It is a hellified thing to go to work everyday knowing your managers think your existence is an issue!
At my current day job, I have actually heard the following phrases:
“I’m so sick of these protests.” My nurse manager said this. This woman hires and fires people.
“I’m tired of hearing about Black Lives Matter.” A nurse I work with said this.
Now, understand this. I am a proud Black woman, working in a White space, with White people whom have no idea what it is like to be either Black or female. They have no idea that when I get in my car to either drive to or from work, I am hyperaware of police. They have no idea the true reason why I don’t friend co-workers on social media!
The work answer: “I’m really not on social media like that.”
The real answer: “There is no way in God’s creation I will give you people they kind of access to me when I KNOW how you feel about my Blackness! You just want to spy on me!”
Look, I have children. I have rent. Car payments. And it is a global pandemic! I need my job…and yet I have to navigate these spaces as Black, woman and activist. I realize that my activism is a deterrent and target in spaces where I don’t have agency. Right now? I don’t have agency.
But, there’s a work around for that. I keep the Activist Self and Employed Self separate. Employed Jenn can’t say/do what Employed Jenn can! And I’m learning that. I can be both, do both…and still block everyone I work with on social media.