Dedicated To The Only Black Girl At Work

Lisa Beasley   •   June 8, 2017

Hey black girl at work!

How you doing?

Did your co-worker reach out to touch your hair again?

Has anybody looked at you crazy after you raised that “eloquent” point in the 9:00AM meeting – almost as if to say, “Whoa whoa what are you doing here and WHY are YOU talking?”

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Hey black girl at work! Are you the only black girl at work?

If you are, just smile and nod like you’re looking at that other cat video your boss just sent to you.

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Do you need a little break? Is small talk for you unbearable because, well, white people get very awkward around you simply because they don’t know what to talk to you about? They stay trying to bring up “black” stuff huh? Well, take two minutes and talk to me for a second.

Girl, yesterday, I tried a flat twist out technique and it did not go so well! You know how when you watch a hair care tutorial online and think you are mimicking the exact steps, but when you wake up in the morning, put on a fresh face, remove your bonnet, and get ready for your natural curls to get into formation, it just doesn’t work out? I had one of those mornings too but after I played with it for a while, I got it to work.

How did that feel? You probably didn’t even care. But for a second, didn’t it feel nice to talk to another black woman while you’re at work?

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Have you heard that Scandal is done after Season 7? What do you think about that? Did you kinda trail off after watching Season 3? I was trying to stay loyal to my girl Shonda, but that Olivia needed to get it together. Once I started watching for the fashion only, that’s when I knew it was time to rethink some things. Honestly, I still may wait for all seasons to be available so I can sit in my beige living room (that I wish I had) with some red wine and popcorn to binge appropriately. You look like you don’t have time to watch Scandal.

Are you swamped at work?

Did they put you charge of “those diversity people” again? You got hired as a manager and now you’re charged with the task to fix hundreds of years of institutional racism through developing programs to build equity throughout the company?

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Does it seem like you get more responsibility and less time to accomplish work tasks? Do you always feel like you’re being watched and micromanaged a little more than your coworkers? Do you constantly have to monitor your face so that it isn’t displaying the constant shade you feel inside?

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Girl. You’re alone right now but you are not alone.

I know we don’t all talk about natural hair pitfalls and Olivia’s tumultuous relationships with white men but every once in awhile, it feels good to not be the only one around. There are a bunch of us who work in spaces where only one of us exist. You know you belong there. You’re overqualified and they are blessed everyday you decide to show up. But until companies step their hiring game up and stop tokenizing us, we will find ways to cope with the side glances, ignorant remarks, and secret white people meetings.

Ok ok I know you got work to do. Imma let you go and we’ll talk soon k?

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