Would you tell Paul Mooney jokes to your White coworkers? Would you ask Muhammad if he likes Busta Rhymes’ Arab Money? Would you go up to Stein, Samberg or Blumenfeld, and ask them if they were going to watch the 24-hour Mel Gibson marathon?
The point is that sometimes you need to alter your reference material to avoid awkward or racist moments. Milton doesn’t know that. Milton is one of the other black guys in the office, and he’s the bane of my existence…
Some of my coworkers and I went to the food court for lunch. Trevor was talking about how he gets razor bumps when he shaves because his hair is so curly. Milton responds, “Oh we know” while pointing his thumb at himself and me, “We’re Black. You should use the Black-people razor since your hair is so Black”.
Trevor had no idea what to say. Imagine if Trevor saw a light-skinned Black person and was like, “You should use White people sun block, since you have White people skin”. That’d be some offensive shit.
So I changed the subject to movies. We started talking about who would play the best Spider Man and someone brought up Edward Norton. I said that I couldn’t imagine him fighting like that. Milton says, “But he was beating up those Black guys in American History X”
Great reference material for a lunch with three White people. Three White people who, for some reason, are no longer making eye contact with us.
I’m not saying that you have to cater to or comfort the White people you work with, but everyone wants to be comfortable at their job. If my co-worker says, “The boss has really been cracking the whip lately” I wouldn’t say, “just like Roots.“