What Hulu’s Latest Drama ‘The Other Black Girl’ Exposes About Being Black on the Job

by Xara Aziz
YouTube via Hulu

A transparent OpEd piece profiling Hulu’s The Other Black Girl series is shedding new light on how people of color may really feel in predominately White working environments.

The Other Black Girl is a drama that explores the life of Nella, a young working professional who is attempting to break into the publishing industry. At her place of employment, she finds herself struggling to fit in with many of her White counterparts, especially when the publishing house’s most senior author writes a book with an awkward tone, leaving the protagonist in between a hard and a rock place. Should she speak up about it and risk her career? Or should she play the field in hopes of advancing her career?

“Black people who work in jobs that require them to be part of a workplace culture that’s dominated by white people will understand that sometimes we’re forced to make a choice between the needs of the job and the demands of the community,” writes Touré for The Grio. “It can be hard to be Black on the job because sometimes it means you have to stand up for certain ideas, but what do you do when doing that means risking your job or compromising your ability to get promoted? The answers might be easy in the abstract, but think about it like this: You’ve invested years into growing in your field, and you’ve reached a certain level in your career and there are people relying on you making good money. Then someone at work somehow asks you to do something that could be seen as betraying the race a little, perpetuating the problem a little or just putting your own needs ahead of the needs of the community. But not doing that thing could mean real consequences for you. It’s not a simple quandary.”

The author further argues that when facing racial dynamics at work, it can be difficult for people of color to feel they fit in, and may feel scared to speak up at the risk of losing their jobs. “You have to pick your battles carefully,” the writer penned.

“But sometimes you can’t help but fight back. Once, I was working on a team where I was the only Black person. I was providing a voiceover for a show that would air a string of professional tennis highlights in a montage of the best points of the year. But one of the pieces showed Serena Williams being called for a foot fault at the U.S. Open and then losing her composure. She screamed at the line judge and the umpire and ended up losing the point altogether on code violations. So no point was actually played. No tennis happened. I saw this as inadvertently perpetuating the stereotype of the angry Black woman.”

Overall, The Other Black Girl is a commanding, alarming and attention-grabbing story about being a minority in an office predominately made up of White people. “It took me back to all the white workplaces I’ve had and made me rummage through all kinds of memories that made me uncomfortable, but I could not stop watching,” he concluded.

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