Dealing With Negative Feelings From Black Co-workers


On a recent episode of The Unwritten Rules webseries, the main character Racey deals with negative attitudes of Black co-workers. She was teased for being a “whack” girl; a play on the racial descriptions white and black. The episode quickly became a hot topic of discussion as viewers expressed differing opinions on the subject.

One viewer stated:
I think the episodes are entertaining, but why do middle and upper middle class black people act as though all poor and working class black people are the same, This is just as bad as the white stereotypes they rail against. Many of the most accomplished ‘black” people came from humble beginnings, acting as though the only thing able to make one successful is money and a “white middle class” prospective seems quite ignorant to say the least. (Youtube viewer 9xxxxxxxxx)

A different viewer stated:
Stereotypes or not…there are black ppl who act like the employees downstairs, and there are black people like Racey. There doesn’t seem to be a biracial experience either, it’s just people who “look” the same, but act differently, the same can be said for white people who act like the family on full house or the family on Honey Boo Boo. People are people, they’re gonna act differently. The problem arises when ppl don’t show social ediquette or one group puts another down because of appearance.(Youtube viewer cycarter25)

Our Legaci question: Do you relate to Racey’s experience as the Black employee from “upstairs”? If so, how did you deal with the situation?

Jessica Ann Mitchell

Jessica Ann Mitchell has a M.S. in Public Relations and a M.A. in Pan-African Studies. Mitchell specializes in multicultural outreach and communications. She also writes on her personal blog at OurLegaci.com. To reach JAM email her at info@OurLegaci.com.

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The Mind of A Recovering Misogynist

Inside-The-Minds

Photo Credit: iStockphoto

I, at one time in my young life, hated women.  Hate is such a strong word, but it is appropriate for expressing how I felt at a time in my life. I despised women for their naïveté, and their false pretenses that would come off as “lame” to me. These false pretenses strayed far from the reality in which I lived in. A façade that came to be known as life’s mascara hiding ones true blemishes made me believe that all women were nothing more than rugs that needed to be stepped on. I quite naturally gravitated to the idea of being a user, and an abuser, because as a man, or so I thought that is ultimately what we do to women. In the society we currently live in, mainstream America tells many like I that our manhood is predicated by our ability to be dominant and in control. I applied that rationale to how I dealt with the woman in my life. I came to realize that if I had a little bit of power,( money, cars, clothes) equals that women would be more receptive to me. It was not until I started going through some things that  I was made aware of my misogynistic ways. Then I came to the conclusion that I, Qaadir Morris was a misogynist.

Misogyny derives from the Greek word “misogunia” which means hatred of woman. I did not become aware of this word until recently. The only thing that I knew was that I had a strong dislike of women. I was reading a book that I recommend to all young black males titled “Who’s Gonna Take The Weight” by Kevin Powell. One chapter in particular talked about his feeling of resentment towards women. It seemed comparable to my own preconceived notions that I began to truly analyze my mentality and myself.  I was firm in my masculinity, but I grew wary of a woman getting close to me. I feared the idea of being looked at a certain way, and I feared the idea of being disappointed. I thought that because I did not have certain things going for me anymore that the women that I would come in contact with would not care for my issues. My preconceived notions would lead me to do the same, so henceforth I would try to get what I could from a woman.

I attribute my mentality at that stage of life to my upbringing. As a lot of us from urban communities, I too came from a single parent household. I love and cherish my mother, but there were times when even she would fall into the sight of my misogynistic views. I always wondered why my dad was never around. Why is it that he didn’t want anything to do with me? I formed this thought in my mind that it was my mother’s fault for him not being there. She must have pissed him off to the point of no return. As I reached my teenage years I strongly felt that it was her, and not my dad that caused us to never meet. As I matriculated through high school, and started to develop my own ideologies I could understand why my dad left us. Hell, I would have left if I had to deal with my mom on that level. With age and experience I now know that I again was wrong with my feelings.

Being from “Urban America” the streets played a big role in my misogynistic views. In the hood, all you really have is your manhood, and it is determined by your style, your lingo, and of course by how many women you can sleep with. The music that I digested, played a big role in my misogynistic ways. My friends and I would begin to apply what we learned from Master P and the whole Cash Money click in our day-to-day lives. We wanted to be hood rich and began to use choice words like “bitches and hoes” to describe the women in our neighborhood and at school. The crazy part about this is that I was genuinely a good guy. I had manners, and to some I was too “nice” to the ladies. This idea of being “nice” blew me too, because again I thought that women did not want to be respected. Because I would talk to them in a respectable manner and get played to the left, where as the guy who would feel on them and talk disrespectful to them would get the girl. I had no choice but to switch the swag because I wanted the girls.  My rude and egotistical mannerisms had to show brighter than my intelligence if I wanted to be considered cool with the ladies, or so I thought.

I am a recovering misogynist. I can honestly say that I know longer despise women. Of course there is still room for growth, but I am now more aware than I have ever been. I do not claim to know it all, but I am aware of my flaws and that is a good thing. I believe that as a man we get so caught up in the material things in the world that we feel we have to buy our piece of love and happiness. I can’t say that I never flexed, because honestly I did. Maybe it is just the caliber of women that I was meeting that led me to believe these things. If I change my surroundings, I will get different results in my interactions. It comes down to being secure with who you are and knowing where you are going. I am not yet completely healed from the plague that a lot of us men face which is misogyny, but I am man enough to address the issue. What do you think?

Qaadir Morris is a journalist born and raised in the great city of Atlanta, Georgia. Morris is a recent graduate of Shaw University, located in Raleigh, North Carolina. Currently writing on a freelance level, Morris has interviewed the likes of T.I, and Andrew Young just to name a few. Qaadir is currently working on a novel titled “Schools Out”, which focuses on the trials and tribulations of a recent college graduate. In his artistic expression, Mr. Morris wishes to convey a sense of reality through words. “Writing for me has always been therapeutic”, says Mr. Morris. “Writing is like raising children; you have to instill structure yet give them space to grow and develop a personality.” As he continues to evolve Morris is also working on completing another novel by the end of the year, and organizing a series of events in the Metro Atlanta area.

The REAL Soul Food: The Benefits Of A Vegan Diet For African-Americans

Fried chicken, ribs, chitterlings, collard greens, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, these are common staples of what most like to call “soul food”. You can find these foods showing up at many Sunday dinners, barbeques, weddings and church functions. The African-American community especially takes pride in providing some of the best soul food cooking around. The problem is that most of this food that people call good for the soul, is not so good for the physical body. Heart disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes disproportionately affect those in the African-American community. Of course, African-Americans are not the only race of people that partakes in “soul food”, but the price that we pay according to statistics seems to be far greater than other races.

On Medicinenet.com, Daniel DeNoon uncovers these startling statistics in the article, “Why 7 Diseases Strike Blacks Most”:

  • Diabetes is 60% more common in black Americans than in white Americans. Blacks are up to 2.5 times more likely to suffer a limb amputation and up to 5.6 times more likely to suffer kidney disease than other people with diabetes.
  • Strokes kill 4 times more 35- to 54-year-old black Americans than white Americans. Blacks have nearly twice the first-time stroke risk of whites.
  • Blacks develop high blood pressure earlier in life — and with much higher blood pressure levels — than whites. Nearly 42% of black men and more than 45% of black women aged 20 and older have high blood pressure.
  • Cancer treatment is equally successful for all races. Yet black men have a 40% higher cancer death rate than white men. African-American women have a 20% higher cancer death rate than white women.

Additionally, according to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most ethnicities in the United States. However, African-Americans have the highest death rate percentage at 25.8.

I’m quite sure this is not the first time you have read alarming statistics about the health of African-Americans, however it is now important to examine alternative lifestyle choices to turn these numbers around in our favor. Through my own extensive research, I learned that the cause of many diseases is linked directly to what we eat. According to research done on vegan.org, consuming animal fats and proteins has been widely linked to heart disease, colon and lung cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, obesity, and many other debilitating conditions. The milk from cows has ideal amounts of protein and fat for young calves, but too much for humans. Eggs are higher in cholesterol than any other food. The American Dietetic Association reported that vegetarian/vegan diets are associated with reduced risks for these conditions. So, based on the health statistics of African-Americans and the benefits of a plant-based diet, it seems only natural to think twice before frying up some bacon!

I went vegetarian in 2001 and became a full-fledged vegan in 2006. The major difference between the two is that a vegan diet eliminates the consumption of all animal products. Many vegetarians still consume fish, eggs or dairy. Most people believe if they stop consuming animal products, they will be relegated to a boring eating lifestyle. There are so many resources, websites and cookbooks now available for vegan eating, that it would be impossible to get bored! I thoroughly enjoy what I eat and as an added bonus, know I am being kind to my body.

Many are also concerned they will not get all the vitamins and nutrients they need on a vegan diet and this is also a myth. Whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans provide all of the protein and nutrients your body needs. It’s all about education, planning and experimentation. I feel it’s time that African-Americans step outside of the box and take control of our health and in turn educate others on making healthy lifestyle choices. I realize that going vegan is a bit extreme for most, but I hope to be an example to show people that it is attainable and beneficial on many levels. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are foods that are best for your body and in turn make them good for your soul!

Christa R. Shelton currently resides in Atlanta, Ga and blogs daily on veganism. You can check out her blog at www.vegginoutwithchrista.blogspot.com for more information on veganism and health.