If you are like most working people, you probably have a few coworkers that really get under your skin. However, there is always that one that you almost swear that the things that come out of their mouth is strictly to annoy you. But, some people just don’t get it, they think anything they say is acceptable regardless of who they are. Here are 10 things that should not be said to a Black coworker or boss.
1. You are Very Articulate. Although, you are just trying to give a compliment, the person might feel as if you are trying to be condescending. It comes over as you saying the person an exception to the rule and is exhibiting behavior atypical of others of his or her ethnic background. Why wouldn’t a person sound articulate, smart or educated?
2. Wow! Is that Your Hair? Danielle Robinson, director of diversity, talent and organizational design at Diageo, a wine, beer and spirits company, had the questioned asked to her. She didn’t get angry, but explained to the coworker that it was an inappropriate question. There are many people who are recovering from cancer, and might not feel comfortable, or offended by the question. Also, not every Black woman wear hair extensions and there are many other ethnic groups that do.
3. “You” People. Please refrain from using this “You” people. Exactly who are “You people,” and how do they differ from regular people? Use this poorly chosen phrase at your own risk. However, do not say you were not forewarned, it might not go over well with too many people.
4. Do Black People eat a lot of Fried Chicken/Watermelon? No, not all Black people eat fried chicken, watermelon, or whatever else you might think. There is nothing wrong with having the curiosity about different ethnic foods, but there is a problem on believing everything that you hear. Ask people about the different types of foods that are enjoyed within their cultural without assuming you already know the answer. Some stereotypes are just never going to die.
5. Why are you so angry? The questions is often direct toward Black males. However, we have the media to thank for this one. Black men are often depicted as angry and criminals.
6. Why are you acting white? Really, just what does it mean to act White, or even Black? It is best to leave this one alone.
7. Your Voice Does Not Sound Black. How does a Black voice sound like? If a person sounds articulate and well-spoken supposedly they are not a Black person.
8. You are Not Black to Me. Well, although the person is not Black to you it is a big part of who they are and their heritage. Even if you are using it as a compliment, it will not be perceived that way.
9. The N-word. Just no! Do not ever use this word. No one gets a pass using the word. It is a word that is being used to casually among youths both Black and White. The spelling of it does not matter, it is offensive. The word is even too offensive to spell out!