*Side note – This piece is a nod to Ginny Hogan’s piece, Examples of Toxic Femininity in the Workplace, as published on The New Yorker.*
Antwon Michael Williams debates putting his name on his resume. Should he put A. Michael Williams or Antwon? He is sweating. His mouth is dry. He puts Antwon and hits send. Two days later he gets a phone call. They would like to offer him the job. He is so surprised he accidentally hangs up.
The company is ready to take its annual diversity in the workplace photo but there are so many options that Cece never gets asked. Cece is so annoyed that she takes 7 selfies in a row and then writes a letter to Management about being too diverse.
After firing an employee, no one calls Sharelle an angry black woman. She practices her resting b**** face for the rest of the week and screams at everyone. She develops Strep Throat and has to take the next week off.
Jamal is tall and athletic. Jamal becomes a world-renown chef. No one tells him that he should have played professional basketball.
Kevin and Kamal both work for an Insurance Firm. When Kamal meets Kevin he doesn’t say “I’m the funny one.” Instead, he hands Kevin a stack of papers and points to his cubicle. Kevin doesn’t even think about cracking a joke. And no one asks him to. The next day, Kevin quits his job and becomes a comedian.
Laquisha works Customer Service. No one tells her to sound more professional. She makes the company millions and retires early.
Ashley wears her hair natural to work. No one touches it. She is so distraught she goes into the bathroom and plays with it for an hour.
Keshon canvasses for his local Democratic party. Nobody says “well, you know, I voted for Obama twice” or that they have black friends. Keshon is so confused that he doesn’t know who to trust anymore and becomes a Republican.