Dear white people, your black colleagues aren’t required to date
Just because your co-workers are the same race does not mean they’re compatible
“Y’know, I always thought you and ____________________ would’ve been such a cute couple,” my white colleague said to me, with a dreamy look in his eyes.
I feigned surprise. “What? Why would you say that?”
“Oh, I just … it seemed like it might be a good connection.”
“Because why?” I pressed.
“Um, I dunno, my break is over. Gotta go.”
I shook my head. Here we go again.
Office spaces are opening slowly again after the COVID-19 scare, and people are headed back to their desks. Now whether they’ll share the same cubicles or move further apart in shared offices is totally up to the company. But I have a simple request for the walking, talking OkCupid co-worker in the office: Please stop trying to hook up your black co-workers. Yes, it worked for Michelle Obama and Barack Obama. We know.
But just because two people in the office wear less suntan lotion than you does not mean they’re bound to get married next week and have 3.5 kids. And black folks can tell you’re doing it. We see that Cheshire grin on your face when the new brown-skinned (wo)man is hired. You’ve already got your, “Soooooo, are you single?” query locked and loaded. You’ve already spied the ring finger to see whether this person is off limits or not. And even if you’ve never even asked the only other black person at work if (s)he’s taken or not, you’ve decided that this is bound to happen.
After all, co-workers are spending 40 hours (or more) together. You are just assuming that since we’re at work, we must want to date each other, amiright? (Side note: Is it not problematic that you’ve dismissed the idea that maybe this person may have a crush on someone non-black at this job? Some folks are indifferent when it comes to interracial dating.)
For some people, the no-office-relations rule is lame. Yes, we know it happens, but there are those who (rightfully) just don’t want to be in the same love and livelihood environment at the same time. But the OkCupid co-worker is still convinced that they’ll fall in love at the sight of each other’s melanin.