**Assumptions made about your opinions, because you are a member of this or that group?
**Assumptions made about your interests, because you are a member of this or that group?
**Ignorant questions asked of you?
**Generalizations made in your presence?

They might agree to school you. Or better yet, do your own research.

Point is: We aren’t used to it. It’s hard to realize how quickly we rise to our own defense when the conversation does not have straight, white society at the center. Our peace is disturbed. Stop it. Step down a peg. Take a seat.

 

Why White People Shouldn’t Impose Their Feelings Into Conversations on Race

The link below brings to mind another reason why.the gap between the lower and middle class grows wider each year. Who can COUNT ON an additional $3,000 EACH year, “on average”? Some reading these words will think its no big deal, while for others, such a safety net would be a dream come true.

My hero was my first mother-in-law. I was waking up early to pray, taking two buses to get my kid to daycare and then going to work, taking the grocery cart on the bus, and feeling like I had alot on me, while she, with 8 children, worked, woke up at 4:30 to iron and plan breakfast and lunch, and went and got her diploma at some point during all this – cooking big Sunday dinners for all of us to come back to, without a complaint. We all crowded onto the chairs, stairs and every available space. All her kids turned out better than fine, each one with a faithful fine heart, and brag-worthy loving kids of their own – a family that stayed together and takes care of that mom now without a thought – because that’s what you do.
Yet, so many recipients of the financial safety net largesse assume, WITHOUT QUESTION, that they are at the very least, on a level playing field with their colleagues – colleagues like my Ms. Geneva, or the single parent with the special needs children, or the night school attendees, paying their own way by working.
The corresponding secret held close by those financial have-nots, is the deep-seated frustration at those who can’t see. It’s not the inequality that creates the resentment, really. It’s that the help with the rent, car and home repairs, down payment on the house, preferential treatment when applying for jobs, housing etc, freedom from student debt – these add up to unacknowledged (or outright denied) privilege. This refusal to expand one’s world view, this lack of perspective is what causes the resentment.
Openly expressed gratitude and appreciation, towards parents, by their adult children, would create happier families.
Offering of genuine respect by those same adult children, toward peers who struggle and achieve, year after year, without such aid – these would go a long way toward creating less divided and repressed atmosphere among peers. #1stworldproblems #rudetonotice #dontaskdonttell #tabootopics

Secret of Many Urban 20-Somethings

Someone Asked About a Boss From Hell

Rather than post a long comment on someone’s page why not just write a note here? Okay, I will.

Boss from Hell? I was on the team that helped select this person. I argued for him to get the job and tried to aid and include in every way I could, once he succeeded in obtaining the position. But once he had the job, he bizarrely began misjudging me as unworthy of his trust, and gradually began to suspect me at every turn. He accused me falsely of various work and “anti-team player” crimes. This last was especially galling.

It took me a long time to even believe it was happening!!!! You see, I had been the right hand person of every boss I had ever had before that, my entire life. So it was a real glimpse at how the other half lives, for me. It was a learning experience that I never forgot and would not want to relive, ever. Luckily, it was a one time deal!

Eventually, I was working by myself in a building across the parking lot from the rest of the department (They needed someone to volunteer, so I did – later realizing he  used my willing nature to manipulate me). He gradually arranged for my job description to shift to tasks for which I had no professional background, as well as dropping all the projects which I had led before he came on board. He was falsely friendly to me, and even subtly mocked me, much in the way he seemed to fear I was towards him. Even now, I wish I could correct his false idea. But it really is not my problem. He creates that around himself.

I refused to be defeated. But it really took a toll on me emotionally and physically. It all seemed so senseless and unnecessary. Like I say, looking back, I was SO unsuspecting – a real sitting duck.

Once I got over the shock, accepted the reality of what was going on, calmed down, and satisfied MYSELF that I could leave without feeling like I had been run off I did secure a better position closer to home. But I refused to even LOOK for another position until I felt better. That was the spiritual struggle and victory inherent in that  situation for me. It was how I made a valuable experience out of it.

I found out, through friends, that basically, every guy (and woman) working under that person left too, in the succeeding year or so. I guess once I was not the focus, he turned to others. Then HE left and he’s had about 3 jobs since. I really liked the crew there before he came along! We had built up some close friendships and we had fun! But no one was going to stand up to Mr. Tough (a pseudonym I came up with here to substitute for the real nickname given to him by a few of his male staff). People would come up to me privately though, and express their sympathy. That was my only reality check.

Through research, I discovered that I was involved in a phenomena called workplace “mobbing”. When an insecure boss is hired, curiously, they sometimes feel threatened by and develop a focus on a well established, high achieving, well-liked “head down” workers who seems like they might be easy to push around.  Every source on this topic has a quote something like this:

The pattern of Workplace Mobbing indicates that those at high risk are most likely:
High achievers
Enthusiastic (those who volunteer)
Those with integrity
Those with ethical standards
Promoters of human rights, dignity and respect

Who knew?! Anyway,  I stayed as long as I wanted. And at my next job, my work was again respected and my professional reputation remained untarnished. Onward, older and wiser.

Here are some beginning points to research workplace mobbing: