The Black Walk

I code-switch a lot at work.  I switch it up so much that I some times I forget to turn off the facade when I leave the office.  Black men are often perceived as overly aggressive.  It’s a perception that has been spread relentlessly throughout history.   I guess everyone just ignores the vicious, virulent and violent acts of other demographics (e.g. the domestic terrorism, barbarous imperialism and government-sanctioned crime associated with White people).  So when I’m at the office, I gotta tone down natural behaviors that may seem aggressive.  Like my walk.

"Hi Bob!"

Yesterday I went to work  early to catch up on a project.  When I got to the office, I knew that no one would be there at the crack of dawn.  So I got into the elevator with my headphone on maximum, rapping lyrics out loud (like a troll).   I got off the elevator and started walking down the hallway. As I walked, I looked down at my phone to change the song, not realizing that Katherine was watching me from down the hall. I looked up and saw her face. She had a look of genuine concern.

“Oh my god Kai! Are you okay? You look so angry.”

Damn. She caught me doing my natural walk. You know, augmented shoulder movement and a tiny hint of a limp. The Black Walk. But she caught it when I was listening to The Clipse. And if you’re not already aware, a Black man’s walk can be severely altered by the presence of rap music. So even though I felt relaxed and at ease, Katherine saw an angry Black man walking down the hall. I might as well have been Kimbo Slice.

"Hi Bob"

This is one of the many reasons I code-switch. When I worked at a Black office, my boss rocked a serious Black-walk every morning when he entered building. Then he would blast Nas’ Ether instrumental from his computer. Things are a little different for me now. If White people think I’m angry, it hinders proper communication and interaction. I can’t be having that shit at work. So I told Katherine that nothing was wrong, kept it moving and turned the code-switch on.

I guess she still thought I was angry, because she didn’t bother me for the entire day (quite a rarity). So I suppose if you want your White coworkers to leave you alone, rock the Black-walk.


3 Responses to “The Black Walk”
  1. J J says:

    This reminds me of the “Did I Stutter” eppisode of The Office.

  2. Mel says:

    Just thinking about the “Did I Stutter” episode. Funny how many white folks think Stanley was wrong for standing up to a boss who is openly racist toward Black people at his place of employment.

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