White Workers Openly Complained About Black New Hires!
There were 3 Black people on the 3rd floor. There were 3 Black people on the 4th floor. And, there was one Black person on the 5th floor. If I count those with coonish behavior, there were really only about 3 real Black people working there—not 7!
While there was a gang of 7 at my job site, my company had other job locations that had no Black staff or one Black staff person, out of a smaller group of 10-20 people. Unless you worked in the Washington, D.C. location of our company, you would never feel—no matter how racist you were—that you were being overwhelmed by the presence of Negroes.
3 Black women were hired over a 1 month period. And, all hell started to break loose. Yes, the company had the audacity to hire 3 African American women in one month and, to make matters worse, they weren’t low-level peons. They actually came into the company at the glass ceiling level for African Americans, a level 4 (out of 7 overall levels). So, what was the topic of discussion around the water coolers? What was discussed in hushed tones in the offices?
You guessed it. The White folks got their panties and briefs into a bunch because “Too many Black people are being hired.” Yes, 3 Black people constituted the potential for way too many new colored folks to turn up at the coffee machine or, God forbid, at meetings.
The issue wasn’t only that the company hired 3 African Americans. The major issue being voiced was that these Blacks came into the company as level 4 employees, which gave them some small measure of credibility. These weren’t 3 junior level staff. These were Blacks who could come in and run small to mid-size projects. These projects were usually run by Whites who were looking to climb the next rung of the ladder to mid-level management. On top of that, these African Americans were competition for level 5 promotions. Even though there was an obvious glass ceiling, there were no level 5 Blacks at the company, this still represented a troubling prospect for many White employees.
These new hires created a total of 13 African American employees out of a new grand total of about 153 employees. Yet, whites openly wondered what was going on at the company because the new hires were just “so noticeable.” There was speculation that qualified Whites were being denied jobs because the company wanted to “increase diversity.” The conversations got so out of hand, a level 4 African American employee had to complain to management about the comments. This employee told management the company should potentially brace for a “backlash” against African American workers based on the tone of what was being said openly in the hallways.
Do you realize how many assumptions have to be made in order to believe that these 3 African Americans have taken something away from someone White?
Do you realize the level of racism someone must possess to feel the addition of 3 African Americans created an intolerable onslaught of blackness?
Are whites the only ones qualified for every job?
How much audacity and stupidity is necessary to believe that African Americans aren’t qualified for decent jobs?
Do you think these 3 African American employees came into those work conditions, before ever even saying “hello” to anyone, and got a fair opportunity to show what they could do?
None of the answers to those questions mattered. The White staff, including mid-level managers, were openly concerned that Blacks got jobs they believed Whites were entitled to. That sense of entitlement is part of the status quo at many companies.
In the end, and predictably, these Black women were being called “stupid” and other names within weeks. It didn’t matter that all 3 women had advanced degrees and came from reputable companies. They were perceived to have stolen something from unknown White potential job candidates and they were seen as threats to current White staff.
And, this is the reality of the Black Factor. Everyone has to deal with a certain level of bullshit in life. But, the Black Factor adds a whole new level of dung to the pile for African American workers. And, that’s a fact!