Angry Black Guy Looks: A Guide for New Employees ~ helpful advice by Adrian S. Potter

As a longtime employee of XYZ Corporation, I’d like to welcome you to the company! I am excited to have you on the team. Undoubtedly, you’ll discover that some coworkers refer to me as the “Angry Black Guy” of this firm, likely due to the irritated looks I give people during staff meetings, office get-togethers, and routine communication. But I assure you these looks don’t just represent anger; each one corresponds to a reaction triggered by a specific scenario.

I’d like to start off on the right foot as colleagues, so I’ve assembled a summary of what these looks actually mean. Please review and ask questions as needed to ensure our interactions remain transparent, honest, and cordial. Refer to this list often and I believe you’ll become well versed with all of these – and recognize they shouldn’t be simply categorized as anger.

  • Please Don’t Feel Obligated to Say Hello Look
  • I’m Not Exactly Sure This Is A Good Morning Look
  • You Just Said Something Overtly Racist And Don’t Even Realize It Look
  • Thank You So Much For Stealing My Idea In Front Of Our Boss Look
  • Oh So You Really Want To Talk About The Weather When I Have A Deadline Look
  • You Have Absolutely Nothing To Contribute To This Meeting Look
  • Just Because You Said It Louder Doesn’t Mean You’re Correct Look
  • I Clearly Had Headphones On So I Didn’t Hear Anything You Said Look
  • I Am Politely Holding In Urges To Cuss At You Look
  • If You Had Any Ethics Then You Wouldn’t Need To Ask That Question Look
  • Stop Repeating What I Already Said Look
  • Stop Repeating What You Already Said Look
  • Don’t Compare Your Post-Vacation Tan To My Natural Pigmentation Look
  • I’m Not Convinced That Neon Funky Print Skinny Tie Makes You Cool Look
  • This Probably Won’t Achieve What You Hope It’s Going To Achieve Look
  • Do You Talk Down To Others Because You Can’t Get It Up Look
  • Stop Smiling While Delivering Bad News Look
  • I’m Trying To Cope With You Completely Wasting My Time Look
  • You’re Really Going To Ignore The Coffee You Just Spilled On The Counter Look
  • I’m Waiting For You To Ask For My Opinion Look
  • No, That’s The Name Of The Other Black Dude In Our Department Look
  • I’m Deciding Whether I Care About All This Look
  • If I’m Reading Too Much Into Something, It’s More Reading Than You’ve Ever Done Look
  • The Facts You Just Shared With Me Are Blatant Lies Look
  • I Suspect You Are Overly Sensitive To Any Form Of Feedback Look
  • Your Outrage Is Slightly Humorous To Me Look
  • I’m Not Throwing That Pity Party You Want Look
  • You’re Going To Get Me Called Into HR Look
  • How Can This Presentation Be So Long Yet Say Nothing Look
  • I’m Surviving This Social Situation By Comparing It To That Time I Got Hazed Look
  • I Resent Having To Take You Seriously Look
  • If You Tell Jokes About Other Races Then I’m Pretty Sure You Say The N-word Look
  • Interrupt Me Again And I’ll Body Slam You Against The Copier Look
  • I Would Strongly Suggest You Cease Speaking Look
  • Stop Repeating Commonly Known Motivational Quotes As If You Made Them Up Look
  • Thank You For Continuing To Blather As You Follow Me Into A Public Restroom Look
  • Your Level Of Smugness Would Be Amazing If It Wasn’t Repugnant Look
  • Don’t Feel Obligated to Like Me Look
  • I No Longer Feel Obligated To Like You Look
  • Your Defensiveness Is Sometimes Entertaining Look
  • This Might Be a Good Day to Leave Early Look
  • Don’t Stop By Just To Gossip When I’m Obviously Trying To Get Out Of Here Look

Adrian S. Potter writes poetry and short fiction. He is the author of the fiction chapbook Survival Notes (Červená Barva Press, 2008) and winner of the 2010 Southern Illinois Writers Guild Poetry Contest. Some publication credits include North American Review, Obsidian and Kansas City Voices. He blogs, sometimes, at

Show Adrian some love via PayPal at aplus3(at)gmail(dot)com.