In the last joint I told y’all that I’d be back with my observations on how nosey White people are.
Now, before I get into this shit, lemme preface it with the following:
I’m not making any value judgments on any of the things that I’m writing about in this series. All of this shit is purely stuff that I have noticed in my almost 30 years of working with White people.
You can decide if these things are good or bad, positive or negative on your own. I’m just giving it to you in the purest form. Do what you want with it from there.
Now before you muhfukkas start accusing me of bullshit, let me state clearly and directly that I certainly do have opinions on which of these traits are cool or not. That’s fa sho. However, I’m not writing this series as a way to “bash” White people or to put them down.
Neither am I using this as a platform to say a bunch of shit against White people that I’ve been holding in for years and years. You can ask any muhfukka that has ever worked with me (of any race or nationality) and they will all confirm that I’m not one to hold things in. If something is bothering me, everyone involved will know it.
Further, it’s a mistake (a huge mistake) to assume that my overall view of White people is negative.
I know there are lots of folks who think that nosiness is inherently bad. I’m not one of those people. I think it’s just different than where I come from, but not negative. I actually think a bunch of White folks running around being nosey, at times, can be quite entertaining.
Besides, a lot of my friends are White people. Scouts honor.✌🏾😁
Again, all of this shit is simply my observations over the last 30 years or so of working with White people.
Believe me when I tell you that White people want to know ev-ery-thing.
When I first entered the professional work force, this here was one of the most confusing things that I encountered.
In the world where I was from, it was definitely part of the Street Code of Conduct to mind your own fukkin business and leave everyone else’s alone. Always. Now that I think about it, this is like the foundational law upon which all othes are built.
Stay in your lane, play your position, and mind your own.
~ Street Code of Conduct
Not so with White people. Not even close. These muhfukkas want to know all the things on all the people.
This most certainly is not regulated along racial boundaries either. They don’t gives no fukks about whose business it is. They don’t care if you’re Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Gay, Straight, Tall, Short, etc. White people want to know it all. Even if it’s useless and petty information, they want it. They stay all up in everybody’s business. Relentlessly. If it’s going down anywhere near them, they in it.
There are literally thousands of examples that I can draw upon to illustrate why I think this is a universal trait for my White colleagues. I could seriously write hundreds of pages on this using examples alone. Since this is a blog post, that’s not a very appealing proposition. I need to choose a subset and move on. What to choose though? Lemme see here… what tidbits should I pull from my stash of interactions?
Note: I had a very hard time choosing what to use as examples, because the choices were many. So I ended up pausing the writing of this post for about three weeks while I jotted down the myriad of questions that I’ve either been asked directly or witnessed being asked to others. The list is long. Every entry an example of what I consider to be an intrusive question that was asked in the workplace.
In an attempt to not stack the deck and deliberately paint a skewed picture, I used an RNG to select 11 entries from my list. Here are the results along with my thoughts on why I personally consider them to be nosey questions.
I’ve often wondered why they always want to know all of this shit. I haven’t quite figured out why they’re so nosey, but I’ve got some pretty good hunches. My opining certainly makes sense to me and closes all of the loops in my mind.
But before I get into said opinions, let’s first establish a baseline for work environments. Why does this matter? Well… the type of work environment definitely influences the motivations.
In a coding career, there are typically two types of organizations you can work for. The first kind is a purely white collar org. In this setting, everyone there pretty much works with their minds. All of the work is mental with very little, if any, physical/manual labor.
The other type of organization is one where you have a mixture of white and blue collar workers. In this setup, a portion of the employees work with their minds and the remainder perform physical/manual labor.
You see, different groups of White people want all of this data on people and events for very different reasons, I think.
In white collar environments, my White colleagues have usually been more calculating and therefore, the more information they have, the better their machinations.
You see, White people and hood people work for different reasons and have very different goals and expectations. When ur from the hood, you work to provide for your family and to get caught up on bills and shit.
When I got my first real coding job, the single most dominant thing that I was concerned with was getting that first full paycheck so I could see how much I’d have left over after taxes.
I was hoping so badly that I’d be able to pay a few bills and have enough left over to go buy a bunch of shit that would depreciate the millisecond after I’d paid for it. Shit, I was content just to be getting paid without having to resort to any of the street enterprises.
This is not so with my White counterparts.
You see, White people don’t work primarily to get a paycheck. In the grand scheme of things, the paycheck is relatively small to these muhfukkas. Instead, White people want shit like influence, status, and accolades. In short, these muhfukkas are generally seeking some form of power, control, and recognition.
To this end, they’re keenly aware of the entire political landscape of the workplace. So the more information they have, the better they can decide what to do next. They can evaluate the competition, figure out who’s making what moves and how to block em (or enhance them if it benefits them).
I’ve seen this in every organization that I’ve ever been in. From the most progressive and open-minded to the most sterile and closed-minded. This is not impacted by workplace culture. It’s as ubiquitous as the Internet itself.
Now, there are certainly a set of sociably acceptable questions that exist and I think these types of questions make a lot of sense and I don’t label these as being nosey.
They typically start out with these and then use whatever they learn about you from those interactions (willingness to respond, body language, personality type, etc.) to gauge whether or not they can segue into other, more none-of-their-business shit.
In the beginning, I thought that this type of excessive inquisitiveness was just their way of expressing interest. Not just in me, but in each other as well. Remember, this need to be all up in everyone’s business is in no way limited to their interactions with Black people; this is just how they get down.
Nowadays, I firmly believe that the “just being social” line is bullshit. I’m quite convinced that this “social aspect” is just a mask used to justify the gathering of information.
There are many who would disagree with me here. Lots of people think that when this happens, they genuinely are being social, or showing interest in me, or attempting to make me feel welcome, or some other bullshit like that.
So, why do I still think it’s a mask? Well… number one, none of that shit is necessary to build empathy or express interest in me. That can be accomplished entirely by focusing on the things I choose to willingly reveal. All that extra ain’t nowhere near required. Besides, I never ask them any of this shit. I don’t ask and I don’t care. Since I don’t pry into their affairs, I certainly don’t see a need for them to pry into mine.
Secondly (and most importantly), almost every time someone thought I was interested in a promotion that they also wanted, all of the data gathered from the “interest” they were allegedly showing me to make me “feel welcome” was used against me in an attempt to remove me as competition for said promotion.
This list is deliberately short because it will betray too many confidences if I post all of the shit that I know about. Suffice it to say that I have waaaaaaay more real-life examples that could illustrate this point.
Also keep in mind that this stuff was targeted at me because I was in the way, not because I’m Black (although I’m sure that probably added a bit of extra spice).
The point is, though, that they do this shit to each other too. Neither, race, creed, religion, favorite superhero or sports team matters here. If you’re in their way and they’ve got any data on you (no matter how harmless or petty), they’re gonna try their damnedest to spin it against you (or for you if you moving forward advances their own position).
This group is more focused on “what’s right” at least to the point of what’s right to them. And they’re generally more open and honest about both how they feel about you and what they think about you.
In addition, they’re usually more down to earth. They’re still nosey, but they don’t try to hide (as much anyway) their true intentions. They’ll tell you they don’t like you or that they don’t want you around (or that they think you’re great… whatever the truth happens to be).
But wait, lemme set the stage here.
The most memorable blue-collar place I’ve worked had a team of software engineers that wrote all of the code, a team of factory-like workers that assembled the hardware, and another group that worked in the warehouse. The engineers occupied a separate section of the building than everyone else. We referred to the factory/warehouse as “down on the floor”. This is where all of the blue-collar employees did their thing.
Apparently, to all of the people down on the floor, to work as an engineer was a really big fukkin deal. This was considered an elite job, you see. It had better perks, better working conditions, and much better pay. Of course, like I said before, I was the only Black software engineer there.
The other engineers only went down on the floor once a device had been built and it was time to install, configure, and test the software. They all typically took breaks together, ate together, and hung-out with one another.
But me, being a nigga from the hood, felt more at home with the people down on the floor. So that’s where I often found myself. Why? Because it was way more “real” down there. Obviously this is where the other Black people worked, but it’s also the case that the White people down on the floor were just as real. The entire environment was authentic.
However, these muhfukkas was just as nosey as their white-collar counterparts, but they have very different reasons as to why they were so nosey. There were typically two primary reasons.
I cannot tell you how important it is to these muhfukkas to know something about somebody else and be able to share it with the group. They derive extreme joy from this. The more they know and the “juicer” the gossip, the more joy they extract.
They don’t limit themselves to the juiciest stuff though. It can be from the most petty and insignificant (Joe’s dog had puppies) to the most extreme (Bill caught his wife cheating), they want it all.
Blue-collar White people luv gossip just for gossip’s sake. Their white-collar counterparts like it too, but they also have grand designs for the data they collect. Blue-collar White people luv gossip the way I luv Nintendo.
Another reason that I think blue-collar White people want to know so much about your personal business is that they like to know exactly what they’re dealing with. This is so that they can apply whatever their worldview happens to be to you.
Yet again, I could go on and on with these types of examples but I won’t. Those are a sampling of the kinds of nosey questions that they ask. In general, all of their questions are engineered to allow them to assess you in one of four areas:
The main dude that was over warehouse inventory flat out told me that he didn’t like the idea of people thinking that I was smarter than him. He especially didn’t like it that I thought I was smarter than him (although I never thought that). He wasn’t important enough to me at all for me compare myself to him in one way or another, but I did respect him for telling me his feelings. It was much easier to work with him, knowing where we stood.
Another worker told me that he was sure that there was a more deserving White programmer out there who should have my job. I told him that I’d out program any and every muhfukka that was in the building currently, and any muhfukka who would ever walk through those doors. I still mean that to this very day. I have every confidence that I could go in there right now and easily defeat their champion (although there’s no reason for me to ever do this, I still like knowing that I could).
Several workers told me that they were waiting for me to mess up something so they could lead the charge to get my Black ass out of there. Of course that never happened. In fact, once they saw the positive effect that I was having on those bonus checks, they were some of the main ones trying to persuade me to stay.
This last group of workers are the reason that my coding skills are off the charts now. I was so determined to never give them occasion to slander my work, that it drove me to be the deft coding muhfukka that I am today. I really owe them a lot. Even after we’d become friends and they were happy that I was there, I was still driven to make sure all my shit was on point.
And to think, it’s all due to these nosy muhfukkas asking a series of invasive questions because they ultimately wanted to know if I was in a gang, if I went to school for free, and if I could actually program software.
So there you have it.
There’s not just one single reason that White people are so nosey. The type of work environment has a definite effect on the various motivations. Of course there is some overlap, but from my experience, it all lines up pretty much along the paths that I just wrote.
As far as the machinations of White collar White people go, there are also plenty of times that they use the data that they’ve gathered for good. For example if they know something about you that they know their White counterparts will frown upon, they will certainly help you prepare a few statements and “defenses” that will aid you in squashing any drama before it starts.
This kinda shit seems to happen when they like you or when they have a strong sense of social justice. In either case, you don’t have to be in a position to further their agenda in order for them to use their data to aid you.
These muhfukkas know the way the game is played and they’ll help you play it.
Aight. That’s it for now. I’ll be back at y’all again with the next joint in this series of On Working With White People - Part Three: Appearances.