Nikki W.

B - elligerent

L - aggard

A - ntagonistic

C - ombative

K - illable

How those who want to keep us oppressed see us. My first day on the job was supposed to be exciting. A new chapter in my life. More money, new experiences and an overall sense of accomplishment. The day started nothing close to that. I arrived to work early, settled in at my desk (which was in an open area) and started reading my new hire manual. In walks the man who I would be working for. We'll call him Joe. I greeted him "Good Morning Joe, my name is Nikki and I'm looking forward to working with you." In front of a room full of people, me being the ONLY black person, I was greeted with "I DON'T WANT TO WORK WITH A NIGGER!" Stunned was my initial response. Soon after anger, hurt, embarrassment and disbelief set in. The glare in his eyes DARED me to respond! I knew how he “expected” me to answer…..B.L.A.C.K. I didn’t give him the satisfaction. Instead I let him finish his racist rant and he then went into his office. I took some time to collect myself and calm down. Once I gathered my composure I casually walked to his office, knocked on his door and asked if I could come in. He nodded yes. I closed the door behind me, put my hand on my hip and had a Clair Huxtable moment with him. I professionally and FIRMLY said “That was the FIRST, ONLY & LAST time you will EVER address me outside of my God given name. I don’t know who you ‘think’ you are, but I am NOT the one who will ALLOW you to treat or speak to me in a disrespectful manner. Furthermore I will be reporting this incident and taking it up the chain of command. Now is there anything you need me to do while I’m here?” The look on his face was priceless. He was stunned that I (a BLACK woman) spoke to him and put him in his place without being B.L.A.C.K. He expected me to be Belligerent, Laggard, Antagonistic, Combative and Killable (meaning my spirit). Joe did know me, my work skill, my talent, nor did he SEE me. All he saw was the color of my skin. That’s when I realized I was in for an uphill battle. Many may be asking why I stayed. I was married with a child and new house. Both incomes were needed and we couldn’t afford for me to quit. Like our ancestors, I had to put in the work to make a better life for my daughter. I wanted her to see that you don’t run away from adversity. You face it head on.

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