Early December I got the opportunity to be a guest writer for the Huffington Post. I wrote about myexperience in the work place as a Black Woman who changes her hair often. How I was treated as a spectacle, and truly didn't feel it was my job to explain Black hair. I got trolled for it. I was told I was being hypersensitive. I was told that maybe this was only MY experience. Early Saturday morning, this video (below) hit Twitter sparking outrage.
DON'T tell me they are curious. This is inappropriate and MUST stop. Gracie is clearly uncomfortable and unsure how to stop them from invading her personal space. Who knows what is running through her head in this moment. Many are commenting that they "would've" done this, and she "should've" done that. But like mentioned in my Huffington Post article, there are fears associated for speaking up as a Black Woman. We all watched Gabrielle Union lose her job, we don't know what consequences Gracie would've/could've been.
We've all been Gracie. Afraid to speak up... when we truly shouldn't have to be. We need to use our voice the best way we know how. Whites & Non-blacks, acknowledge that there are many things that you do that are microagressions (they are petting her, for God's sake). We know that our hair is different. We don’t need a daily reminder, and we certainly don’t need you touching us.
One of the emails I received from my HP article asked me to be patient with my counterparts and “teach” them. My answer is still no. I will speak up on how I feel when offended, but please educate yourselves on what it truly means to be inclusive in the workspace. I responded to the emailer asking her if she was comfortable with the thought that her behavior could be making her coworker nervous to come into work as their true authentic self.
Ask yourself this question. Acknowledge and make the change.