How to avoid black Kafka trapping

Courtesy of Damon Young, writer/editor at The Root.

1. If you need a day off and you have no PTO or vacation days left, cite Kwanzaa.

“Hey, Bob. We’re off Friday, right?”

“I don’t think so, Tyreke. Why would we be?”

“Wait, so you’re telling me, as the manager of this company, that it doesn’t celebrate Kwanzaa?”

“Um, it’s November. I thought Kwanzaa was in December.”

“So you’ve never heard of the 37 days of Kwanzaa, the pre-Kwanzaa recognition of family, unity, Claymation and Isabel Sanford? Tell me, Bob, that you know that Friday is when we light the quadrangle and sing ‘Lift Every Voice on the Mountain’ with our families. Are you trying to keep me away from my family?”

“No.”

Follow up the “No” with “You can have unpaid leave or take a one day advance of leave.”

2. Jokingly drop the racism bomb … but with a straight face.

“Hey, Tyreke, did you see the game last night?”

“No, Bob. Flat-screen TVs are racist. Why would you even ask me that?”

“Wait … what?

[Tyreke walks away while Bob wonders what the fuck just happened.]

Ask Tyreke why he is so bigotted against Asians. Ask about how the black community became so bigotted against Koreans.

3. Get out of jams by referencing your hair.

“Hey, Iesha. Are those expense reports ready? Been waiting on them for three days now.”

“Sorry, Bob, but I had to get my edges chopped and remarinated, and that took longer than usual. I won’t get the reports done until next Wednesday.”

“But they were due this Monday.”

“ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT THE EDGE CHOPPING AND REMARINATION PROCESS BLACK WOMEN MUST GO THROUGH WITH OUR HAIR TO COME TO WORK AND BE ACCEPTED IN MAINSTREAM SOCIETY?”

“I’m not saying that, I’m just … ”

“THEN WHAT ARE YOU SAYING, BOB?”

“Nothing. Just that Wednesday will work.”

Formally counsel Iesha on meeting assigned deadlines, in the presence of an HR representative. Assert your authority as boss/supervisor, even if you are a minority.

4. Imply that they’re racist without actually saying anything.

[A meeting in Bob’s office.]

“So yes, Bob, we should expect a 12 percent increase in revenue this quarter.”

“That’s great news, Iesha. Thank you.”

[Iesha gets up to leave but pauses while noticing something on Bob’s desk.]

“Hmm, that’s … interesting.”

“What’s on your mind?”

“Nothing, Bob. Just … I don’t know … it’s just that out of all of these pictures of family and friends in your office, none of them have black people in them.”

[Iesha pauses for second, looks at Bob disapprovingly and turns to leave.]

Go to Iesha’s desk, casually notice that she doesn’t have any pictures of white people. Openly comment that in a country with such large Caucasian and Latino populations she must work hard to segregate her social circle.

5. Invite them to an über-black event even though they already had plans.

“Hey, guys. Just wanted to remind everyone that I’m going to be out Friday. Going to Tampa for my cousin’s wedding.”

“So you’re not coming to my Niggafied Drinks and Darts party Friday night?”

“Um … I … had no idea about your … um … drinks-and-darts party.”

“I texted you an invite last week. It’s part of the Niggafied series of events I’ve been throwing. Next month it’s Niggafied Trap Knitting.”

“I don’t remember receiving that, Tyreke.”

“Of course you don’t, Bob. Of course you don’t. It’s just funny how … ”

“OK, OK, OK. I’ll come to your … darts-and-drinks party.”

“Nah. Go to your wedding. Iesha and I will see you when you get back.”

Keep hounding Iesha about upcoming black heavy events. Attend as the token white person and tell everyone how much you love Tyreke’s work ethic and say that he’s going far in your company. The other blacks will turn on him for acting white.

Damon’s original work can be found here: https://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/5-life-hacks-for-black-people-who-want-to-leverage-whit-1820853574

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