Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"I'm a young black professional male from the hood, how can I feel more comfortable around whites?"

QuoraI do not know any whites in my personal life. I feel out of touch or unable to relate with them during conversations. Professionally, we are on the same page, but socially it is difficult to communicate with them effectively.
Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self: in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one's nakedness can always be felt, and, sometimes, discerned. This trust in one's nakedness is all that gives one the power to change one's robes.
Ground Rules:
You have to know with absolute confidence that there are whitefolks who would fight and die for you, more than anybody you ever met in your life....
Here’s my primary advice:
1. Don’t make work the focal point of your experiments in social relations....
2. The world is never going to fully understand your black world. That includes me....
3. Every business culture is different....
And finally,
4. Be prepared to deal with the end of your blackness....
The advice list is a little more fleshed out at the link

33 comments:

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

The advice list is a little more fleshed out at the link.

Don't you think you might discourage further comment with that opening Troops?

Trooper York said...

Ok Lem no problem.

Sometimes the truth hurts.

edutcher said...

Lem, if they can't take a joke, they might as well go back to FB.

BTW, this guy sounds like he's a Barry wannabe who's actually having an attack of good sense. He somehow understands his "blackness" is not uppermost in the concerns of the larger world.

My advice: If you went to Japan, you wouldn't see people concerned with their "whiteness". Follow suit.

PS The guy most worried about his "blackness" turned out to act like the whitest white guy this side of Bush 41. In fact, he makes Bush 41 look like James Brown's twin brother.

Take the hint and don't sweat it.

bagoh20 said...

Whites made race important when it was advantageous to them. Modern culture and law has reversed that to where everything but White is an advantage to some degree, and nobody wants to give away their advantage. In fact, they fight to expand its power at every opportunity. That impulse is understandable. You have something that gives you an edge over the majority in power. That's a nice thing to have. It's also understandable that Whites would hate this development the most, and call for color blindness now.

Race relations will only improve when we diminish the advantages ANYONE gets from it. Things like Affirmative Action are today's institutional racism. It will take another civil rights movement with similar shaming of the new racism to get us closer to a world where race is irrelevant. I have to praise Trump for doing just that kind of shaming as he did with Elizabeth Warren recently, but he does it completely by accident in reaching for any weapon at hand. It would be an awesome new approach if he understood it, used it consistently, and resisted using the old racist language that diminishes his bona fides with it.

Lem said...

Sometimes the truth hurts.

Ok here is some truth. If a costumer came to your store asking for some advise on a particular garment, you wouldn't tell a truth that would hurt.

ndspinelli said...

When I was an investigator for the prosecutor's office in KC I had a secretary from the 'hood. She was young, intelligent, church going, vivacious young woman. She was, like many black people, very straight and honest. Theresa told me this was her first experience dealing w/ white people, except for some teachers in high school. Our office was probably 85-90% white. She and I found our common bond w/ food. Italians and blacks not only love food, we love to talk about food. We started bringing in home cooked food to share. We stayed in touch for some time. Last we spoke, a while back, she was married w/ kids.

For some people, music, or other cultural stuff could have been the connection. She sang in the Baptist Church choir so music could have been our bond. But, I can't sing a lick. Theresa taught me a lot of slang. We made each other laugh. She talked about her "ghetto onion" [large, round buttocks] all the time. She was a very good secretary. I can mumble when I dictate but she seldom had to ask me to listen to the tape when she transcribed.

Lem said...

Lem, if they can't take a joke, they might as well go back to FB.

This blog is not big enough to push away an ant.

Trooper York said...

That's just not true Lem. We tell people that dresses are just not right for them all the time. That it doesn't fit. That it is too tight. Or that if they don't want to spend the money on a good bra they should go to Target. Because you see you never make a good business if you consistently lie to people. They might hate you and not shop in you store if you tell them the truth but they can't say you lied to them. Lying is the death knell for you reputation.

You never make money on people that are fooling themselves. That's a mugs game.

Lem said...

Be prepared to deal with the end of your blackness....

Every SNL black comedian?

Lem said...

Ok, I gave you a bad example then.

Trooper York said...

But hey it is your blog and your rules. no problem.

Although I don't see who would be pushed away. You kind of have to know your audience so to speak.

Methadras said...

You want the distinction between blacks and europeans/whites? Then you can look no further than geography as your template for why the differences between whites and blacks are so divergent. First of all it's genetic. The second is that blacks originated primarily from equatorial Africa and warmer latitude climates. While white Europeans are from upper colder latitude geographic regions. Now based on that look at the levels of technological development between whites and blacks throughout history and you will see that northern latitude white Europeans developed more technology than warmer climate equatorial Africans ever did. Even the differences between Mediterranean Africans during the time of early Egypt shows the differences between the lighter skinned Africans vs. the Nubians.

Whites developed far more technology than blacks ever did. Blacks living in warmer climates didn't have the motivation to develop while colder whites did. So listening to blacks talk about why they can't relate to whites is basically listening to a blind man ask why he's blind. A pointless waste of fucking time. Black people who isolate themselves in the black enclaves only have themselves to blame for why they are socially isolated.

Trooper York said...

Lem you feel the way you feel. I want to do it the way you want to do it.

edutcher said...

Lem said...

Lem, if they can't take a joke, they might as well go back to FB.

This blog is not big enough to push away an ant.


Maybe, but, to make room for a perpetual sorehead, you drive off anybody with a sense of humor, is that any better?

There was a reason we left TOP.

Trooper York said...

Political correctness are the Mexicans of our discourse these days.

It does the work that Americans don't want to do.

Sixty Grit said...

I wouldn't call you a perpetual sorehead, ed. Occasionally miffed, maybe, but that's about it.

ricpic said...

A young black professional should be able to speak Standard English and comport himself in a manner that is unthreatening. In other words though he may know ghetto language and ghetto behavior it should be no problem for him to shelve both while socializing with whites. If he does that and is a decent sort who is at ease while socializing with them 95% of whites will fall all over themselves to welcome him into the club. The greatest impediment to blacks in present day America is the myth they will not let go of that whites are hostile and out to get them, when in fact, in my experience at least, whites are ridiculously eager to laud and applaud any black who makes the slightest friendly gesture.

ndspinelli said...

There's hatred of PC, then there's just plain ol' hate.

Rabel said...

I sympathize with the young man. He has a difficult road ahead but he should know that he's not alone and there's help available.

ndspinelli said...

ricpic, Virtually all successful black people can transition between both worlds seamlessly. The aforementioned black secretary learned quickly to adjust to a white office. The key is not having a chip on your shoulder. A lot more black people have chips on their shoulders than back in the 70's when Theresa came into the white professional world. She was chipless.

edutcher said...

Sixty Grit said...

I wouldn't call you a perpetual sorehead, ed. Occasionally miffed, maybe, but that's about it.

And here I thought I was merely tolerated.

ricpic said...

A young black professional should be able to speak Standard English and comport himself in a manner that is unthreatening.

IOW, act in a civilized manner. They are asked no more than we ask of ourselves.

ndspinelli said...

The key is not having a chip on your shoulder. A lot more black people have chips on their shoulders than back in the 70's

That's exactly it. I do think, however, some of the chips will vanish with Black Narcissus.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Race is not the real issue in this guys complaint. Well....I mean it will be IF that is all he focuses on.

The issue is that he comes from a completely different culture and social background than the others he is working with. He is from the "hood" and they are probably from the burbs. It would be the same uncomfortable gap if it were two 'black' or any color persons from those cultural backgrounds.

White people from Appalachia, the hollers in West Virginia would have similar issues of not feeling like they fit in when put to work along side white people who grew up in Palo Alto.

Get over yourself. It isn't a black thing. People at work may not have anything in common at all. They may not want to "socialize" with you just because....they don't want to socialize. When I was "working" at a stock brokerage firm, the gap between the men and women was even LARGER than that of this black guy and his white co workers. So freaking what. I didn't feel that the guys should have to socialize with me or have discussions about anything BUT work. We were friendly......we were not "friends". Occasionally we might have some conversations about innocuous stuff like music, movies, cars whatever to pass some time.

If you insist on being BBFs with your coworkers then you need to find things that you can talk about that you have in common that have nothing to do with being from West Virginia, the Hood or Stanford. But be aware....that they don't want to be friends may not have anything to do with your color....maybe they just don't want to be friends.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The other issue is that this guy is focused on his black heritage, the hood. He probably doesn't realize that the majority of white people (at least those that I know) could really give a sh*t about his black experience when he is working at the same job.

Just do your freaking job. Do a good job. Don't have an attitude, and that goes for anyone at work black, white, yellow, brown, plaid. Just do the job. Don't make extra work for others and be pleasant or just shut the heck up while working. Speak clearly, respectfully, and do your job.

The majority of the people don't give a rip. Do your job. Did I already say do your job? Yes I did :-)

Sixty Grit said...

When I started working at a mainframe manufacturer in Sunnyvale in '74 I had spent the previous 5 years working in construction, lumber yards, tree work, in foundries, warehouses, you name it.

So I got me a high tech job and there I am, straight out of the hills of Appalachia, working with Dean Witter's son, all kinds of fancy PhDs, Stanford grads, guys with MBAs, other guys with MS CS degrees, smart fellers, every last one of them. Was it easy to mix and mingle with such people? Well, maybe because I had attended a good high school where I had learned English, I got by. Never once started a fight, kept my mouth shut and listened, and over time, learned how to design ICs. I guess back in those days such a thing was possible.

I think the key was to not have a chip on one's shoulder, be willing to learn, and pay attention to details. And now, over 40 years later I am still friends with my former coworkers, at least the ones who didn't croak, and I look back with amazement at what we did together. Diversity truly was our strength. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA - sorry, I had to toss that in there.

Actually there were people from all over the world - Africa, Eastern Europe, all parts of Asia, people who had fled communism and really saw the U.S. as the promised land. They knew what it was like to live in fear of their governments and I know they would have had a thing or two to say to that boy dwelling in his blackness.

edutcher said...

oopsy and Sixty both make the point.

It isn't color, it can be religion, sex, gender (whatever that is anymore), social class, region.

Anything that makes you different is only what you make it and you're there to do a job, nothing else. Just make yourself valuable and you'll fit in.

Lem said...

Funny video Rabel.

ndspinelli said...

Sixty, You're at your best when you talk about your vast experience. IMHO anyway.

Sixty Grit said...

Thanks, Spins. Upon reflection, I realized I neglected to drop one name - there was an engineer there who got laid off just after I started, so I never met him, only heard his name mentioned by other engineers. The geek in question was Larry Ellison - wonder whatever became of him - sure, other guys spoke ill of him, but maybe there was a tinge of jealousy involved, after all, he's only worth 50 BILLION DOLLARS now!

Yep, if you pay attention you might be amazed at what you see...

ndspinelli said...

Sixty, Your story about class differences shows that they can be just as difficult as race. One of my sisters married into a New England WASP well to do[Not Boston Brahmin by any means] family. My parents were ethnic, factory worker. I remember them feeling so nervous about going to the inlaws house and all meetings w/ them. That's just the way the world is.

Leaving Larry Ellison out of the original anecdote just made the follow-up that much better.

Chip Ahoy said...

My recommendation for fitting in is to offer yourself. To whatever it is they are doing. Whatever it is you have to offer your uniqueness will be accepted and used however it can. I can attest to this with dozens of examples if you like.

What, you don't like? Fine then. Take the point without examples.

This cri de ceur reminds me of the REDDIT question about psychological things people feel. The best one was insecurity in the apprehension about being the only one not fitting into a group. It is not a color-based psychosis.

ndspinelli said...

Or, just bring a casserole to pass. In Wisconsin, it's called a "hot dish." Chip, you're a great cook, bring one of the many dishes you've tempted us w/ over the years. You'll almost certainly be embraced.

Julie Pascal said...

"Virtually all successful black people can transition between both worlds seamlessly."

Could just say "all successful people" and be done with it. If there's a problem to solve it may be the supposed assumption that whatever office culture, that it's the same as white culture. It's not. Take that thing going around the last couple of days where the intern decided that she ought to coordinate a petition to have the dress code changed during her internship, wrote a proposal just like she'd been taught in college, and got all (except one) of the other interns to sign it and present it.

Her failure to transition between the worlds of "university" where they promote that sort of foolishness, and "business" where the boss really doesn't have time for that sh*t got all of the little signers fired.