I have always been the token black person. From my ballet classes as a 5-year-old to my college classes, and now I am the only African American at my job. It doesn’t bother me, because I have been raised around everyone, but now and then, there is someone who likes to ask funny, yet slightly racist questions solely because I am black. If you are a black girl, I am sure you have probably been asked these questions. If you aren’t black, do not ask these questions, because I will provide the answers for you. These are actual questions that I have been asked. I did not take any offense to them because sometimes people just really want to know and they are actually hilarious.
1. “Is that your real hair?”
Like any woman, I like changing my hairstyle whenever the wind blows. If I walk into the office and one day my hair is short, and the next day it is long, chances are that it is not my real hair. Do not ask to touch it. I am not a dog, and believe me, it was not cheap. Just give me a compliment and hurry up with the microwave so I can eat my lunch, please.
2. “Do you know how to twerk?”
Seriously, do not ever, ever, ever ask that, but yes I do. I mean, who doesn’t?
3. “How was Kwanzaa?”
I do not celebrate Kwanzaa. In fact, I don’t really know what Kwanzaa is, so to be fair, I can’t answer that.
4. “Why do you speak so well?”
I speak English like you, so I don’t understand your question.
5. “Can you teach me how to dance?”
Yes, I have rhythm, but I am probably just as awkward when I dance as you are.
6. “Do you like fried chicken?”
I am southern. I love fried everything.
7. “Are those your real lips?”
8. “How do I get a big butt like yours?”
Since we do not have the same parents, I guess you can’t. Genetics gave me my butt. Maybe you can buy yours or go to the gym.
9. “Don’t you just love Scandal? That Olivia Pope is amazing.”
YESSSS! YES, I LOVE SCANDAL AND KERRY WASHINGTON WHO PLAYS OLIVIA POPE IS EVERYTHING!!!!!!
10. “Wassup, Girlfriend?”
Please do not “wassup” me if we are in the office. That’s the opposite of professional. Do not assume you can call every black girl your “girlfriend,” because unless we are dating, I am a free agent.
I understand that these questions were asked because people really just had no idea, and there was no malice intended at all, which is why I found them funny. If you’re trying to bridge the racial gap with someone in your office, DON’T ask any questions like this. Just talk about normal things that no one cares about. Like your children, or the new carpet you just put in your house.