Thursday, July 20, 2006

B.A.D. behavior

They say that, back in the day, if someone accused you of being a witch, you're $@6&ed.
Why? Well, supposedly, they'd bind you, tie you to a big honkin' rock, and then plunk your toadstool-lovin' ass into a lake or something.

Of course, "logic" suggests that a witch would use his/her arcane abilities to float back up to the surface. That's a "guilty" verdict.
If you drown, then the verdict is "innocent." Lucky you.

So yeah, when it comes to witchcraft, you're damned by the simple accusation. That's the thing about some accusations, there's no immediate way of "proving" that they're false.

A great example of that is when someone accuses you of being "argumentative" or "defense." Well, if you think they're wrong, then you'd probably defend yourself, thereby demonstrative "defensiveness."
If you try to present convincing arguments, well, that just proves you're "argumentative!"

Such unwarranted labels leave the accused person's hands tied because any attempt to defend himself proves just how very guilty he is. Defending yourself against such attacks is about as futile as asking someone, "Are you a liar?"

Have you ever had someone accuse YOU of B.A.D.* behavior? How did you respond? How would you recommend one respond to such things?

Personally, I've been accused of this in the workplace on more than one occasion. I basically said, then, what I said above, but it did no good. Any attempt at proving my point is interpreted as a sign of aggression, arrogance or generally B.A.D. behavior.

Since then I've more or less learned to play house-negro a little bit better. Basically, I found a niche - a balance, if you will, that allows me to maintain my dignity, while keeping my mouth shut and letting the momentary injustice occur. Otherwise, it'll last longer and make an even deeper impression, which does not benefit me, at all.

I'm convinced that the only real way to measure any progress is relative to the intent and goals of the progressor. If your intent is to prove you're not argumentative, for instance, then do not argue. Move on with life. It's less stressful and far less detrimental.

Having said that, I'd like to address two or three things:

1) Turning the other cheek.
That may seem like what I'm doing - and to a degree, that's accurate. However, what it's really a question of "show n tell." Sometimes it's better to show people what you mean than to tell them.

When it comes to one's reputation, this is doubly true.

2) Fighting the good fight
While I said that our actions ought to be goal-oriented, I was not suggesting that 100% is the only goal worth fighting for.
Sometimes we know we're going to fail to get what we need, want, or deserve. And sometimes, we fight anyway - as well we should.

It's a mature mind that can chooses the right battles.

3) The "house negro" comment.
Some of you may wonder why I had to brush up against the race issue. Well, if I hadn't seen so many examples of co-workers assuming that the only Black people were weak links in any given chain of productivity, maybe I'd have a different perspective on the issue.
As it stands, I've seen co-workers, time-after-time, either blaming Black folks without proof or taking the words of white folks over those of Blacks.

One might say it's really a question of power and that whites tend to be in managerial positions, so they have a certain amount of authority and credibility. To some degree, you're right. But if you see enough examples of it, in which the words, ideas, and reasons are ignored... and the outcome is consistently one that does not favor the Black man or woman, the most likely conclusion is simple:

Race matters.

What do YOU think?

* - (being argumentative & defensive)


chele said...

I have been accused of BAD behavior more times than I can count. Always on the job and always by white folks. They usually say that I have a strong personality.

I've learned that it is very difficult to argue against the corporate structure without severe repercussions. It is impossible for me to keep my mouth shut so I usually state my point and then leave it alone. They know how I feel and I won't beat a dead horse because I know they will never come around to my way of thinking. The squeaky wheel does not always get the grease, sometimes it just gets replaced.

West said...

re: "The squeaky wheel does not always get the grease, sometimes it just gets replaced."

If that wasn't in your last book(s), it definitely oughta be in your next one(s). Too true.

Sometimes, just being Black seems to be enough to get tagged as a trouble-maker, and I don't just mean in the skin color sense. Just the fact that some of us naturally have so much more bass in our voices, comes across as undue aggression,... to some folks.

As cliche and pc as it may sound, this is one of the reasons why I favor diversity training. I've never participated in it, but if it's done "right," I think it'd serve to squash stuff like that... at least in relation to folks who are racially unaware or insensitive, as opposed to racist.

Oh yeah. There's a comment for you in the chat window, chele.