One of my addictions is juggling a lot of balls at one time. Life doesn’t feel right if I don’t have a million things going on. Makes me feel like a slacker. When this incident happened I was I am taking a cohort that focused on Diplomatic Leadership. A course that tries to ensure I am culturally sensitive as I pursue my leadership track. I’m sure my classmates can’t stand me because I always bring up black shit.
For example, we had to do this feel-in-the-blank exercise. It read, “The culture I identify with is _____ and it taught me the importance of _______.” And I’m all like, “African American and it taught me the importance of code-switching because society had deemed my cultural ghetto. and unprofessional”
Yes, I’m that girl in class.
Anywho, on this particular day, we’re in class doing a role-playing exercise. Basically, four countries have to meet and negotiate. I was chosen to be one of the Secretary’s of Defense (S.O.D.), meeting with three others. We’re in the meeting and off the rip, the S.O.D. of one of the other countries calls my country terrorists (for context I will mention he was a Middle Eastern Man). I am immediately taken aback by the name-calling because it automatically tells me that he and his country aren’t approaching negations in good faith.
But I’m also baffled because I have no idea what he is talking about. He kept talking about terrorists and I’m like “who is a terrorist?” Then he stops and says “did you even read the assignment?”.
Hold up! Stop! Who the hell does he think he’s talking to, of course, I can’t say that.
I do say “dude I’m always prepared”. The guy keeps talking to me like I’m an idiot. So I stop the whole thing and ask “What terrorist attacks are you talking about?” He goes through the notes. Looking, and looking. Then he points to it. I kid you not it read, “Many believe this is what has led to skirmishes among protestors at the border”.
I looked at him like he was BooFoo the Fool, because the last time I checked a skirmish is not a terrorist attack. Now he realizes he’s wrong but his fragile male ego won’t allow him to back down. Oh no, he must press on. This fool says “regardless you need to control your protestors they are committing acts against our citizens.”
Now if you know me, there’s a lot I don’t know but there are three things you can’t tell me anything about. That’s Politics, the Criminal Justice System, and being black. I proceeded to get in his ass about state-sanctioned violence and how the last time a country went after citizens who committed acts of terror, it lead to a ten-year war. The military should not engage with citizens, that is what we have the police for.
Do you know this man/child turn to the professor and said he no longer wanted to participate in the exercise because I was angry and he no longer felt comfortable. I just stared at his ass thinking ” I know this mofo didn’t try and label me an angry black woman and I bet you are uncomfortable knowing that I’m smarter than you.” But once again I say nothing, waiting on the professor to address him. (Again for context, she’s white).
When I tell you the smirk on my face was so petty when the professor looked and said ” you should never engage in name-calling during negotiations, and you are more than welcome to leave if you feel you are unprepared for the assignment.
Instead of leaving he just sat there pouting, like the man/child he was. Then when the entire group reconvened to discuss what happened in our groups and this dude tried to laugh it off and say, “I wouldn’t want to meet her at the table, she’s kinda of scary.”
I bet you are scared of educated black women.
I was blown away by the whole thing. You know it’s funny when you start to learn the small signs of microaggression you see them more often in school and your workplace. So yeah when he realized that I was better informed than he was, he responded by turning the passion and knowledge in my voice into the stereotypical “angry black woman mantra” and then became even more upset when the teacher informed him he was free to leave instead of addressing my so call anger.
As I crawl out of my introverted shell and try this thing called life, I realize there will be more moments like this, and the best weapon that any of us can have is to be prepared, to be knowledgeable about the topics we are engaging in. To think before we act, but still be true to who we are. Always bring our A game. Because there will always be someone who assumes we are unprepared and unworthy of our place at the table.
I plan to show them that not only am I worthy, I’m taking over the damn table.