Have you ever been at work, singing your favorite song in your head, minding your own melanated business and a coworker, boss, or customer approaches you & says “Why you look so mean? Whats wrong?” Look Susan:
Just because I don’t naturally have a huge kool-aid smile painted on my face in a relaxed state doesn’t mean I’m mad or upset. In my experience, the one stereotype that is the hardest to deal with is The Angry Black Woman
Here are Janae’s fool-proof ways to NOT be perceived as your offices’ official Angry Black Woman:
- Never yell or curse out anyone, ESPECIALLY if they deserve it.
- Hello, you’re literally the stereotype. Instead, put on your best spray tan, starbucks drinking, all lives matter voice and calmly tell them in a professional tone where they can go to find the mind they’ve clearly lost. Remember guys, anything is possible when you sound white on the phone.
2. Always have evidence/documented proof
- Save EVERYTHING! Text messages, emails, handwritten notes. They don’t believe any claim you make sis so just drop your receipts and walk away like Angela Bassett after she set her man’s car on fire. (Bouncy hair not included)
3. Establish a BS line & keep it consistent with everyone
- Make it known what you will and won’t tolerate i.e racist jokes, convos about what I did last weekend, what I think about child leashes, etc.
- Once your people understand that you don’t wish to engage in certain conversations or activities that aren’t apart of your job description they’ll find a new friend to bother. (Remember kids, I’m just here so i won’t get fined)
4. Make everyone feel like they have a connection with you/they’re your favorite without ACTUALLY establishing one
- This is one of the hardest to follow because sometimes its fun to be a listening ear for the work drama and give your two cents. DON’T SO IT! It’s a trap. Instead listen to conversations in passing and piece things together as they come. Discuss your findings with NO ONE!
- While it’s good to keep your coworkers out of your personal life, its good to tell them things about yourself so they feel like they know you out of work. Things like where I went to school, how many kids I have, my favorite color will make sure they give you a good gift for secret santa/birthday but they wouldn’t be able to randomly strike up a convo about the things they know about you. “So uh, Janae, you like purple huh? Cool!” Awkward, right? Yeah no one wants that convo.
5. Never be a pushover. Speak your truth & your opinion is professional way.
- Don’t just let them run you ragged or make decisions for you. Stand up for what you think is best even if its wrong or it never gets done the way you think it should
6. Establish a don’t eff with me look that crosses all generational, ethnic and gender lines.
- Mine looks like this…they know not to try me when they see this
7. Have a boss that’s a bigger jerk than you.
- If your boss is a natural jerk it’ll be bigger chance they’ll try him or Jesus before they try you
Now that you’ve done all that, and you’ve established who you ACTUALLY are, I want you to know….THEY STILL ARE GONNA THINK YOU’RE ANGRY SIS! So embrace the fact that some stereotypes will never fade and use it to your advantage because at the end of the day as annoying as your coworkers may be, at least you don’t have to go home to any of them!
k, good talk
SN:I am aware that not all stereo types are bad. For example, a popular Black stereotype is that we love watermelon and fried chicken…um HELLO have you ever had some bomb fried chicken and finished it off with a ice cold slice of watermelon at your grandma’s house!? It’s delicious.