Sometimes I take for granted how much God* has blessed me.
Every day, I get to work with a group of people who know all the lyrics to Lil’ Kim’s verse in “Quiet Storm” and don’t have to count in their heads when they do the Electric Slide (those are actually the first and second questions on The Root’s employment application). I don’t even have to worry about ingesting Stove Top stuffing if I “mistakenly” nibble on a coworker’s plate the day after Thanksgiving (I still deny all charges, Stephen Crockett).
I am aware, however, of the less fortunate. At this very moment, in companies, cubicles, and complexes across America, there are black people working alongside Chads and Ambers who wonder why House Democrats formally impeached the White Nationalist in Chief just because he participated in an inconsequential international conspiracy that includes bribing a foreign leader, trying to illegally influence a presidential election and using the Constitution as his personal toilet paper.
While it can be awkward dealing with Caucasian coworkers suffering from impeachment-related depression, have no fear: The Root has created this handy guide to help our melanated brethren make it through this difficult season of White Impeachment Derangement Syndrome.
*By God, I mean Editor in Chief of The Root Danielle Belton, who art in charge, hallowed be her name.
Experience is the best teacher
This is probably your first time dealing with this kind of hostile white workplace environment but it is important to remember that there are varying degrees of Caucasian outrage. Although there are intersecting groups on the Venn diagram of whiteness, please don’t confuse Trump anger with the following harrowing historical events, such as the New England Patriots losing the Super Bowl or that time Kanye grabbed the mic from Taylor Swift.
White people have only been this mad a few times in American history:
- Feb.1, 1865: The day after the passage of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery was one of the worst days in white history. Millions of Americans suffered the indignity of paying for labor, cleaning up after themselves and realizing that “all men are created equal” was actually a thing.
- April 15, 1947: The day after Jackie Robinson’s first baseball game, white people suddenly were interested in golf (Fun fact: 50 years and one day later, Tiger Woods would win his first Masters Tournament.)
- July 3, 1964: When the Civil Rights Act went into effect.
- Oct. 4, 1995: Historians point to the day following O.J. Simpson’s acquittal as the beginning of the White Lives Matter movement.
- Jan. 21, 2009: The morning after Barack Obama was sworn in as America’s first black president was the day white people started planning how they could make America great again.
Figure out who’s suffering
Even though most white people voted for Trump, most black people have only met a few out-of-the-closet Trump supporters. Just because Caroline in accounting claims to be “with the resistance,” statistics say she probably cast a ballot for the white guy. These people even fooled professional pollsters on the eve of the 2016 election. Because of this, the only way to get to the truth is to use the method employed by police officers, intelligence agencies and white women who dial 911 when they spot a black person lingering in Starbucks:
I know it seems wrongheaded, but numbers don’t lie. This widely-used, tried-and-true strategy is used by the Trump administration officials to create travel bans, immigration rules and foreign policy (only for “shithole countries”). I’m not saying you should assume all white people are low-key racists who are upset because the president has been impeached. But I’m also not saying you shouldn’t. Treat them as if they were a black boy wearing a hoodie—watch them from a distance. You never know what they’re up to.
It’s the American way.
Let them vent
If it turns out that your co-worker is a Trump supporter, fret not. They’re probably kinda stupid. Even if they are less-educated, less experienced and less productive, they still probably make more money than you and have a higher position at your company.
So when White James (there’s always two James at every job, a white one and a black one) talks about “read the transcript,” don’t remind him that there is no transcript. He wouldn’t have read it anyway. MAGAts don’t read transcripts. Or anything.
The truth is, there is nothing you can say to convince a Trump supporter to listen to the facts. If they still support this administration after all the available evidence of corruption, lies, racism and outright stupidity, your little speech beside the copy machine isn’t going to seep through White James’ thick skull. Just nod and listen. If you really want to look like you care, every few minutes, with all the scorn and ridicule your voice can muster, just say:
If you’re like me, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching an angry white person. It really pleases my soul.
But you should resist the temptation to rejoice in their post-impeachment pain. White people have very long memories, even if their memories are somewhat selective (which is why they love Ronald Reagan and the Confederate flag). You don’t want to get passed over for a promotion because you passed around bowls of peach mint ice cream to celebrate. Just relax.
Plus, when that weird guy who wears the same pair of wrinkled khakis to work every day finally explodes and goes on a shooting spree with a bow and arrow, you don’t want him to remember how you started singing “I-M-P-E-A-C-H-M-E-N-T, do you know what that means girl?” to the tune of Lil’ Webbie’s Independent.
Offer your condolences
A lot of white people have never experienced true injustice or inequality.
The American political, judicial and economic system has always worked for them. Therefore, your coworker might be dealing with a state of impeachment shock because they truly believe Trump has been wronged. They can’t fathom the idea that a powerful white man would get in trouble for rigging the system in his favor. Who’s next? Ivanka? Harvey Weinstein? Bill Belichick?
This is why they need your reassurance that everything will be ok. Explain that Trump probably won’t be removed from office. Talk to them about injustice. Tell them about that time Lamonte McIntyre spent 23 years in prison because a dirty cop arrested him, a dirty prosecutor prosecuted him and a dirty judge sentenced him to life behind bars.
See? It’s kind of the same thing.
If all else fails, remind them that tomorrow morning they’ll still be white.
Don’t ever forget that angry white people are dangerous and always get their revenge.
Don’t forget that the 13th Amendment led to mass lynching and violence. Remember how they yelled the n-word at Jackie Robinson and sent him death threats his entire career. After the Civil Rights Act passed, an angry white man shot Martin Luther King, Jr. in the face. O.J. went to prison for stealing his own shit.
On Nov. 8, 2016, future MAGAts everywhere traipsed into voting booths across America still angry about eight years of a president who had never had a single significant scandal. Then, 57 percent of white people remembered that Barack Obama was black and said:
“Hold my MAGA hat.”