I work for a global human resources and recruiting company. Mid-size and large companies outsource their talent acquisition so that in essence, we are their virtual recruiting department. (Hence all the yoga pants references) The account I'm currently assigned to is a mid-size software company in the process of growing to the next level. It means they are profitable and generally have bought into the recruiting model we've sold them. It also means that they have some small company tendencies still lurking about.
The other day I was on a conference call with an executive from Scotland and a Human Resources rep from New Jersey. We were discussing an opening for the Chicago office. After drilling through the requirements/must haves/like to haves, the HR rep indicated that it would be great for diversity targets if we could hire a minority female into the role.
The exec asked, "Michele, do we know any minorities in HR or recruiting who can assist with this?"
I pressed the mute button so my snort of laughter would not be audible and then I un-muted and answered, "Besides me, you mean?"
The HR rep piped up, "Michele, are you some kind of black?" (Yes, the HR rep asked this)
I rolled my eyes, "I'm all kinds of black."
The Scotsman said, "But Michele isn't a black name, is it?"
A black name?! Deep sigh. "Well it's my name and I'm black so..."
HR rep, "You don't really sound black to me."
Now I'm fed up, "What exactly does black sound like?"
The Scotsman tried to save the day, "My apologies. I do so hope you're not offended."
"Why would I be offended about being black? I've been this way all my life." Yep, at that point I was enjoying their discomfort.
Scotsman, "Perhaps we should move on."
It was obvious that they were stunned to find out I was black. So I got to thinking - maybe I should drop some more colorful colloquialisms into my every day lexicon? A few "whaddup, whaddups" or perhaps I could enter the conference call with a rap "Yes, yes ya'll. I must confess ya'll. My name's Michele, I'm here to tell I'm blackity-black ya'll" - whatcha think?
No? Mayhaps I should play entry music upon my arrival to the call. I was thinking the processional music from Coming to America?
Or maybe the first few 30 seconds of the Circle of Life from The Lion King?
Gotta keep it classy while still blacking it up. :-/
BougieLand, do we even want to get into how many instances of post-racism FAIL they stumbld into here? Need we discuss just WTH a "black name" is? Don't get me started on the "sounding black" of it all? Have you ever been "racially misidentified" on the phone? How did you handle it? Thoughts, comments, insights?