Actually, I don’t really hate the word “perspective.” I just have a problem with hearing it every day. I have a problem with the word being applied to every situation… Ok, I hate the word. There have been other words thrown at me over the years. However, when another human talks about other people’s perspectives, I want to rip my ears off my head. Why?
When I hear “Well, that’s the [adult’s] perspective. They interpreted [blah blah blah],” that means I’m at fault.
Now I know it isn’t my fault because it’s really about how the other person “perceived” my actions. It’s about whether the tone of my Black Woman voice triggered an unpleasant event. Maybe they had a flashback to a random Black Woman or Black young girl who messed up their day. In fact, I think this happens a lot especially with my coworkers (White female). I don’t find out right away. They would never approach me directly because it’s better to do things in secret.So, what about the women? Well, they are the ones who go to the principal to say they felt disrespected or uncomfortable. That usually happens after they’ve spent the day talking and joking with me. See why the word “perspective” is a royal pain in the ass. I’ve been in my school district (currently one of 4 Black teachers at the elementary school level; one of two at my school) for 24 years (25 years in June). I have worked with many White female teachers over the years. Honestly, the hair color, body type, and facial features change. However, the behavior stays the same. Perspective
So now I’m finishing my 24th year. I’m working with a principal who I’ve known for almost 14 years. She knows me well. She also knows it’s easier to talk to me to “change” rather than navigate the potential hurt feelings of the other teachers. Wait, what about my hurt feelings? Black Women have hurt feelings too! So why are my feelings pushed aside?… Aww Hell! What feelings? I’m going to still do the job at 300%.
Yes, the mid-July Cancer, “Civil Rights Baby” Black Woman, will still work 300% because that’s how I was raised. I will alter my behavior because my boss subtly implied in a “roundabout way” that I could make the situation better. That’s right, it’s easier for me to comply to help make the situation better. All because my co-worker’s perspective was that she was disrespected during the meeting. (It wasn’t my intention. I don’t even recall what the hell I did. But, perspective…) So, after hearing about my co-worker’s feelings after school today (three hours after the meeting happened) from my principal, I now need to “make it better.”
I will forget that she went to my boss. I will focus on her hurt feelings. That means I will accept that my actions, based on her perspective, made her feel disrespected. So, I will offer an apology for her feeling disrespected. That’s all I have. Will this situation happen again? (My principal asked that question because she really likes us working together.)
This situation won’t happen again because I’ll keep my mouth shut, sit still, become a statue so that my coworker won’t feel disrespected during a meeting again. This way I can cover every possible perspective-making action that occurs.
Yes…I hate that word perspective.