The Black Nod
I was eating some breakfast in the break-room today. One of my Black coworkers, Tanya, walked past and said, “Hi.” In turn, I gave her a nod. A nod that was directed vertically, unlike the downward direction of the traditional nod. The Black Nod.
I didn’t even think twice about it, but apparently Tanya takes this code-switching thing to another level. She stopped abruptly when she saw the Black Nod, turned to look at me and said,
“Don’t be doing the Black Nod up in here.”
Then she walked off. I thought it was hilarious. I’ve accidentally done the Black Nod to White people before. In most cases they haven’t known how to respond. I’ve seen White people look behind them as if they thought I was nodding to someone else (probably a Black person). I’ve also seen White people do some sort of head nodding/shaking movement, as if they weren’t sure whether to say “yes” or “no”. Consequently, I’ve been paying particular attention to who I Black Nod to, so I don’t understand why Tanya was tripping. All of the Black people on the floor cut the code-switching when the crowd is racially homogeneous. Plus, how the hell is she going to tell me to not do the Black Nod when her statement ended with “up in here”?
Anyway, I finished my breakfast and went back to my cubicle. As soon as I sat down, Katherine, one of my White coworkers, said (and I kid you not),
“Yo, what’s really good with lunch tomorrow?”
See… that’s that bullshit.