Thursday, February 11, 2016

That time I used white privilege to my benefit...

I grew up in New York which to me is one of the most diverse places you could ever be. Literally, there has to be at least one person from every country living in New York. Because of that, I had the luxury of being exposed to various types of music, food, ethnicities, perspectives, etc. So for the most part, I consider myself culturally aware. School was no different. With exception to highschool and college and one year at this catholic school, the schools I attended had a little bit of everybody. Even though both highschool and college were pre-dominantly white schools, minorities quickly clique up on the first day. Now in my real adult life, my career has been in pre-dominantly black environments up until 2014. I never preferred one over the other, it's just the cards that were dealt. Me being in all these different environments for the last 30 years, I can honestly say I've never personally experienced any racially based mistreatment ever.  

Now after being in the workforce for almost 9 years, I took a promotion in a whole new department that for the most part is super diverse at the mid-level. Because of the scope of the work we do, a lot of my departments' workers are from all over the world and/or have lived in other countries. Awesome right? But nah, leadership/management, is still VERY white. And technically, that's been the case in most places. It's reality. Whatever. My supervisor and one other guy are the only black members of leadership; out of say... 20 or so management personnel. As i've been in this department for over a year, I noticed certain leadership just really doesn't bother with or acknowledge us brown folk. It honestly didn't matter to me because I didn't deal with them. Until recently. 

But let me back up - folks in my previous dept are like my fam because we spent so much time together. They got my back, I got their back. So when I received a request from them about 3 weeks ago for information pertaining to my department, I reached out to this lady (who is in that section), lets call her Fessica, asking if she could point me in the right direction for this information. Fessica stay with an attitude. Most of the time she either ignores my email or attempts to give me the run around. She refers me to someone outside of our agency. I reach out to him, he sends me to someone else. That someone else says he doesn't know how he can help. Mm k. That running in circles shit, I don't do. So I reached out to my POCs overseas I normally deal with for similar issues. These POCs technically report to Fessica. The next day, I get this rude email full of (unnecessary) paragraphs from Fessica's boss, lets call her Daffy, saying how she has that information and how I should come to them (her and Fessica) first before reaching out to the overseas folks. The email had gotten back to her somehow. But hold up.

Mind you... Daffy's reply included the entire thread that showed I had reached out to Fessica first. My first reaction was to just ignore but it was PMS week and my attitude was on level: Boosie Badazz

Truth be told, she only replied that way because they see a lot of us as 'just that little black girl.' 

Nah. At least not today. 

I quickly hit reply all, and looped in my supervisor and this older white guy, let's call him Bob, from my old department who was also looking for the same information. Bob's sarcasm and bluntness is unmatched which is the main reason I thought it was appropriate to loop him in. He takes 'when keeping it real goes wrong' to another level and he fux with me heavy. Not to mention, he's about that #blacklivesmatter movement. 'Thank you, Daffy, for your response. However,...." I go on to state I reached out to her folks (Fessica n dem) as you can see in the thread who referred me to blah blah blah. Basically bih, send me the damn info and quit playing. Bob clearly catches up with the email, replies all, and goes ham - back to back. For every reply Daffy had, Bob had a smart ass follow up. *applause for Bob* By close of business, Daffy had replied with all the information requested.

If you had the info, why couldn't I just request it and you send it? Why do you disregard my requests? Why do I have to jump through hoops and deal with bad attitudes to get basic ish? Why do I have to get my old white male colleague involved? White privilege. Once it was realized I have white colleagues who respect me, then you provide the info? Nice.

White privilege refers to the theoretical concept wherein people identified as white in Western countries, have a privileged position in society beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances. - Wiki

Real shit.

Since that day, anytime I send them an email, they reply back quickly. On top of that, my clap back game hasn't gone unnoticed. I was recently nominated for a temporary position because "she's assertive and gets the job done." Their words, not mine ;-) I mention this as a reminder to my girls in certain environments where we can be looked at as 'just some little black girl' - stay true to yourself... make them respect you... don't back down... clap back in a professional way... and you deserve to be here. 

Who else is blossoming into a beautiful young woman with no chill?