Ask Sheree: How to React to Racially Insensitive Issues at Work

Here's how to best manage your emotions and respond while at work, when put on the spot to address sensitive subjects related to your personal cultural, political, and spiritual beliefs

tech racism
(Image: iStock.com/digitalskillet)

Dear Sheree,

I am a 31-year-old woman of color, who has been in an administration position for three years at a manufacturing corporation. Recently, during a meeting, in which,  I was the only person of color in the room, I was asked my reaction to the Trump presidency.  Before I knew it, my emotions took over, and I started to cry.  I was immediately comforted by a co-worker, who sat with me privately, and talked to me about my feelings. I care deeply about my work and wonder if I should I apologize or try to explain my feelings to my co-workers?  We operate in a close setting, and I am sure everyone knows what happened.

Anxious Angelique


Dear Angelique,

Your reaction to the ongoing turmoil of our presidential election is one that is being felt by millions of people. A Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that 69% of Americans said the idea of “President Trump” made them anxious.

We are all human, and allowing your feelings to come up at work is normal. If no one brings up the incident to you, I would not discuss it again. In addition, please do not allow yourself to replay the memory of this episode over and over again in your mind.  Things happen in life to help us grow and evolve. Your experience with crying at work has happened to countless other men and women, but few people openly discuss it, because it is too painful and embarrassing.

I am immediately skeptical, when the only person of color in the room is singled out to address the Trump presidency or any other sensitive racial issue. Whenever you feel uncomfortable or unsure of your emotional reaction in relation to to politics or other sensitive subjects, here are three options responses to consider:

  1. Smile and state firmly that you are going to refrain from answering that question at this time.
  2. Change your body language to indicate that you are not open to discussing the subject that has been bought up before someone calls on you.
  3. Set a firm boundary, and express to your co-workers that you do not want to discuss President Trump or other racial issues.

This experience is an excellent opportunity for you to become more intuitively aware of the warning signs of your emotions and feelings in your body. Think of your body as your personal laboratory, and start to pay attention to the signals it is sending to you all the time.

Here’s a short excerpt from my book, Intuition:  The Hidden Asset That Everyone Should Learn to Use, that describes why paying attention to our intuition is so important:

“Since our inner wisdom flows through our emotions, we need to pay attention to our feelings, to help us guide and direct our lives. When we become aware of our emotional patterns, it is easy to start recognizing the ones we want to avoid—resentment, anger, jealously, guilt, and fear.”

Sometimes we ignore what we feel inside. Those who are more intuitive recognize that all feelings carry a message of warning or goodwill; some of our feelings carry high value and give us critical information that we need to know.

In the next four years, we will all need to learn how important it is to have complete direction of our intuition in our individual minds. This is a time in which we need to be highly aware of what is going on around us. Although we cannot control what happens to us in life, we can control our reaction to it. The mind is a powerful, creative force, and it needs to be utilized more effectively to adapt to the many changes and challenges we are going to face, during an administration that is not racially tolerate.

The first year of the Trump presidency is going to bring major changes and upheavals that we will all have to adapt to. A big test that many of us will face during this turbulent period will be not allowing ourselves to be defined by what is going on in our government. During this time, every consciously aware person will need to make a commitment to support and participate in organizations that will protect the rights of those that will be lost under this new administration.

Finally, being a high-performance professional requires knowing how to navigate adversity, when you encounter it professionally as well as personally.

 

 


Sheree Franklin-Hill (Image: Sheree Franklin-Hill)

Intuitive Life Strategist Sheree Franklin helps people to find the courage to release their life challenges in order to live in alignment with their true self.

She is the author of Intuition: The Hidden Asset Everyone Should Learn to Use. To learn more about Franklin’s book click here.