How to: A Comprehensive Guide to Minding Your Own Business, Part II (Old White Man Friendly)
Last month I touched on the difficulties of being the only Black person in your work space. I thought that I would follow up with somewhat of a “story time”. Glue your wigs down tight and hold on.
Every week there is a staff meeting in my office. During this time every group goes around the office and discusses what their team has been working on and any plans for the next couple of weeks. Simple, right? “It could all be so simple... “
This particular week I woke up to a slightly damp twist out. Instead of taking a chance on looking like Frederick Douglas, I decided that I’d sport a head wrap to work. It was a simple yet stylish solution to my issue. So, I commute to work, enter into my weekly meeting and sit in my regular seat prepared to listen to a bunch of useless information and dry jokes about industry related things. While sitting awaiting the start of the meeting, a leader at my organization decided that he would say, “Whoa, she’s got that thing on her head. She’s going to be extra sassy and attitudinal today.” Because I was already in a bad mood about my hair not drying over the course of nine entire hours, I snapped back harsher than I would have normally done—I’m not regretting any of my actions, I’m just noting that I usually have a much more political answer. To his comment, I responded, “When I woke up this morning, I made the decision to mind my business. It was easy and most of all it was free. You should try minding your business instead of worrying about what’s on my head.”
Let’s review what happened.
I, a Black woman, made a decision that was office appropriate to conceal my wet hair and a balding, loud mouthed White man made an unnecessary, rude comment about it. The issue with this is that he simply didn’t mind his own damn business. My head wrap did no harm to him nor did it impede on the ability of others to perform their jobs. Additionally, the statement was made in front of the entire staff in an attempt to belittle me and the way that I decided to style my hair. And to be completely honest, I wasn’t having the shit—not one bit.
What really got under my skin about the issue is the fact that very often the White women and men in my office will roll out of bed with greasy roots and a clear case of bed head yet there is never a word spoken about their apparent lack of care and effort to look professional in the office space. Which further proves my point that this wasn’t a case of me being in my feelings because the joke came around to me. This is a blatant case of ignorance and stupidity at play. While he was trying to make a snarky ass remark, he also presented dangerous stereotypes of Black women. This told me a lot about him in that moment. It told me that he’d already assumed those things about me and other Black women and he was waiting for an opportunity to present them to a group of people in search of agreement. And that’s why I wasn’t have thing the shit—not one bit.
Side note: The "good" White people at my job did exactly what you're thinking they did-- nothing at all. Which is an entire subject of its own.
So, because he decided to have a comment about something that didn’t involve him or anyone else, he got his fragile, White feelings hurt. Let this addendum to the “Comprehensive Guide to Minding Your Own Business” be used doubly as a warning for those who lack melanin. Because if you continue to not mind your business as it pertains to Black women/men and their hair, you too may walk away with your tail tucked between your legs. Mind your business and keep your hands to yourself as it pertains to Black women and their hair and we can all live in a happy world.
Please take the time to refresh yourself on the guide HERE and avoid hurt feelings and cussing out.
Afros and Ovaries
White people are tiring