If your boss asked you what you did over the weekend; would it be cool to say, “I got so fucked up at the club, that I had to leave before the strippers got on stage”? If you walked in on your coworker taking a shit and you apologized, but saw him/her later on that day; would you be the one to say, “Wow, that was somethin’ when I walked in on you taking a deuce earlier huh”?
The point being that, in most social situations, there are unspoken rules about what you can and cannot say . Milton doesn’t know that. Milton is one of the other black guys in the office. And he’s the bane of my existence.
Milton and I always get into to it. Not on a ratchet level, but work-appropriated shit-talking. Whether it’s cell phones, movies, work schedules, food, whatever, Milton will ALWAYS disagree with me. The Hangover is funny? Nope, but Milton thinks The Back-up Plan was comedy gold.
So the coworkers are out to lunch, and Milton starts talking about how Precious is one of his favorite movies… I didn’t say anything. Kathryn, sitting across the table, says ” I expected you to say something Kai. You guys are always arguing”. In turn, Milton proceeds to say, without a hint of sarcasm, “Well, you know how us Black guys do”…..
Thank you Milton. You just broke a cardinal rule of diverse workplaces: Everyone Just Happens To Be. Ms. Chang does Tai Chi with old people every morning, but she just happens to be Chinese. Trevor played lacrosse in high school and wears L.L. Bean, but he just happens to be White. This rule is even more important for Black guys because it reduces stereotype threat. If you start pairing up behaviors with stereotypes, then we might as well take off these suits, throw on some baggy Girbaud jeans and call it a day.
Now how am I supposed to enjoy my pommes frites?