While being on an “extended vacation” from any type of office work, there are some things I miss and some things I thank the big guy upstairs that I’m not in an office for. Being a minority in an office is like being the spokesperson for your race. It’s no escaping the “water cooler” talks about current events.
I’m so happy I don’t have to speak on the Trayvon and Zimmerman case or the Paula Deen scandal in an office setting. Speaking about race relations in an office just doesn’t go well. Let’s be real there are some people that will not have one fact about what they are talking about but will automatically say “it’s a shame what they are doing to Paula Deen and Zimmerman was only protecting themselves.” Then they will have nerve to look at you for your thoughts. There you are the spokesperson for black people, the expert on race relations, and the damn fool that was sucked into this conversation at work.
The first thing you have to do is explain all the facts of the situation because they are obviously too busy jumping to a conclusion instead of actually finding out the facts. You end it with “you didn’t know that?” Now they offended because they didn’t know the facts. At the end of the discussion, now that you laid out the facts and argued it like you were the second coming of Johnnie Cochran, there may be one or many that are not going to speak with you for about a week. Now instead of just being a fellow coworker you are a radical black person. Instead of being the second coming of Martin Luther King , you are now the second coming of Malcom X or Angela Davis (insert any black leader that white folks are generally afraid or view radical).
It is a way out of this though. Don’t talk about it. When they ask you what do you think or when they turn to you, just say “I don’t know” and walk away. Good luck with that though.