A complete guide to finding your “woo-sah” with white coworkers
July 29, 2015 at 2:00 am
Though I have not been working in Corporate America for long, I have been mentally and spiritually overwhelmed at my workplace due to the sheer caucasity my coworkers exhibit sometimes. Let me be clear: these are not terrible people. They are far from it. But like many of my other black employees, there is a limit where I mentally tap out from any and all conversations. Such examples include, but are not limited to:
- CNN, Fox News and anything Don Lemon
- My hairstyle
- Music awards shows (sounds specific, but I am NOT your personal rap expert, don’t ask me if Iggy deserves a Grammy – pro tip: she does not)
If it were up to me, the only thing that would need to be discussed is this report due at 3:30. But since the corporate structure is not built that way, here we are. Yes, white coworkers can be privileged and annoying. But on those days when you’re suffering from ethnic fatigue and cannot take another story of an innocent black life gone by the hands of the police, you can reach your breaking point really fast. It is very easy to find yourself at a crossroad and contemplating molly whopping Mary with your stapler. To deal with these feelings, I have a personal guide on finding my “woo-sah” that I hope you can apply to your workday:
Moonwalking is not just a dance — it’s a lifeline
The number of times I have moonwalked out of stressful conversations is unparalleled. Find your own way to shut down conversations that can rattle your psyche. The side-eye and walk-away method works for me.
Headphones on, even if the sound is off
I got this trick from my mother. About 35 percent of the time when my headphones are on at work, no music is playing. I just have them in my ears to cut potential discussions at the root.
What music that contrasts your career trajectory takes you to your happy place?
I have found that the lewdest and most audacious songs take me out of my head when co-workers exhibit peak caucasity. Future’s Pandora station is my personal blessing and I want to share that. No, I do not move or sell dope. It doesn’t stop me from humming about it.
Self-care is greater than everything
This is the most important step. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that the privilege of white coworkers works two-fold. One: It gives them the bravery to ask and discuss micro-aggressive things to their counterparts of color. Two: By understanding the system we work in, we are automatically silenced from speaking out about this.
The first three steps in this guide to the woo-sah are real things that I do to cope with micro-aggressions. But step four is the most important because the goal of self-care is an act of rebellion to white privilege. That self-care action can be music, walking, stretching or anything that can create equilibrium within again. I have found that making time for self-care and getting out of the situation has done wonders for my mental health.
Now that I have shared my method to be at peace, I hope that you find your peace as well. Remember, you can clock out of work. But never let anyone make you clock out of life.
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