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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CAU chapter.

The workplace has always been a place that Black women have had to conquer. Code-switching comes in handy but sometimes it gets difficult when non-People of Color coworkers try to “be down.” We all have had that one coworker who addresses everyone with a simple “Hello,” or “Good Morning,” but only addresses you and the other Black workers as “Sister,” or “Queen.” Not only are these phrases played out but, girl, we are not kin. Since the beginning of time, it seems like there is always that one person trying to bring Black culture to the workplace, and they know nothing of Black culture. 

Liz Lemon 30 rock eye roll

The use of African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) in the mouth of non-black people really just doesn’t sound right to the ear. AAVE was, and still is, used to create a form of culture within African-Americans. Since AAVE was introduced to social media, many tried to label it as “social media language.” The last place I thought I would hear AAVE in a non-melanated mouth would be at work.

At work, most of us just want to do what we have to do and then go home. I work at Starbucks and when I’m done with the day, I cannot wait to rip off my green apron and black hat along with a goofy smile I hold for a couple of hours. When I’m there I do not want to hear some white girl calling me “Sis” to get my attention. For example, most of the time I am really focused on trying to push these “Tik-Tok” inspired drinks out the drive-thru window.

As I was doing my job, I heard a “period sis” through my headset. I kept working because maybe I was going crazy and had just been listening to too much City Girls. I heard it again and I stopped in the middle of making an iced white chocolate mocha with extra caramel drizzle and turned to my left. Standing wild-eyed and unfortunately eager, was my white woman coworker holding a butter croissant in her right hand and a pair of tongs in her left. All I could do was say back on my headset, “You’re talking to me?” and of course she nodded her’s back.

“Are you okay sis? You’re not giving happy today.” When I tell you my stomach SANK, all I wanted to do was immediately leave the room and call the NAACP. My mind started to race and question the “Sis” that was used and the way she used “its’s giving…” To avoid getting stereotyped as the Angry Black Woman, I said yeah I’m alright, and kept it moving. At the end of my shift, I got in my car and just laughed out loud because I never thought that I would encounter such a thing. A “Karen,” sure, because I live in South Carolina and they seem to be around every corner, but a wannabe “Felicia” is the furthest thing from my mind. 

20th Century Fox Television / Giphy

Chassee'Palmer is a Senior Mass Media arts with a concentration in Journalism attending Clark Atlanta University.She was born and raised in Charleston,South Carolina so she has a strong love for seafood and beaches. She loves skin care products and whenever she gets bored she tends to online shop (ALOT). You can follow her on instagram @chas.see to view her various shopping hauls.