The Other [Black] Guy
As we saw in OFFICE NIGGA MOMENT, sometimes being one of few black men in an office can create quite a hostile environment. It’s the cubicle jungle, and black men like myself feel like the prey. Usually when a black man is around any other demographic, he can find a way to make himself feel like everyone ain’t shit except for him ( “I got more style than them”, “I’m smarter than them”, “I could beat all they asses in a fight”, etc). But for many black men; having to code-switch in an office is like having to act like someone else for 8 hours. You cannot reveal your true identity to anyone of another race because you can go from The Charming And Smart College Grad to Some Nigga pretty quick.
So you’ve got the act going. You’re not saying things like, “Theres MAD errors in this data SON” or “AIGHT, I finished the analysis. HOLLA“. Straight hand shakes, no daps. Shoulders moving a little bit less when you walk….
First week of the job everyone introduces themselves to you. It’s like that because everyone loves to see a happy black man in a controlled environment.
But one day, you’re walking down the hall and you see a figure approaching. Wait… what’s up with this guy’s shoulders? They’re moving way too much. Why isn’t he introducing himself? Is this….. another black guy? What do I do? Walk past and not say anything like how I would in real life? Or say ‘hi’ and end up looking like a bitch? Do I dap him up? Or do I shake his hand even though he can see right through my facade. Is this dude wearing RocaWear jeans on a casual Friday? Fuck this guy.
That’s how it starts. The one person who fully comprehends how much your work-swag is an act is the most unintentionally threatening person on the floor. You guys can either; become friends and have to deal with people calling you by the other dude’s name, or you can secretly despise each other until one of you moves to a different floor.