Why black people won’t go anywhere in their careers without code-switching

The Ordinary Man
4 min readJul 13, 2023

Code-switching is when an outcast of a group changes the way they act in order to fit into that group. This can be an unconscious decision as well as a conscious one. When you read this the first thing that might come to your mind may be kids when they’re trying to be cool, or people at work when they’re trying to be cool.

Black people often do this in the workplace because… well, we don’t have a choice. If we were to be ourselves then we’d be in a minimum wage warehouse job. In order to survive a white workplace we have to act a little white.

Don’t talk black

You can use slang sometimes but it better not be that shit that comes out of the hood. If people hear you say that shit then they’re going to assume you’re from the hood, even if you live in a nice neighbourhood and went to a fancy school.

They’re also not going to take you seriously. Using typical black slang will make people think you’re unprofessional, even when the in the office white people are swearing and using slang as well.

If you want to be respected in a white workplace then you’re going to have to speak as they do. They see it as the proper way to speak, and anyone who communicates differently is seen as dumb in their eyes no matter what they’re saying.

Dress accordingly

A lot of workplaces still have dress codes like it’s the 90s, but many places nowadays are pretty casual. That doesn’t mean you can dress however you want if you’re black. If you’re seen to dress in a stereotypical way, then you’re going to be singled out and looked down on.

You’re different from the group and quite frankly, that’s not ok. You dress too nicely, or you’re wearing too much colour, or you look intimidating to some of the staff at the company. After all, a black person in a hoody is practically a drug dealer.



The Ordinary Man

Personal blog about an ordinary guy and his battle through life. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will read a bunch of shit that makes you uncomfortable.