The Only Black Guy in the Office

My Ex-Bosses Are Scrambling to Not Get Canceled

Amid a widespread workplace reckoning, their apologies seem disingenuous and borne of White guilt

The Only Black Guy In the Office
LEVEL
Published in
5 min readJun 22, 2020

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Illustration: Richard A. Chance

Update 6/7/22: Level has a new home. You can read this article and other new articles by visiting LEVELMAN.com.

Whom among us is above the occasional subtweet? It’s so accessible — passive aggression right at the tips of your Twitter fingers, seemingly innocuous to everyone but its intended target. The perfect outlet for pettiness. We’ve all been there. But after I fired some stray shots at a former employer, I was shocked by the volume of replies that came rolling in.

You see, in the year of our Lord 2020, companies are doing a complete about-face on their previous racial politics, particularly as it relates to Black employees and their alignment with ending systemic racism. Overall, sure, you love to see it. But in some cases — like my past gigs, where the powers that be clearly didn’t give a shit about the few Black lives in the workforce — the 180 was just laughable. Like, really? This you? And so, without pointing elbows, I let the Twitterverse know. Bullets ain’t got no names, word to Nipsey. But suddenly, colleagues of the past (who I apparently forgot to block) were reaching out to clear their consciences, dumping their White guilt at my feet like a bag of dirty laundry.

One thing I’ve recently realized about “progressive” White folks: If there’s anything they hate more than racism, it’s appearing racist. And being the conduit for that absolution of their guilt is draining as fuck. Unlike the awkwardness of dealing with my current co-workers’ weird feelings, now I’m forced to reopen old wounds just to help them feel better about being an asshole years ago. It’s like confronting the Ghost of Christmas Past — except Ebenezer Scrooge is doing the haunting. And he’s rocking a Karen haircut. And instead of calling the manager, he is the manager.

I ducked the first message, a “hope you’re well, man” Instagram DM from Andrew. He was actually fairly cool to work with, save for some annoying micromanagement tendencies. I just double-tapped to “like” that one. My old nemesis Shereene came out of the…

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The Only Black Guy In the Office
LEVEL
Writer for

Do you know him? Is it you? The trials and tribulations of a Black man navigating corporate life.