How To Impress Your Boss, An Intersectional Guide
July 31, 2018
Pogonip steers us to the pages of Everyday Feminism, where Sophia Stephens, a freelance writer and self-described “educator,” informs white employers of how to “ensure the safety of the black people and people of colour who work with and for you.” Not safety in the sense of fire regulations, of course, or loose stair carpeting, but with regard to the exquisitely delicate emotional state of All Brown-Skinned People Everywhere. Due to this perilous and inherent instability of mood, there are “questions to interrogate as you engage with people of colour and their labour.” Among which,
Are you asking or demanding? Many white people who approach Black and non-Black people of colour for labour do not ask for our labour — they demand it from us. Asking someone to do something leaves it open-ended with space for the person to say no… If you are exhausting and hurting Black and non-Black people of colour around you because you won’t take “no” for an answer when you request labour from us… it’s time to check your privilege.
If that’s not catnip for employers with tight deadlines, I don’t know what is. Oh, there’s more:
The most common opening for a demand that most white people don’t even realise is a demand is, “I need.” Of course you have needs, but is it necessary that you consistently go to people of colour, who also have needs that are systematically denied to them, to help you?
Yes, white employers must avoid using the phrase “I need such-and-such by the end of the week,” as this inflicts cruel and unusual hardship on those possessed of brown skin. And as an employer, a white employer, you must always remember to ask yourself, ‘Could I give this person’s work - which I hired them to do, and am paying them to do - to someone else - ideally, someone whiter?’ Or as Ms Stephens puts it,
It is important to reflect on how generations of access and entitlement to our labour does not mean you automatically get it from us now.
Needless to say, there are many other terms and conditions for white employers to observe, including parsing your requests for signs that they may be “inherently racist” or contain unspecified “microaggressions” and “triggering” language; and this:
Take a peek at our social media (if you have access and permission), or go on Google and do some research before you ask us for labour.
Presumably, this is in order to perform a daily, perhaps hourly, check on the current moods of every single brownish employee, and thereby discern whether or not they may be willing to consider doing whatever it is you’re paying them to do.
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