Poem I came upon in the workplace.
Posted in the Greensboro Forum
#1 Jul 18, 2008
Being Black in the Work Place
The take my kindness for weakness.
They take my silence for speechless.
They consider my uniqueness strange.
They call my language slang.
They see my confidence conceit.
They see my mistakes as defeat.
The consider mu success accidental.
They minimize my intelligence to "potential".
My questions mean "I'm unaware".
My advancement is somehow unfair.
Any praise is preferential treatment.
To voice concern is discontentment.
If I stand up for myself, I'm too defensive.
If I don't trust them, I'm too apprehensive.
I'm defiant if I separate. Yet, I'm fake if I assimilate.
So, constantly I am faced with work place hate. My character is constantly under attack.
Pride for my race makes me, "TOO BLACK". Yet, I can only be me. And, who am I you might ask? I am that Strong Black Person...Who stands on the backs of my ancestor's? Achievements, with an erect spine pointing to the stars with pride. Dignity and respect which lets the work place in America know, that I not only possess the ability to play by the rules, but I can make them as Well!
Black History 365
P.S. Pass it on to your black co-workers. Good, Better, Best, Never ever rest Until YOUR Good is Better and YOUR Better is Best!
Hi, I am here to voice my opinion about this poem. I don't know how old this poem is, but I did found it my workplace being passed around.
Why does shit like this have to be passed around in the workplace. Why the hell has it even been written. I am getting sick and tired of black people walking around and thinking that every single Caucasian is out to get them in some form or another.
I have had A LOT of jobs and NOT once have I ever seen any sort of racism in the workplace. In fact, EVERY single person was treated equally. Now I know that this is just my experience, and that other people have different experiences. So, things like this could still be occurring in other places. But I'll tell you something, black people should NOT be toting this around and thinking that they do not have the ability to treat people different than them just as badly.
For example, I have a friend, who is Caucasian, and she worked for a school system which was run dominantly by black people. The small school that she worked for would mainly hire black people, so when she started, she was literally the ONLY Caucasian person there. They all treated her like shit. They would talk badly about her in front of the parents AND the children. They would pretend to be her friend and then turn they're backs on her the moment they got the chance. This ultimately led her to quit the job. I know this happened because I visited the school a few times and saw some of these things occur.
Poems like this are only used to support this type of behavior. The fact is, nobody should be acting this way, and for black people to be toting this things around is ridiculous. Black people are no better than any other race when it comes to racism.
STOP supporting this. It fuels the fire. Instead we need to work together as a community rather than separate entities. Racism is a fools belief, and the moment we can get that into our heads, the moment we will be able to actually make a difference in this world.
By the way, I'm black.
#2 Mar 23, 2009
This is directed to By the way, I'm black. I think its great that you have not experienced any racism at your work place. that means you do an excellent job at carring yourself and kudos to you. But, for you to use profanity while expressing yourself. leaves something to be desired for You. Your life does not represent every African American in this world and for you to pass judgement based on you and you alone. is not fair. believe it or not one of these days before you leave this earth I guarantee you some one outside of your race will make you feel exactly what this poem is expressing. If you read the ending of the poem its to build the confidence of blacks. not for black to use it as an excuse. and Oh. I'm black also.
#3 May 2, 2009
Saga from Greensboro, NC. I feel for you. Are you angry at black people or are you angry because you are black. You might want to look into that. This makes you think does it not.
I am black as well.
#4 Jul 17, 2009
Wow, I wonder what world, "By the way I'm black" lives in and how old he or she is? I do think we need to come together to make a difference in this world, communicate with one another and be willing to step outside our comfort zones to have the kind of uncomfortable conversations that we need to have to move forward. But can you clarify what kind of behavior you would like US to stop supporting? Stop voicing our opinions and expressing our feelings about how the majority of us are treated? You say you've never witnessed any racism,really? Wow, amazing! You must live in the Land of Oz.... My guess is that the individuals that you worked and interacted with were good at hiding it from you. They're good at that by the way. They will smile in your face and buy you lunch, and by the end of the day will have had a hand in the reason you may be gettting fired or written up leaving you completely blindsided, all in the name of them "having to do what's right for the company." Anyway,it's great that you supported your friend who "had it rough" and granted she may have, which was unfortunate. However,she only experienced what WE experience on a DAILY basis. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but like my mother told me as I was growing up,"Just keep living, honey." "Keep living, and unfortunately for you will see.
#5 Aug 13, 2009
I read the poem and the comments by both black and white respondents. None of us can really know the other race's experience because we haven't walked in their shoes. What we can do is to treat EVERYONE as we would like to be treated no matter their race. You have no control over how they respond and treat you and others. Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness!
#6 Oct 26, 2009
This poem is excellent! I have been on earth for 25 years and I have had this poem printed on my hoodie for seven years now. I Graduated Vallejo Senior High School in 2002.
To me this poem does not only apply to the work place, but everywhere. To think this poem only applies against white people, or any other race, is ludicrous. The question everyone should be asking is, who are "they" in this poem. I have experienced racism from black, white, and asian people and have been judged as this poem says. These are a few of my personal experiences and why I can relate to this poem as a person of Nubian decent.
"They take my kindness for weakness."
In the hood "they" think I may be a sucker because I help old ladies or hold the door for people. I actually pick up trash on the street. I say something when people are being loud and obnoxious in my neighborhood.
"They take my silence for speechless."
Just because I'm not talking loud and being disrespectful like the rest of you I'm too good. When is it cool to make fun of a person dressed in a tie and slacks at a bar? Why is that I most join in or welcome you to a conversation because your louder than everyone else!?
"They consider my uniqueness strange."
I'm a geek so things I do maybe unknown, that does not make me weird. Because I drink Kettle One vodka and not Grey Goose or Hennessey doesn't make me less "black" than you. Because I drive a Jetta and not a "scraper car (google)" I'm not qualified to be fly. I wear belt that actually keeps my pants at my waist not under my crack.
"They call my language slang."
When I speak proper, I'm being different or white washed. I have been told "you don't sound like other black people," WTF!!!! And all I can do is smile and say thank you!? So do blacks talk monkey or something? I missed that memo...
"They consider my success accidental."
Even amongst us blacks if you get a good job sometimes "they" think you did something or know someone. I couldn't possibly be smart enough to get a job based on my knowledge. Going to college meant you thought you were too good or better than the rest of the homies in the hood. I say no dude I'm better than you not because I graduated but I wanted to better myself past the street we grew up on.
"They minimize my intelligence to "potential"
Being a tech contractor "they" can't see my race by name or my resume. So when I show up and do an outstanding job and get praises from everyone. After months of working I am told, "You know what your doing and you get along with everyone, good work. We will call you and try and get you hired on." The project ends and no call back I find out two new people were hired after my hard work. Yes "they" were white.
So you be the judge on who "they" really are. Passing this around to black people at work, not such a good idea. Embracing the words and moving on sounds like a better plan. This poem is not just for black people, it was meant to encourage the righteous few out there that believe in a better world. Where racism, bigotry, and ignorance have no room and race is just a shade of skin tone.
#7 Oct 30, 2009
Saga form Greensboro. This is a wonderful poem, and my advice to you is, "Keep Living". I shared this poem with my Hispanic friend and her reply was this is so true, and for my race, too. She raises this question,“How about I change "Black" to "Hispanic". "May I have a copy", she asked? I am glad that put this poem away because today, I was able to lift her spirits. The workplace Anglo-Saxons privilege mindset makes others feel as if they are auditioning every single day. Well, NO MORE! So now you know this poem restored by HISPANIC friend's self-worthiness.
#8 Oct 9, 2010
Great poem, I plan on putting on my notice board above my desk, I think it hold many truths and if you think otherwise, well let's agree to disagree. Yes ideally there is only one race, the human kind but unfortunately the social construction of race is here and perhaps for a while. As someone mentioned the anglo- saxon power force is here with its gaze and our perceptions of ourselves and each other is in relation to this.
Oh honey, it is heart warming to know you haven't experienced racism but it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Please, look at the world, the master mentality is as stubborn as the mentality of slave, yes please look at the world. I can't say it enough.
I'm black too - African Caribbean Brit
#9 Feb 26, 2011
I am trying to find out when this poem was written? Sorry, but it sounds like a late 1980's origin, when Black Studies was being promoted in (not just black) colleges. I can trace it back to 2002 - can anyone go further back with it or where (author/city) it originated from. Thanks
#10 Nov 2, 2012
can sum1 just let me know where white in the work place is cause i been lookin and can't find it, maybe white folks ain't so racially charged these days, maybe they have moved on to concerns that actually effect ppl and thier work place in um 2012. this poem is extremely ignorant , just the reference of "they" over and over again is racist and segregating which is alot (maybe even totally) of the way that racism even still is a issue with sum ppl. get a job get a life findsm real relivent problems
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