Stop Calling Me Magical: Why I’m Not Your Fix-It-All Negro
... if you wish to express gratitude, think before you call me magical.
March 09, 2020 at 6:14 pm
When I think of being ”magical” in the workplace, I'm often left with feelings of awkwardness, disdain and pessimism. While I wholeheartedly believe in ”Black girl magic,” there is a different connotation when a non person of color calls me ”magical.”
The main reason is that the premise of these two concepts are not the same. Black girl magic is a movement celebrating the incredible achievements of Black women across space and time. Referring to me as ”magical,” makes me think of the concept of being a ”magical negro.” A ”magical negro” can be described as a Black person that is lower in class, education and status. They typically possess magical powers for one reason and one reason alone: to help solve the problems of whites.
Within a workplace setting, it can be perceived as being facetious even though that is not the intention. The person expressing this admiration hopes to complement the person of color’s ability to seemingly accomplish a task that the white person could not. The issue for me is how it is associated with an office environment.
Within the workplace, things like fixing a printer don't make me magical, it makes me competent. While it might not have been something that the person could have solved in that instance, it doesn't mean that they couldn't have used their resources to figure it out.
Lastly, my ability to problem solve in ways that you cannot doesn't make me magical. It just means I looked at the situation differently and handled it within my lens/capability.
I say all this to say, if you wish to express gratitude, think before you call me magical. Instead, just thank me for being qualified enough to accomplish my role. Because while I am 100% Black girl magic, my magic is not based on my ability to identify and resolve your problem.