10 Tips on Working with Black Women, The Business Etiquette Edition!
It is February 2013, we have a Black President and BLACK as a culture has become much more prevalent and intriguing!
This is an exciting time for ALL of America because the opportunities to get to know different types of people are so vast! The curiosity of culture is a blessing and means that the fear, which produces hate is dispelling!
Many of these relationships and opportunities are new and there may be some things that people dont know about each other that could easily offend.
Well its ME, Sharelle D. Lowery, your Business Etiquette Expert to the rescue to help you cope with and excel among all people and today I have 10 Tips on working with Sistas…that is a term for Black Women, but if your not black, I dont advise you to use it!….
Okay lets get into a few Black Women Business Etiquette tips!!
1. Please do not be afraid of us. While this might sound silly, many Sistas are privately grimacing because this “fear” of Black women is not uncommon. The media oftentimes portrays us as angry, mean or aggressive. While there are people like this in every culture, this generalization is definitely not accurate in regards to Black women. These preconceived notions may interfere with your ability to connect properly with your boss, colleague or employee. A good way to realize Black women are just like you is to ask them out for coffee, like you would any body else that you work with. This breaks the ice and may create a new ally and friend.
2. Please do not change your behavior around us. While you may not realize it, some people actually change their conversation and tone of voice when talking with Black people, especially Black women. What I mean is, unless we are friends and I have used the term, please do not call me, “Girlfriend,” snap like you are a skit on In Living Color, or ask me about the latest Real Housewives of Atlanta episode, unless you know that I watch it and we have spoken about it before.
3. Please do not feel like we are the Google for Black people, Black events or Black Media. No I did not watch the BET Hip Hop Awards last night. I have NO IDEA about Jigga’s last album! If you want to know, Google it.
4. Remember that if we are colleagues, we probably have similar backgrounds. This means that we probably went to the same type of high school and college.
5. Please do not EVER describe anything that we wear as Ornate or Colorful.
6. Conversation about our hair is totally off limits, unless you are making a compliment such as, “Your hair looks nice.” And please do not describe it in terms of Nappy, Afroish or anything else that might be offensive. We are women too and sensitive about our appearance.
Quick Business Etiquette Tip: Do Not ask anyone if you can touch their hair. The answer might make me give you a reason to feel like Number One.
7. Please do not ask us if we voted for President Obama, and if I share that I DID vote for him, please do not ask me if I voted for him because he is Black.
8. Have the same expectations of me that you have of any other man or woman of any ethnicity that comes into the office or that you have worked with before.
9. We are not going to have a conversation about how or if I celebrate Kwanza. Here is a tip, Black people dont even have this discussion with each other.
10. Just be cool.
If you are curious about Black culture, which I actually admire and completely understand, the office or business professional situation is not usually the most appropriate time to discuss your curiosity.
However, if you do develop a genuine relationship with a Sista that you work with be honest about your curiosity and ask them if you can chat with them. Remember to use the most appropriate of Business Etiquette when you are even having casual conversation with your colleagues.
But imagine how you would respond to the same type of questions that you want to ask. Also please DO use Google and feel FREE to take a Black History course if you have lots of questions about Black Women and our culture.
Enjoy My Business Etiquette Tips?
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Sharelle D. Lowery
Business, Etiquette & Lifestyle Blogger | Author
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