The corporate life is painted out to be a serious environment. Cut throat. Mature. Well definitely not where I worked.
It was like University 2.0. Full of fresh graduates, interns and young adults the office banter was rife. Scandals were a daily occurrence and everyone loved a bit of work gossip. People would go out on nights out and get hammered. I quickly got sucked in. Maybe that was my problem. People started getting too comfortable around me and as the literal token black guy in the office that was a bad thing. I’m up for A LOT of banter. Some say offensive. I say banter. But that means I let alot of things, which on hindsight I know I shouldn’t, slide. Walking up to the lunch hall with some “work mates” we started talking about football and a 5-aside league I was part of every Monday. I got asked by a particular girl “What position do you play?” I replied with, “All over the park, but I’m a pretty decent goalkeeper.” From that back and forth where could it possibly go to justify the title? How is it possible from that conversation that ‘ridiculous comment about race’ #200 could come about? Her response to that was “Ooooo that must be intimidating for the other team, seeing a big black guy in goal.”
As I mentioned, there were a group of us. no one batted an eyelid. Some laughed. No one looked at me in awkwardness. I didn’t respond. No matter how many times you play scenarios of what you’ll do when racism hits you, you hit a brick wall of acceptance. And unfortunately, this was another one of those fucking times. I find jokes in anything to be honest, and all I could think about was, “well if the intimidation thing was true, why do the African teams at World Cups always have such shit goalkeepers?!”
Racism can hit you from any angle
This post was written by Ndubuisi Uchea