Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Chronic tardiness...a Cocoa disability?

After hearing about my fellow Cocoa folks' struggles with making it into work on time, I began to wonder if there is some scientific, social and/or medical explanation as to why negroes run so darn late. My pontifications brought me to a funny story involving my favorite Auntie, Cynthia.

Mom Cocoa (Mrs. Goody-Two-Shoes): '"Cynthia, you cannot park here...this space is a handicapper."

Aunt Cocoa: Backs the car up, ignoring Cocoa's mom

Mom Cocoa
(from the front passenger seat): "Cynthia, did you hear me? I said that you cannot park here. You're going to get a ticket or - even worse - you will be towed. It doesn't matter if this is your job's parking lot, you will get fined..."

Aunt Cocoa (totally annoyed): "Look dammit, I black ain't I?"

Mom Cocoa: Blank stare

Aunt Cocoa (invisible hand-on-hip motion): "I said: we black, ain't we? Shyt, the way them motherf*ckers act sometimes, they must think being black is a handicap. So, I should be able to park here if I damn well want to WHEN I damn well please cuz we are f*cking handicapped."

I nearly fell out the car laughing.

While I recognize that my auntie was being hella facetious, two years later, I still tend to contemplate ways that black folks on the job should/could/perhaps one day would qualify for our very own sub-section under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Of course, negroes' chronic tardiness always tops the list. I mean, what other race/group of folks runs late like we do?

Mistah Webster defines the term disability as "a disadvantage or deficiency, especially a physical or mental impairment that interferes with or prevents normal achievement; something that hinders or incapacitates."

'Hinders or incapacitates,' huh? Based on this stuff, Cocoa felt challenged to determine additional reasons why black folk should qualify for a little special treatment on the job. Thoughts so far have included a cognitive inability to grasp an understanding of Eurobonics beyond a remedial level and anxiety attacks triggered by "Woo-hoo!," which rings dangerously close to Klan battle cries and can render Cocoas scared to participate in any team-related function or event on the job.

Did I miss any?



Supa said...


Cocoa - You are a nut. I heart u. But seriously, tho. Diggin' the ADA clause...my tardiness is a disability! :)

On the real: I read somewhere (think it was waay back in college) about the pysychological explanations about why black folks "tend" to not show up on time - has something to do with PSTD (Post-traumatic stress syndrome) from slavery times...might sound a little outlandish, but when I read it, it made perfect sense to me!

Lemme do a lil' digging.....

lol @ Aunt Cocoa!!!

BossMack said...

LMAO @ Aunt Cocoa

I'll be fucking with this blog baby, your style is flavorful, you are relucent baby.

Cocoa Girl said...

Supa - Post Traumatic stress, huh?

If I ever get pulled into H.R., I'll be sure to bring this up.

Bossmack - Gracias and welcome!

Last thing, my aunt is hilarious. Expect to hear more about her. She and my mom are like night and day...

Supa said...

Cocoa: This is a little long, but interesting. (forgot how to put a link in the comments section!)

"In the United States, for example, many economically impoverished minority groups make a point of distinguishing their own shared temporal norms from those of the prevailing Anglo-American majority. American Indians like to speak of "living on Indian time." Mexican-Americans differentiate between hora inglesa--which refers to the actual time on the clock--and hora mexicana--which treats the time on the clock considerably more casually.

African-Americans often distinguish their own culture's sense of time--what they sometimes refer to by the no longer fashionable term "colored people's time" (CPT)--from the majority standard of "white people's time." Jules Henry, an anthropologist, spent more than a year during the 1960's conducting interviews with mostly poor African-American families living in a St. Louis housing development. One of the strongest distinctions his interviewees made between their own lives and those of the surrounding Anglo community concerned their self-described CPT. "According to C.P. time," Henry explains, "a scheduled event may occur at any moment over a wide spread of hours--or perhaps not at all." Henry's interviewees were quick to point out how sharply this contrasted with the highly organized, precisely scheduled world of white people."

Cocoa Girl said...

Thanks Supa!

*jaw on floor*

P said...

You are a H.A.M, Cocoa.

Anonymous said...

The study Supa quotes sounds like something I learned during my HBCU education about the psychological explanation of CP time. I don't remember all the facts or if it was from the same Jules Henry findings but it was that African-American's subscribe to "in time" versus "on time." That seems to concur with the study: "a scheduled event may occur at any moment over a wide spread of hours--or perhaps not at all."

The instructor tied this to we students and our class arrivals during the time span of the class. If the class starts at 9:40am but doesn't end until 11am, does one really need to be there at 9:40am exactly? The educating will still be going on at say 9:55am, right.

I think some of us at work see it as do I really need to be there at 9am if the work day spreads over eight hours (or more or a lot more). And who says any work will get done anyway.

Supa said...

*dap* on Anonymous' post..

Another deeper, phsychological explanation was offered, can't remember if it was Francis Cress Wesling or another black scholar..(couldn't find it on the net)

..which stating something to the effect of: during the atrocious years slavery, we Africans were threatened & "disciplined" with such unthinkable levels of violence for even the smallest (perceived) infraction - one of which was failing to show up to our "tasks" on time (cotton picking, fucking masta, being a wet nurse to some white kid, etc.), and once emancipated (HA!), black folks tended to disregard the ON TIME way of thinking (which was what white folks wanted)and viewed it as an empowering aspect of freedom: Not being a slave to the whip or white folks or whatever "they" deem important.

Like, "yo muthafucka, my ancestors contributed 400 years of unpaid labor for building this piece, you can wait an extra 30 minutes for me to bring my beautiful black ass to work.."

(that last part was me talkin'..)

mrs.tj said...

tj thinking...
i think i don't like to be late because of the sterotypes...
then i be late on purpose becuase I CAN! SAY SOMETHING! I DARE YOU! YEAH! THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT! HA!
I be like that at work all of the time. I dare them to say something to me. Just becuase I am on the corp slave ship, don't mean I'm a dayum slave!

i like liquor and tv said...

lol@the Aunt.

I have no idea why but I am always extra early for stuff. I mean it's better to be late than to be an hour early for no reason at all...wasting time. It's like I can't help it. It may be because my mom had us ALWAYS late for school, always the last ones at school to be picked up, always late for church, etc. I grew up being extra late for everything, I guess I'm rebelling now.

It's been times where I'd show up at the airport so early that I'd be able to catch an earlier flight that hadn't left yet.

*walks out the door to catch a movie that starts in 3 hours*

Cocoa Girl said...

I like that all of the research attempts to explain why black folk constantly run late, but I don't really need that much thought...

I do it because I haven't (yet) caught any heat. The day someone tells me that I am being watched (ahem, "monitored") is the day that I will never be late again.

I wish it didn't have to be this way...sigh...:(

BTW, LQ&TV - Thanks for making me feel like a loser. I was that same child as you and am apparently setting myself up to be the same way with my future kids.

Ok, I am now off to the gym...three minutes after I was supposed to leave...

Supa said...

funny I'm generally on time for everything except work!

Unruly Brown said...

It's just a work thang.

Miss Ahmad said...

it's been told to me time and time again that my chances of arriving to work on time would increase greatly if i wore a watch....something i refuse to do.

i can be on time for shit i want to be on time for.

An example~working on a football show in pittsburgh, i had to be up dressed, ready and at work at 4am. because of my love for football...i was always there on time, and no one could beat me!


because that's where i wanted to be....

Sangindiva said...

Girl the sticker for the "late" hadicappers should be green.
I'd always have it on... with shoes to match!!

African girl, American world said...

you got a shout out!

Mrs A. said...


Joel Randell said...

what up cocoa. this post reminds me of an interview i had with lloyd banks and young buck a couple years back. they were over 90 mins. late, and i was just about to leave interscope offices when they came strolling in, smelling straight haze. it went a little something like this:

joel: why are y'all so late, did you get pulled over by police or something?

lloyd banks: i'm late because i'm a nigga.

deplorable. but a cool interview indeed. you can read it in its entirety at http://www.theavemagazine.com/dept/feat/feature/Nov/Gunit1.htm.

keep these posts coming!

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