Featured, Race & Politics

A Long-Time White Reader of VSB Needs Some Help. Let’s Help Him.

Here at VSB HQ, we get a lot of emails per day. Like a lot a lot. I italicized that first “a lot” to let you know two things: 1) like,it’s really a lot, and 2) to let you know it’s real. Like, real real. Using the same word twice – and italicizing to boot – let’s you know just how real it is.

We don’t read them all. In fact, typically, I go in each day and skim all of the subject lines in attempts to avoid emails that will either piss me off (which has happened) or are a waste of time (way more than you know). Sometimes they’re emails with business opportunities that look promising (one such email that we received recently is a pretty big damn deal that’s asked us to be apart of something that, at this point, I’m sure almost every Black person is aware of), and a lot of times they’re emails looking to submit material to VSB. I promise, y’all, I try to get through them.

And sometimes, they’re reader emails, quite often from white people. A few days ago, I came across a reader email and said, this white guy needs help. He needs an education and he’s asking for it from VSB. What better place to let that happen than in the VSB comments section. He said in his email that it was okay to post his question, so that’s exactly what’s about to go down.

Dear Brothas,

I’ve been following your site for a few years, laughing and diligently taking notes on how not to act at the cookout. I know you and your readers are thoughtful, generous people so I come to you in search of guidance:

I am a white male, early 30s. I recently took a job at a majority black radio station. This is my first time working with black folks in a specifically professional setting. Do you or your readers have any good tips for me? I’ll take my comments off air. THANKS!

Honestly, my first through tenth reply is: Don’t Be Racist. Oh, and treat people like you want to be treated. Seems like that would cover it all, but that’s probably not that helpful. I’ve personally never worked in a majority Black environment. Is there some sort of difference between the two? So let’s say you do work in such an environment and a white dude starts working there, maybe there are things you HOPE he doesn’t ever do or say, etc. Maybe this is the opportunity to create the Working With Black Folks Manual. If that’s the case, what would YOU put in there?

Let’s Friday this bitch.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly (and gorgeous) for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. He refuses to eat cocaine chicken. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future. You can hit him on his hitter at panamadjackson@gmail.com.

  • MsCee

    “This is my first time working with black folks in a specifically professional setting.” I’m not sure what that means. This is his first time working with Black people? Or this is his first time working with professional Black people?

    • LMNOP

      Yeah, I wondered what a specifically professional setting was.

    • miss t-lee

      Probably both…lol

      • MsCee

        Lmfao

    • DG

      I read it as “this is the first time I’ve worked in a mostly black environment,” where 50% or more of the staff are of color.

  • pimpbagel

    Just remember, you have to work twice as hard and be twice as good as the black man to get ahead. Never show up in your street clothes. Keep your hair short and neat. It’s always ALWAYS “Ask” not “Axe”.

  • Dougie

    Treat everyone with dignity? Be a good person?

    How about it’s a freaking professional atmosphere. Be professional.

    Oh, and don’t think you need “tips” on how to “be” around Black folks. Just be. smh

    • Like you need a briefing on how to behave with the animals before you enter the zoo.

      • Dougie

        Croikey! Looka that big one over there. We’re gonna go up reeeeeal slow and see if he’s friendly today…

        • LMFAO @ Croikey!!!

      • grownandsexy2

        Early in my career, I worked for a firm that actually had a manual in the file cabinet on how to interact with black folks.

        • Dougie

          you didn’t steal that one for comedic value?! you’re slacking!

          • orchid921

            I need to know the name of this company!!

            • grownandsexy2

              All I’ll say is that they were engineers.

          • grownandsexy2

            Hangs head in shame.

        • miss t-lee

          No.
          Way.

          • grownandsexy2

            Yup. It was in the back of the file cabinet and I found it one day when everyone was out.

            • miss t-lee

              Mess.

        • AzucarNegra

          What??

        • MsSula

          Issa lie!!

          • grownandsexy2

            I wish.

        • I’d love to see what that looks like.

          • grownandsexy2

            Now this was on the heels of the Civil Rights movement when blacks were being employed at firms en masse (or their idea of en masse). Maybe two or three of us at the most. The manual referred to us as “Gate employees.” I‘m not sure what that meant, but if I had to guess, it was “blacks entering the workforce” or something like that. One of the things I do remember the manual said was to “avoid joking with blacks.” One thing I used to notice that they’d do is find the darkest black person they hired and sit them by the elevator so when the doors opened, there would be no mistaking they had black employees.

            • Brown Rose

              Wow. Just Wow. It just goes back to what I said earlier. Do non-Blacks really even see us as the same species? That’s rhetorical.

            • L8Comer

              Just like in mad men!

        • Mary Burrell

          Are you serious?

          • grownandsexy2

            You can’t make this stuff up Mary. An engineering firm in the mid 70s.

            • L8Comer

              Ibm?

              • grownandsexy2

                Nah, Day & Zimmermann.

                • L8Comer

                  Ohhh okay. Smh!

  • Alessandro De Medici
  • Randle Aubrey

    “[O]ne such email that we received recently is a pretty big damn deal
    that’s asked us to be apart of something that, at this point, I’m sure
    almost every Black person is aware of.”

    Y’ALL ARE JOINING THE NAACP?!?!?!?!?

  • Dougie

    Also, no matter how many times you hear the word…. it’s not ok to say…

    Nope. Not even then. NOPE, not then either… yea I know EVERYONE is saying it. Not you though.

    I know the Christmas party feels more relaxed…. Right, right, I know… you DID earn the invite to the cookout. You still can’t say it there either.

  • miss t-lee

    Don’t be a stick in the mud.
    Also don’t expect your co-workers to be your Black people tour guides.
    Pay attention. Observe.
    Ask genuine questions about us if you have them. Don’t expect answers, but if you receive answers, listen.
    Don’t be a d*ck.
    Happy working!

    • DG

      I think you pretty much covered it…

    • L8Comer

      Nah don’t ask me no fucking questions. Ask google.

      • grownandsexy2

        lolollll

      • Mary Burrell

        I love that i have to use that (LOL)

      • miss t-lee

        Bwahaha.
        You can ask, will I answer is the real question?

        • L8Comer

          Noppeeee do NOT ask me. I’d rather u never ask at all. Ever. Da fuck I look like? I mean maybe if I worked for some racial education org that would be appropriate. Barring that? Don’t ask me. You need to be my goooooood friend to ask questions like that.

          • miss t-lee

            Understandable.

    • Mary Burrell

      One of my best friends who is jewish her mother said to me “I never had a black friend before” I just sighed and blank stared into space.

      • miss t-lee

        Oh dear.

  • AKA The Sauce

    I’m not touching this. Don’t want to be mean.

    • I’ll carry that mantle. Hold my cup.

      • AzucarNegra

        And the bottle

        • AKA The Sauce

          Right

      • AKA The Sauce

        Will I need both hands?

        • Just tell me which one you drank out of.

    • Val

      Be mean, it’s Friday.

      • AKA The Sauce

        No…Cog has me covered. Y’all can’t handle two of us.

  • Wyldeflower

    First thought: Trollllling. I’m just trrroooooolllling.

    Ok, second thought. Be who you are and let them black professional peoples show you what actions they don’t like. Then, if you not willing to conform or change and the kitchen gets too hot, then send your resume out and get the stepping.

    That’s what many black people do in professional and non-professional places do.

    I’ll stop there.

  • Walk up to the first black man you see and try to do the Kid n Play dance with him.

    It will REALLY ingratiate you to him if you call him Jamal and/or Tyrone.

    • MsCee

      Solid advice, Pinks.

    • miss t-lee

      Legit.

    • Quirlygirly

      Or he can give him a pound and say..What up Son?

      • What up my NIGRA would be more appropriate, I think.

        • Quirlygirly

          LMAO..you tryna get ole boy beat down and fired..

        • RaeRae

          I once told a white boy to throw up the Que Dawg hooks and bark when he saw some bruhs. He was getting on my nerves and he touched my food. It was over for him after that.

          • MSNY

            Oh my gosh noooo

          • Mochasister

            I almost feel sorry that white boy. Remind me never to p*** you off.

    • Alessandro De Medici
    • Val

      Lol You so crazy, Pinks.

    • Maine&Grace

      Setting that man up go straight failure.

    • Mochasister

      You forgot Daquon for the millenials.

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