Avoid. Accommodate. Compromise. Repeat.

 

Delois Blakely at a 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. protest. Image courtesy of the New York Times.

Image courtesy of the New York Times

Editor’s Note: We like to keep profanity, violence, and misogyny to a minimum at Progressive Pupil, but we do not believe in stifling the voices of our writers and community. Be warned, there is some strong language to follow.  In their renowned text The Managerial Grid, Blake and Mouton describe 5 methods of coping with conflict: Collaborating, Competing, Accomodating, Avoiding and Compromising. Given racist stereotypes about Black people being violent, angry and overly emotional – do African Americans choose too frequently to accommodate, avoid, and compromise to fit in?  If so, what are the mental and physical consequences? Black folk have this stereotype of being angry, combative women and hyper violent men.  “It’s not a stereotype, it’s true.” The thought creep ups as another black man is arrested and another brawl breaks out between two black women (and subsequently ends up on worldstarhiphop.com). How can African Americans as a people really “make” it, if we allow our emotions to control us like they do? To really make it in today’s society, African Americans have to accommodate, avoid and compromise their way through life. As I grew up, I was reminded on a constant basis that certain things are always going to happen to Black people and that’s just the way it is. In all areas of my life, I would have to accommodate. I would have to avoid. I would have to compromise. Because, no one likes an angry Black woman. So, I guess I just need to avoid the sexual harassment as I walk down the street in my predominately Black neighborhood. “Come here baby! You a sexy bitch! Let’s fuck!” I guess I just need to accommodate the old white man in Union Square that bumps into me and snarls “Move, you fuckin’ nigger.” I guess I just need to compromise and accept it as I go into work every day and notice that there is only one Black person in a senior management role. I guess my boyfriend needs to stop being so damn angry at the policemen who arrested him after he was the one who was mugged for all he had with a knife pressed up against against his throat.

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