From Tulane University, the very heart of White Devil Babylon - uptown New Orleans - student Shahamat Uddin - pronouns “he, him, his” - howls in protest:
Punctuality centres whiteness. It is far easier for white men to get to work on time than Black people who are having to change their hair to fit the workplace’s professionalism standards.
It’s a hair thing, yes, and therefore terribly political, a hill to die on. But it’s even more than that. It’s also the devastating suspicion that you might be more likely to get hired if you remove your nose piercing, if only during office hours:
I remember the cultural pride I felt when I got my gold studded nose piercing, admiring my ancestors who donned the same kind of jewellery. I take it out now because I know I need a job, and I have learned from the Brown and Black people before me what I have to sacrifice to get one.
You see, wondering whether that nose piercing will be frowned upon, by employers or their customers, constitutes “systemic white supremacy,” a crushing phenomenon “that is barring us from maximal success.” It’s a “sacrifice,” an outrage, proof of being downtrodden. Because nose jewellery is pivotal to both optimal functioning and mental wellbeing. And questions of whether such piercings are ideal for a given workplace - however unspecified and theoretical those questions may be - amount to further, damning proof that “this country was not made for me.”
I have learned when and where it is to my own disadvantage to be too Brown or too gay or too immigrant.
One more time, Tulane University. Where tuition is a mere $60,000 a year. And where the oppressed huddle for comfort against the Cold Winds of Whiteness.
Western business professionalism is rooted in white supremacy. The practice of professionalism is shaped to advance the careers of white, straight, married men.
The 40-hour work week was built to allow white men to succeed at work while their wives would care for all of the family’s child and home responsibilities. The reason “coloured people time” exists is because non-Western cultures tend to have more polychronic work environments, and there is a different prioritisation of family and relationships over capitalist productivity and work demands.
Which is obviously what every employer wants to hear. And pay for. Every month.
A “polychronic” culture, since you ask, is one in which chatting and distractions are both commonplace and encouraged, and in which “issues such as promptness,” and reliability and productivity, are not prioritised. As favoured in, say, sub-Saharan Africa, that engine of civilisational blossoming and human betterment.
And if such indignities are insufficient,
Interviewers would much rather listen to the stories of my parents’ immigration struggle coming from Bangladesh than the time I organised all the people of colour in my organisation to fight back against our racist boss.
The details of this alleged racism - mentioned twice, rather proudly - are left somewhat unclear, indeed entirely mysterious, but you can imagine how such recollections would be catnip for employers. Employers who will likewise be impressed by a state of exquisite moral enlightenment in which injustice is measured in nose piercings and the cruelties of being expected to arrive for work on time.
I’ll just leave this here.