The Black Woman in The Workplace

The Black woman in the workplace ages five years in three months.

The Black woman in the workplace is complimented on her hair that “always changes”.

The Black woman in the workplace works with her head down when she walks or at least with her eyes to the floor.

The Black woman in the work place is invited into White conversations, perhaps for sport, and spoken over, cut off, or interrupted when she attempts to speak.

The Black woman in the work place becomes demure and quiet.

The Black woman in the workplace goes home and has to stretch the muscles of her face because they have been set in place from the time she walked in the building to the time she she leaves.

The Black woman in the workplace may say a prayer for strength each morning.

The Black woman in the workplace tenderly respects her lunch hour and keeps it to an hour.

The Black woman in the workplace is full of ideas, which she foolishly offers with gladness only to become the mule of ideas.

The Black woman in the workplace is a well run dry of brainstorming, innovation, and “projects”

The Black woman in the workplace makes stifling tears and repressing anger and frustration an Olympic sport for how well she does it.

The Black woman in the workplace can hold stress in her body to the point where she has headaches starting at 2:30 pm every day for two weeks straight.

The Black woman in the workplace is dejected, yelled at, demeaned, and given mixed messages until she is silent unless her direct opinion is asked, and even then the black woman in the workplace gives the lie of an opinion that will appease her higher ups.

The Black woman in the workplace is second guessed and treated like a little child until she sometimes believes she may still be one from years and years ago.

The Black woman in the workplace is forced to trust no one. The smile she started working with dissipates into a line of nothing that intimidates her white colleagues although they’ve caused it.

The Black woman in the workplace is assured that this organization “strives to include cultural differences”.

The Black woman in the workplace is invited to lunch secretly to discuss her performance and the organizations expectations under the disguise of friendliness.

The Black woman in the workplace weeps often and has countless stories of the latest interpersonal catastrophe.

The Black woman in the workplace is reminded by her neglectful friends that she is the common denominator.

The Black woman in the workplace eats alone with hopes that no will ask her about her weekend.

The Black woman in the workplace shape shifts to meet the overreaching needs of others until she does not recognize herself any longer.

The Black woman in the workplace has and needs a routine that maintains sanity for the eight hours she works.

The Black woman in the workplace feels nervous about scheduling doctors appointments because someone will say she’s out of the office too much.

The Black woman in the workplace recognizes an imbalanced workplace, strives to protect herself, heal herself, take care of herself and is then perceived as the lazy Black woman in the workplace. If the Black woman in the workplace stands up for herself in any means, she is labeled the sassy Black , the angry, the loud, themean black woman in the workplace.

The Black woman in the workplace is still meant to be the jolly slave, happy to be indentured and grateful for a kind massa.

The Black woman in the workplace settles for now and plans for later.

The Black woman in the workplace weeps big salty tears to Mistah God.

The Black woman in the workplace, once young is suddenly middle aged.

The Black woman in the workplace is painted by her supervisor as “checked out”. Supervisors who are completely unaware that the Black woman in the workplace barely has her head above ever raging microaggressive and macroaggresive waters that they have created.

The Black woman in the workplace is asked often if ‘she cares’.

The Black woman in the workplace is told she does not seem “…excited enough to be here”.

The Black woman in the workplace is to be molded and broken into what the company now recently is looking for since prior white employees have refused to fit the mold and black women are known as amenable and prone to be broken.

The Black woman in the workplace is stared at up and down by her white female colleagues if she dresses ‘too nice’.

The Black woman in the workplace is called “girl” by white female colleagues who’ve refused to remember her name. The same colleagues who neither see or hear the historical and cultural implications of a white woman calling a black, grown, woman in the workplace, a girl.

The Black woman in the workplace is reminded to give grace although grace has not been given to her and may never be.

The Black woman in the workplace was probably hired to be someone’s idea of a black girlfriend at work.

The Black woman in the workplace is assumed not to have read the classics nor the famed contemporaries.

The Black woman in the workplace says good morning, good night and does her job well until it’s time to go home.

The Black woman in the workplace is not doing a good job because she does not over commit herself to a role and bleed the colors of a company.

The Black woman in the workplace offers up to her coworkers that she’s finishing an authors canon for the reply of, “but all of those works are short, right?” as if the Black woman can only read and finish shorter novels.

The Black woman in the workplace ignores the casual mid-western jabs to character, ability, and intellect.

The Black woman in the workplace is suspicious that she is gossiped about for keeping her business her business.

The Black woman in the workplace is reprimanded in high pitched volumes like those used on an infant.

The Black woman in the workplace is not apologized to. She may not be worth that.

The Black woman in the workplace is expected the take the view point of her oppressor as she experiences oppression.

The Black woman in the workplace is mad at times because she has every right to be.

The Black woman in the workplace may bite the insides of her cheek to a numb in anxiousness.

The Black woman in the workplace rolls her eyes at the condescending, presumptive, arrogant emails she receives and pulls them into the folder she’s created for them long ago.

The Black woman in the workplace will never win when white women start crying. She is expected to empathize and apologize all because of one’s arrested emotional development.

The Black woman in the workplace must never cry in the workplace. It is unprofessional and childlike.

The Black woman in the workplace notices the veiled weapon of white female fragility that white women cannot begin to understand for it is so engraved into their being.

The Black woman in the workplace trusts few, none being the white woman who claws for attention and recognition.

The Black woman in the workplace must never be too loud but should regard the loudness of white colleagues as “personality traits”.

The Black woman in the workplace must never bring up concerns for fear of offending the co-workers of supervisors that have wronged her.

The Black woman in the workplace is told to keep record of the instances she experiences as “hostile” and “demanding” by other minorities because it is a known trend in the workplace to be Black and be treated in a manner that is hostile and demanding.

The Black woman in the workplace alludes to dissatisfaction, even whispers it under her breath, in a quick joke, in passing, but never fully confesses.

The Black woman in the workplace sometimes forgets what it was like to be real.

The Black woman in the workplace has a very high tolerance for bullshit.

The Black woman in the workplace has memorized, mastered, and committed to memory psalms twenty three.

The Black woman in the workplace humorizes her experience as a means of coping.

The Black woman in the workplace writes and publishes less for fear that her co-workers and supervisors will rise in greater mutiny against her.

The Black woman in the workplace deserves a standing ovation not only for her high degree of composure but for the role she plays so well.

The Black woman grows where she is planted, she is famed for being resilient and strong but is never heard for feeling weakened and tired. The Black woman is made a martyr and sometimes she does not realize it until she is bleeding the colors of her organization and until the well does run dry and the Black woman in the workplace is merely a shadow of herself.


Although I haven’t written in a while, feels like ages, I decided to write and publish this when I noticed the pattern I see and now experience among black woman in predominately white workplaces and workplaces in general who become demure and shrunken figures when enduring the workplace. This is my reality now and it’s a reality that edits itself everyday. It is real and true and I’m trying to stop myself from not talking or writing or speaking about it.

By Seanna Wong

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