The Side Eye~An Office Survival Guide

Alright, so yesterday I was working hard in my office when two coworkers walk by, talking about something or the other. My headphones were in. I didn’t care. One came up to me and tapped me on the shoulder. This already annoyed me, as I was working on a very important, time sensitive, project. He and the other fellow had walked all the day down the hall to ask me this: “Hey is it Puff Diddy or is it Daddy now?” I responded with a noncommittal, passive “I don’t know,” but secretly I was using a sinister and deadly technique rooted deeply in the spirit of African-American passive aggressiveness:

the side eye

The “side eye” is the ultimate tool of clandestine rage against The Man. When used wisely, it can provide you a small sense of satisfaction in the face of slights, ridiculous questions, stereotypes, and unintentional racism. In special cases, it can provide a visible sign to those around you that you are angry without notifying the actual offender. If you are lucky, then it can become  a photographic treasure. Even the most famous black people in the country use the side eye as an effective weapon.


In my experience and via my extensive research (google search for 10 minutes), I have come to the conclusion that the side eye is almost an exclusively Black phenomenon. This is the only image I could find involving a non-black side eye.

This is serious

I find that musicians are exceptional at using the side eye, especially when put in the company of inferior musicians to whom they are compared:

And of course, there is the classic “Black woman/white woman” side eye (The Michelle Obama side eye is a subcategory):

Aaaand the ever-present “Black Woman/Black Man side eye”:

But nothing beats the child side eye. The high prevalence of child side eyes in my (google) research leads me to believe that the side eye is genetic and inherent to African-Americans:

Use it wisely in your passive-aggressive fight against office racism. And when you are feeling weak, always remember this, the greatest side eye of them all:

If that baby can do it, so can you. May the side eye be with you.

9 Responses to “The Side Eye~An Office Survival Guide”
  1. Monique says:

    I’m sure other people use it too. Maybe they call it other things… lateral glance?

  2. Priya says:

    I’m a non-Black person who gives side eye!

    I get the side eye from Black women whenever I’m out in public with a Black man I’m dating. Nevermind that the same Black man’s complaint is that Black women won’t date him for X amount of reasons. Still when he’s out with me (a non-Black woman) we both get the side eye from the very demographic of women that won’t date him.

    I’ve learned to give it right back.

  3. Carmen says:

    While I could argue that this topic feels more like a filler than an article, I must agree that it truthfully highlights that small inherent reaction that most of Us have – the relateable side eye glance. Enjoyed the read – the pics made me laugh out loud!

    • I can totally understand the “filler” feel of the post (I prefer to calm them posts; articles are for “harder” news lol). I normally don’t respond to things like this, but I’ve been following the Lupe situation with interest as it relates to his psychological position in all this; finally had to get some thoughts out.

      Thanks for reading! Let’s continue dialogue.

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