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The Black People At My Job

12 February 2009 20 Comments

I think I just discovered one of the problems with Affirmative Action. Depending on where you work there may be plenty of black folks around but for so many of us we can count the coloreds on one hand. It’s just a fact of work-life that we must endure. For me, I have finally reached my breaking point with these fools I see in the halls and feel obligated to pass with a little smile or nod. I would never say that there aren’t a few perfectly normal black folks roaming the hallways of my company, but mysteriously those are the ones I rarely seem to run into. Instead, just today, I was confronted with a full-on assault of black wackness on the job. The black folks over here are killing me today and it’s so bad that I’m considering revoking my support for Affirmative Action so that either I’m the only black person here or I am forced to work in a “Blacks Only” environment where such things will blend in. Allow me to explain.

jeamnate1. Some do-gooder put a bunch of cheap and cheesy perfumes and lotions in the ladies room like Liz Taylor’s Passion, White Shoulders, and a plethora of Avon products, and I just know it was some black lady. It’s bad enough that whatever comes out of many of these women’s bodies has the unholy stench of all things Jersey, but now to add insult to injury every time I go into the bathroom I have to walk in on some broad spraying herself down with Jean Naté or maxing out on some Avon lotion? It just isn’t right, especially since a full 30% of the women who use that bathroom don’t take the time to look back at the commode after they’ve flushed the toilet to make sure everything has gone down as planned. It’s common courtesy to not subject the next user of the stall to your leftovers, but somehow a sizable portion of grown women have not yet grasped the concept. I don’t know about you, but I always use the same stall at work – the first one directly to the left. I recently realized that this huge woman, The Beast, also favors that stall and THAT is why it’s often blown up and has this faint smell of cigarette smoke in the air. The Beast is not black, but that perfume and lotion packet stuff – that’s all Negro and I just know it.

2.  God bless the well dressed black man who talks about his grandchildren, pays for my coffee if he’s in line behind me in the cafeteria, and feels a genuine connection with African visitors to our company as if a bunch of Nigerians could care less. Really and truly bless his sweet naive ready to retire white-toothed self, because the rest of these Negroes are really killing me right now. The black history month listserve is so out of control I can barely even stand it and this one administrative assistant’s weaves keep getting blonder and blonder and it seems as though I’m the only one who notices. This woman with a Jheri Curl thinks she’s stuntin’, and she always wants to pull me aside and touch my hair because she’s considering going natural. She has been telling herself the same “I’m considering going natural,” lie for TWO YEARS now.  Jheri Curl Lady’s steadfast need for that curl aside, fashion-wise she stays with a popped collar, Capri pants, and some hype lil’ boots. I blame Curves and Michelle Obama for sending out the message that black women of a certain age can be fly without clarifying the fact that a Jheri Curl cannot be part of said flyness. Restrictions are needed.

friedchicken3. Now, the true piece de resistance that really got me going this morning was my visit to the cafeteria. First I saw this woman who I can’t help but notice because her dress is always. . . shall we say . . . unique. She stays in some mustard, forest green, or salmon. Im not knocking her for failing to update her wardrobe, it’s just the assault on my tired eyes that I have a problem with. That is, until today, when this woman, I’ll call her Mustard Greens, who usually wears some manner of fuzzy weave or ponytail piece, had the nerve to be rocking the bushiest Cleopatra wig I’ve ever seen. The bluntness of the bangs and ends could only have come from a single snip of a pair of garden shears, and the texture was like those old school Kenya dolls. Then homegirl had the nerve to put a headband over it! It was like something Gwen Stefani would do to be quirky or maybe play Alice in Wonderland in a video or something. Add that in with the fact that it was Fried Chicken and Macaroni & Cheese day in the cafeteria and THAT was considered the “Black History Month Meal”!!! I expect that kind of mess from my company because, frankly, white people don’t know how to act about anything black, especially when you put a bunch of them together to think about it, so they were serving the most neon yellow Mac & Cheese I’ve ever seen in my life and this sorrowful looking chicken. It was really disgusting and do you know there were mad fat white people in line trying to get themselves some of that? What killed me though – there was even one big black lady telling her coworkers how happy she was that there was fried chicken in the cafeteria like she’s so impressed by our organization and talmbout some “MMMMmmm, fried chicken!”

4. And just to add that last twist, especially considering it is not even 1:00 PM yet, why did I go into the bathroom and see this other black woman I call Leather Lady up in there? What’s wild is that she is called Leather Lady because one day she was wearing a red leather pantsuit. I choked on my Vanilla Mint Lifesaver. Since then, I can’t even begin to explain how out of hand her sweaters are, especially the applique ones, or why on God’s natural Earth she would wear a Kinte cloth print hat to work in 2009. Today, it was a green velvet jumper like my parents used to put me in when I was a toddler, or like Jenny on The Jeffersons used to rock. You know what else I can’t explain? Why she was in the bathroom spraying said green jumper with some of that Jean Naté. Killing me!


  • AverageBro.com said:

    Man, Thembi, you are killin’ me with this one.

    I work in a LARGE office with only about 6 other people on my entire floor (folks who used to commute are now allowed to WTH) and lemme tell ya’, I’d trade the desolation of boredom of this place for your office anyday.

    Well, okay, maybe for just a couple of weeks. That would prolly get annoying on the daily.

  • MsLindiwe said:


    I HAD been feeling nostalgic for a more, shall we say, integrated office space (because I’m about tired of these scandalous white people I work with), but you have completely cured me. I was doing okay, chuckling politely until your azz started spouting off about “sorrowful looking chicken”! Will you please stop!???

  • DJStylus said:


    I can’t deal with you, your blog, your co-workers or anything else black for at least a week.

    Stop The Madness.

  • Missy said:

    OMG!!!! I have missed your writing style so much. You have just the right amount of wit, charm, and cynicism that just works!!!
    Sorrowful looking chicken and neon yellow macaroni and cheese!!! ROFL I just know there was probably more food coloring than cheese in there. The only thing worse than a white person tell you what’s appropriate for Black History Month is having a GROUP of white people determining what’s appropriate for Black History Month.

  • Woe said:

    This is why I read this blog. And I just lost my damn appetite reading about the neon mac n cheese.

  • KelleBelle said:

    Unholy stench of all things Jersey.

    I’ll call her Mustard Greens.

    I blame Curves and Michelle Obama.

    I just fell in love with you.

    Thembi for Prez 2012!

  • AmyNxDx said:

    I accidently found your blog because I have google alerts on Gwen Stefani.. I started reading this and was cracking up!! You’ve said it all so perfectly!!!

    I think I love you!!

  • aaliyah said:

    WOW. its been a while since i had my fair share of thembi-fabulousness and i must say this definitely satisfied the thirst. THANK YOU for this. i’m not crazy. i see these sad black people too and it hurts my heart!

  • Aziza said:

    Jean Nate and Jheri Curls: classic. This blog makes me laugh so hard. You need your own show, Thembi. For real.

  • SingLikeSassy said:

    You’re crackin’ me up sista!

  • jazzfan360 said:

    I loved many, many things, but Kinte cloth hat was what really kicked it over. Oh man. These people have NO sense. I do, however, appreciate the well-dressed man who buys your coffee.

  • Erica@African-AmericanBrides.com said:

    Noooo! Not Jean Nate…lol. Even Love’s Baby Soft would have been better. Thanks for that throwback moment.

  • illestmami said:

    Just remember that ” Jean Nate afterbath splash is for those that take charge of their bodies” as the commercial advised. And who isn’t in control of their body and the madness than someone who is wearing that cheap-ass nasty-smelling Studio 54 perfume and a green jumpsuit. Oy.

    LMAO @ DJ Stylus,/b> stopping the madness.

  • Boris said:

    but seriously the fried chicken thing could get ur company sued because that stereotyping and prejudice. what niggaz only eat fried chicken SMH. do u work for one of those “ur my first coloured friend” companies

    i work in this clothes store with like ur typical ignant white folk with preconcieved notions on race and black people. and the place i work is near the ‘projects’ of england so 95% of black people r hood. now i am this eloquent dude with good spelling and grammer etc(basically sooo not ur average black person like most blog readers/writers) and i work with this one hooooooood rat

    thembi hear this
    -hes on probation
    -he had a nigga moment coz someone stepped on his crappy shoes………..after that he went a bought a NEW pair of shoes
    -he slings drugs
    -hes always loaded with money *side eye* mpfff
    -hes always talkin about ‘starting a company’ and hustling

    and im the complete opposite. but i think its cool coz it tells ignant white folk that we arent all hoodrats but most of us choose to be like this

  • Nicole J. Butler said:

    Where’n’a Sam Hill Hell do you work???

  • Aminahminaminahhhh said:

    Funny and true. Keep them coming…

  • Mo said:

    I’ll agree with you most of the time, but at my job it’s always the white women putting cheap lotion and hand soap in the bathroom. I think you need to investigate – you might be surprised.

  • Chicken Coop said:

    Great post thank you (why i cant subscribe to your feed ? i keep getting an error)Thanks

  • Thembi (author) said:

    The feed seems to be working fine at http://whatwouldthembido.com/feed

  • gooners online said:

    some funny writing guys, please keep this up as I’m in stitches here!

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