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  • Writer's pictureStaci Sweet

In and Through Our Black Men

In the last issue, I told you about how my son’s employer continues to monitor his calls and give him low scores based on his ‘tone’. Though he has no customer complaints and he effectively handles each call, their only point of contention is his ‘tone’. Their complaint is that his voice has no distinctive quality. But having worked in a call center for close to a decade, managing multi-million dollar portfolios and overseeing upward of 50+ direct reports; I had never heard of such a thing. So where is this coming from?

I don’t want to believe that his white Supervisor is being racist and neither do I want to assume the other black Supervisor is merely regurgitating what her white or Latino counterparts are spewing. So what is this? The black conspiracist in me sees this from one perspective. Since my son is a wrongfully, convicted felon, ‘they’ are using this as an opportunity to degrade him. Because ‘they’ know employment opportunities are limited to felons, 'they’re' using this to experiment on him while trying to force him to quit because 'they' want to make him question his manhood and think seriously about changing what can’t be changed and that’s his tone. Because it’s not like ‘he’s up in there talkin’ ‘bout – you know what I’m sayin’ on every call; they’re complaining because he’s not as ‘upbeat’ as they’d like for him to be. And how can they expect him to be like Carlton (from the Fresh Prince) when three to four times a week, the very company that demands upbeat-ness, beats on their employees to get it? Then there’s the colorless child of God in me that knows there’s more to this than tone. That it’s not just about police profiling and shootings, but that black men are literally prey and that something devilish is behind this. That if I look too hard at skin color or pay too much attention to the noise behind the complaints or racial disparities, I could be distracted by the REAL ISSUE which is Someone’s coming. What do I mean by that?