Why Does my Silence Offend You?

Of the many things that can be threatening who would’ve thought that being quiet would be one. Why is it that black women are not allowed to be introverted at work?

Apparently, being quiet can only mean one of four things: something is wrong, you’re miserable, unhappy, or get this- it’s intimidating. The problem is that we try to read how someone feels based on their facial expressions and unless they’re trained actor’s it’s impossible. As human beings, we make it our best to try and conceal how we feel. Think about it we hold in laughter when we want to laugh. We hold back tears when we want to cry. We keep straight faces when we want to smile & vice versa.

Our face is the best-concealed weapon we have when you think about it. So why in a place of work would you think that looking at someone’s face alone would be a good indicator of understanding how they are thinking or feeling? How can you hear threats and intimidation in silence?

Tika Sumpter What GIF by ABC Network - Find & Share on GIPHY

Stop projecting how you think someone should feel based on how they look. You’re profiling, when that’s not what you’re trained or paid to do. I’m not the only quiet person at work. I am the only black female that’s quiet at work. I’m fully aware of the difference between how my quietness is interpreted versus how the others are.

First and foremost, I get all the attention for my silence. People like to say that I look miserable and ask what’s wrong 10x a day. In the beginning, I found myself going along with it. I thought since they said it frequently, it had to be true. I started thinking about it and realized that not A DAMN THING was wrong with me. I was simply doing what I was paid to do- work. The way I work efficiently is by focusing on my tasks. I thought non-disruptive behavior and completed tasks mattered in the workplace. Instead, my silence put a target on my back by my employer.

You’re not paying me a penny for my thoughts. If you want to know my thoughts on something, then form some words into a question and ask me directly. Don’t expect me to talk just for the sake of making you feel comfortable. Stop looking at me during the meetings for a sign to continue. Stop expecting me to be “loud” and entertaining to fit into that stereotype running in your head. I’m not paid entertainment. I’m a paid employee.

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Does my work offend you? Because then we have something worth discussing. Until then, how about we worry more about things that matter; Like decreasing the turnover rate and increasing the professional growth of your employees. Whether they talk a lot or a little, you know exactly what their capabilities are. Their work is the only indicator you need to focus on.

Simply Janeen ♥️

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