Working in Corporate America is difficult as a person of color, but it’s made even more challenging by the fact that black death being constantly in the news and on our social media timelines. Colleagues either ignore this fact, take on the role of the sympathizer (much to the annoyance of many), or are blatantly insensitive to our plight. Still, you gotta get that paper. So how do you manage coping with working in what can feel like a hostile environment? Try these tips:

Intentionally inject black joy into your day

Whether it’s lunch with your girlfriends or listening to your favorite artist, take time every single day at work to get your life with our beauty and brilliance. This will be a reminder that although we’re dying, we’re also living and slaying this life. It’s one of the most beautiful methods for coping.


A lot of folks feel like they have to hold it all in until they clock out, but if you feel yourself reaching your limit, call somebody. Talking it out will help relieve some of the pressure you feel. If you have trusted allies on the job, book a conference room for a bit and let it out with them. Just don’t hold it in.

Don’t check the news at work

You might have an inclination to check your phone, read the news with your morning coffee and scroll down your Facebook timeline, but maybe you should limit your contact with what’s happening outside of your job while you’re there if it proves to be too much. You can check back in when you feel like you’re in a safe space.

Advocate for cultural competency courses through your HR department

It’s not your job to educate everyone about the black experience, but it is your place of employment’s duty to create safe spaces for everyone from different backgrounds and with different life experiences. Although a lot of corporate gigs tout the term “diversity” as a shroud for their glib attitude toward actually creating diverse and caring workplaces, you can advocate for integrating cultural competency courses into orientation and especially management trainings.

Walk away from unpleasant conversations

Corporate America can be an incubator for uncomfortable (verging on inappropriate) conversations, especially around things such as race and class. The “curiosity” of some of your colleagues can cause them to start conversations you don’t want to have with them. It’s okay to walk away. Of course, don’t just walk off mid-sentence, but saying “I’d rather not discuss this at work, if you’ll excuse me” is totally appropriate. Coping with being corporate while black is difficult enough without having to navigate someone else’s voyeurism into black pain. You don’t have to do it.

How do you cope with these issues in the workplace? Let us know in the comments below!

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