by Seattle Washington
Pssst. Hey. Yeah you. Come here, I have something to tell you. Y’know when you get me confused for the other Black guy in the office? It really pisses me off. I know, I know. We all look alike. Trust me, I’ve heard many of Black folk say the same thing about you. But really, c’mon now there’s a handful of Black guys in an office of hundreds of people. Sh*t, I’m the only one in this department. Matter of fact, you probably see more Black people walking past the security desk in the lobby than you do walking in the hallways. So how can you not keep us straight?
My face may remain stoic when you say “Hey Portland? How are things?” but in my mind it goes a little something like this. Mutha fucka, I’m Seattle. Portland is five inches shorter than me and works in a different department. I’m Six Foot Sexy. Do you not see me and my tall ass walking around the hallway? Just off height alone, how can you get us confused? Not to mention we have different personalities, different jobs and rock different gear. We sit on different floors man. Furthermore there’s only a handful of us at this job, you mean you can’t keep us straight? That’s some sad sh*t homie. That’s beyond ignorant; it’s disrespectful.
You may have noticed a change in how I talk to you too. I know, I know before I used to tactfully correct you and giddily watch your face become red with embarrassment. Now, I’ve gotten to a point where I’ll happily correct you and add in a touch of signature Seattle cynicism. So when you say, “Hey Portland.” I just respond, “No, that’s the other Black guy. I’m Seattle.” And I’m off before your jaw can hit the floor. Call it tough love.
Y’know I read that when you’re not exposed to different races, the unique facial features, hair texture, and overall appearance that other races have will all seem the same for you. I understand that you might have grown up in an area where everyone looked like you. I don’t hold that against you. But damn, you work with me everyday. You mean, you still can’t get my homeboy and I straight? Look around, it doesn’t take a genius to realize this is a very homogenous industry, but I seem remember your names. And we have hundreds co-workers. Even if I don’t know your name, I know you’re not the same person as Steve around the corner.
So please, get your sh*t straight. We’re different. Yes, different. Black people do not come off an assembly line. If you can remember the names of all the Black players on your local football team, their stats, and schools they went to, I think you can remember me and a couple other Black guys in the office. Think of it as a starting line up and the sixth man. Or maybe I should just get Washington printed on the back of every shirt I wear. Seems like that’s the only time you can remember a specific Black person. Well, that and if I ended up on the 10 o’clock news.
That Black Guy in the Office,
Seattle Six Foot Sexy Washington