Exploring the stories of women who live by a ride-or-die philosophy


By Viviane Rutabinga

Confronting the micro-aggressive type bigotry that exists in mostly white office spaces takes a dedication and loyalty to our identity. This is a brief piece about the struggle involved.

Here I sat, once again.

Although this time, feeling different.  Feeling certain that what surrounded me was a concentrated concoction of disbelief, guilt and awkwardness surrounded by passive aggressiveness presented by unmoving straight white smiles.

Here I am in the board room, sitting in the same seat as I do every Tuesday morning at this time. Waiting as we do, for the meeting chair to start this meeting that tends not to ever run on time. Speaking about politics and social issues as we have at previous occasions at this time, in this space. But this time was different, I was not feeling the typical dread that I feel to engage in these typically oppressive conversations, my mind was not engrossed in the Nina, Sza or Lauryn that takes me to that many times needed safe space. Today, I decided that I will not be walking out feeling my own sense of guilt for allowing the fear of being the one black female in this power filled white space to prevent me from defending my view point or from speaking. Today I spoke. And boy was it long overdue.

So here I sit, Breathing. Beaming. Smiling. All inwardly….of course. Contentedly conscious of the awkwardness I have invoked in the space around me. Through their stares at the empty doorway, I am acutely aware of the growing anticipation for the meeting chair to walk through the room. But me, I feel good. She can take her time today. Because pushing through my fears in order to shit on your bigotry I refuse to feel oppressed in this space, my work space. I decided to fish out the courage within me and let you know that what you’re saying, what you always say, is not okay.

Not when I’m here I said, tomorrow the cards can fall as they may but TODAY, I am ride or die.

Viviane is a Black Feminist, Pan-Africanist, Public Health Professional and Social Justice Advocate. She comes from East – Africa but works and lives in Toronto, Canada. She is a Sagittarius and was therefore born ride or die. | @rootsi

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