When black women have work friends
If you want us to have work friends and be social, don’t criticize the friends we make
This post was written published on Medium on July 6, 2021.
“Oh, we hired someone new,” my boss said to me before one of the new employees arrived for her first day. “I’m sure you’ll like her.”
I raised an eyebrow, wondering what was so special about this new hire. Shrugging, I figured I’d find out in time. When I first met her, I didn’t really get why I was supposed to like her so much. We briefly chatted, but she seemed like any other woman I’d worked with.
Then it hit me — this was like the time a prior boss (also a white woman) emphasized how I would be the “best mentor” for a new male intern coming in. We had absolutely zero in common (outside of the same degree field), but as soon as he walked in the door, I saw the same pattern: He was black. By the time another black woman came aboard and I heard the same thing, I just expected it to happen and shrugged.
When black folks congregate, why is it a threat?
Now normally this might be the kind of post where you’d expect me to go off into how not all black women and men get along and become best friends or date. But there’s another peculiar thing that seems to happen in Corporate America: While I ran into white people (99.9% of which were white women) who thought all black employees would hit it off, there was another stressful observation between black employees and black managers in white workplaces. Some are oddly threatened when we congregate, no matter who we congregate with.