Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Okay — Chances Are They’re Not

Danielle Cadet

Let’s cut to the chase. It’s been a tough few days…weeks…months. 

For many people, working in the midst of a global pandemic has been difficult. For those of us fortunate enough to continue doing our jobs safely at home, we’ve had to somehow make ourselves look presentable for nonstop digital meetings, and had to learn how to be productive as the lines between our personal and professional lives continue to blur. We’ve run out of shows to stream, Instagram lives to watch, things to bake. We’re confused and scared, and we don’t know when any of this will be over. 

But there’s a tale of two quarantines. Because while some Americans have been consumed by banana bread, others have had to navigate surviving a pandemic in a country they were never actually meant to live in. 

Over the last few months, Black people have not only watched their friends and family members die at higher rates from the coronavirus, they have also watched people who look like them be gunned down while going for a jog, be murdered in their homes, threatened while bird watching in Central Park, and mercilessly choked on camera. 

And every day, we have woken up and answered the emails and gotten on the Zoom calls. We’ve showed up with a smile, and put the pain and fear behind us. We’ve swallowed the rage while responding to our bosses, and offered the assistance and worked twice as hard for half as much — because that’s all we know how to do. 

But here’s a newsflash for all the white people unaware of this fact: your Black colleagues may seem okay right now, but chances are they’re not.

The likelihood that your Black colleague lost a family member to COVID-19 is painfully high. The chances that your Black colleague was triggered by the viral video of Amy Cooper because a white woman used her race and privilege and weaponized it against him is incredibly likely. The possibility that your Black colleague is afraid to go for a run, or terrified when her husband leaves the house, or just simply enraged by the incessant lies this country keeps telling us about equal liberties is so high you’ll need a ladder to get it down. 

And yet, she’s responded to your passive aggressive email, and he’s smiled through your condescending questioning. Or even just found the strength to peel themselves out of bed and simply show up. Every day, Black people take the personal trauma we all know to be true and tuck it away to protect white people who are ignorant to the fact that it’s nearly impossible to keep going when your grandma won’t survive coronavirus because she has serious pre-existing conditions. It’s hard to be your best self at work when we watch white women feign terror on the phone with authorities that will arrive at the scene and kill the Black man she called the cops on. It’s even harder when you watch those cops kill that Black man on video, and sometimes the killers aren’t even cops. 

But we show up for work anyway. And we contain our rage, tears, fear and sadness. We write to each other in group chats. We send each other articles that articulate our feelings. We post and repost and retweet on social media. But we don’t take our pain to work. 

So while you navigate this pandemic which has ravaged our way of life — and prematurely taken the lives of so many no matter what race — acknowledge that burden is falling on your Black colleagues disproportionately. And know that they’ll never show it. They’ve learned to navigate their worlds too well for that. And although we were told the degrees and the jobs and the accomplishments would somehow protect us from being treated like second-class citizens; although we were made to believe that working hard and contributing to society would mean society would treat us like human beings, we’ve learned the painful truth — that’s a lie. 

On behalf of your Black colleagues: we’re not okay. And you shouldn’t be either. 

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

Amy Cooper's Police Call Is An Act Of Violence

George Floyd Dies After Police Kneeled On His Neck

Police Broke Up George Floyd Protest With Tear Gas

More From

  • You’ll Be Made In The Shade With These Portable Sun Tents

    By now, it’s dawned on all of us: if we want to socialize this summer, we’re going to have to get comfortable spending a lot of time outside. Whether we’re meeting at the local park or enjoying a socially-distant beach day, we’ve got to put on our outdoor hats (literally and figuratively) and prepare to face the elements. We’ve stocked up on bug spray, invested in the top-rated cooler on Amazon, and charged our portable Bluetooth speakers to 100%, but there’s one thing we mustn’t skimp on: sun protection. And we’re not just talking SPF — we mean a real-deal mini-shelter where you can escape the punishing midday UV rays and cool off for a spell. Sun tents and shelters come in every iteration and price point, from a $60 shade that simply pops open, requiring no set-up at all, to a party-of-five size that's outfitted with what can only be described as outdoor bay windows. We rounded up all the best ones we could find on the internet, so whether you’re traveling light on a solo outdoor mission or hauling a family of four (or more) to the seaside, there’s a sun shelter ahead that will meet your needs. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Before You Plan Your Summer Road Trip, Read ThisBring The Comfort Of Home On The Road33 Beach Essentials We're Shopping For Summer 2020

  • 6 Powder Sunscreens To Keep On Hand For Easy SPF Touchups

    If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Your sunscreen is only as good as the amount you apply and how often you're doing so — which is, most likely, not enough. (According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, you should be reapplying every two hours you're outside, and immediately after swimming or excessively sweating.) One easy-peasy way to quickly re-up your SPF? Keeping a convenient powder formula in your bag or desk. As an added benefit, many of these double as setting powders to reduce unwanted shine on your next Zoom call. Ahead, you'll find six formulas we swear by for grease-free sun protection. At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. The product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

  • We Asked Dietitians About The 75 Hard Challenge That’s All Over TikTok

    I’ll be honest, I am a woman of extremes. I’ve run two marathons, and I’ve been known to set my alarm for 3 a.m. to “get some extra work done” when getting up at 7 a.m. would suffice. That’s probably why I was intrigued by the 75 Hard Challenge. It’s big on TikTok — the hashtag 75hard has over 34.4 million views on that platform alone. It’s billed as a way to “build mental toughness.” But in my experience, that’s often code for “make money off an extreme program by dangling desirable, pie-in-the-sky results, such as ‘making huge strides in your career’ and ‘feeling confident.'” The truth is, there are a lot of ways this program can be harmful — one expert I spoke to called it downright “dangerous.” But it is, in fact, “a thing” and there’s certainly a draw people like me who love to push their limits. So I wanted to talk to experts about why this could prove problematic in the hands of the wrong person, and offer some safer alternatives that promote wellness in a less, well, ~extreme~ way. To complete the challenge, Andy Frisella, a motivational speaker, author, and the owner of a supplement company, asks you to follow these five rules for 75 days straight. If you slip on any one of them, even once, you have to start over from day one. These are the cornerstones of the challenge, as laid out by Frisella (we’ll get to what the experts think of all this later): 1\. You must follow a diet. Any diet. Frisella isn’t a dietician or licensed clinical therapist, and he recommends consulting a “trainer or a consultant” about the food program you choose. But, he says, you can’t have a single cheat meal, and you can’t have any alcohol.2\. You must drink a gallon of water a day. 3. You must do two, 45-minute workouts a day, and one of them has to be outside. (On the podcast Real AF, Frisella says there are “obviously scenarios [in which] you shouldn’t go outside,” including hurricanes and flash floods.) 4\. You must read 10 pages of nonfiction a day. “This is not entertainment, this is not Harry Potter time!” Frisella says/yells on his podcast Real AF. You can’t listen to an audiobook, and it has to be a book you can “learn from.” 5\. Finally, you have to take photos of yourself every single day. > @ryleejade.fit> > 75 HARD. Follow along my journey to mental toughness. @afrisella 75hard fitness mentaltoughnesschallenge challenge> > ♬ original sound – ryleejade.fitIf you finish the challenge, there are multiple post-challenge “phases” that include following the same five steps for 30-day periods, but which tack on taking five-minute cold showers daily and performing random acts of kindness. Frisella did not respond to Refinery29’s request for comment. Some folks online have tried the challenge and loved it. Rylee Jade, a 22-year-old fitness trainer in Indiana, is on day 61 of 75 Hard. She says that she began the challenge this spring. She’s adopted a vegan diet (yes, she misses cheese), and has read several books that inspired her, especially Iron Cowboy — Redefine Impossible by James Lawrence. “I was in a rut with quarantine, and I was struggling through my workouts, not giving it my all, as I normally would,” she says of life before 75Hard. “I’ve always struggled with a lack of confidence within myself, and I’ve always worked with a coach or worked with a team, or had somebody telling me what to do for a majority of my life.” She wanted to prove to herself that she was “strong enough to do this myself.” While she loves the program, “it’s not for everybody,” she admits of 75 Hard. “Some people love challenges,” notes Barbie Boules, RDN, founder of Barbie Boules Longevity Wellness. “They can be exciting and fun and give you something to do, especially right now.” She says the people who do Ironman races and marathons for fun (guilty) may be drawn to 75 Hard. Rylee gets this mentality. She’s done a push-up challenge and trained for a half marathon. She also swore off eating Jimmy John’s for 30 days straight months before trying 75 Hard. (“That was a hard one,” she laughs now.)But many other people should avoid challenges like 75 Hard, Boules cautions. “If you have a disordered relationship with food in any way, shape, or form — or whether that’s orthorexia, bulimia, or a disordered relationship with exercise — or tend to lean towards obsessive behavior at all, I would advise against this,” she says. Of course, some young people on TikTok who are trying something like this out for the first time may have these tendencies and not yet know it, simply because of age and experience. That’s why Boules says people may want to take some of the more do-able principles within the challenge and make one of them a goal. As for the other specific rules? Our experts had some thoughts on each pillar of The 75 Hard Challenge. Rule one: Diet “I’m not a fan of any diet,” says Kati Morton, a therapist specializing in eating disorders, an author, and a mental health YouTuber. “For my folks who already struggle with eating disorder behavior, this could be a catalyst to throw us back into it.” Many diets are restrictive, unsustainable, and even unhealthy — for everyone. And really: Our bodies are too precious. While 75 Hard leaves it up to the person to pick an eating plan to follow, Boules says that may lead people to try one that’s dangerous or restrictive: keto (which Boules calls “pure shit”) or Whole 30, say. If you want to do this, Morton recommends choosing intuitive eating as your “diet.” It involves listening to your body, and eating exactly what it craves — and exactly how much of it — at any given moment. Or, you know… Skip rule one. Rule 2: Drink a gallon of water Drinking water has tons of benefits. But — there’s a big ol’ “but.” “Four liters is a ludicrous amount of water,” Boules says. “This is way too generalized and could be a dangerous amount for some people.” Instead, she recommends taking half your body weight and drinking that many ounces of water. Someone who weighs, say, 150 pounds should drink about 75 ounces of water — not the 128 ounces that are in a gallon. You’ll need more if you’re sweating a lot during workouts, adds Vanessa Rissetto, RD, the co-founder of Culina Health. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adding 12 ounces of water to your daily intake for every 30 minutes that you plan to work out.(If you’re always craving water, it can even be a sign of a larger health problem.) > @ryleejade.fit> > YOU GOT THIS. I’m rooting for ya today and always❤️ motivation goalsetting yougotthis peace> > ♬ original sound – ryleejade.fit Rule 3: Exercise twice a day Rylee, who says she was already very active when she started 75 Hard, counts active rest such as yoga as one of her two workouts. Boules is a fan of that strategy, and recommends considering stretching, yoga, and walking forms of exercise (if you’re hellbent on trying 75 Hard). She says that using that approach, exercising twice a day a day may be do-able for many people — but she adds that pushing too hard from the get go can be dangerous. “You might even get injured,” she says. Plus, research shows that rest days are essential for recovery. The American Council on Exercise recommends them. Plus, this is a fairly punishing way to think about exercise, and it might be enough to turn someone off from working out long term. At the end of the day, exercise should be something you do because you enjoy it, because it releases endorphins, and makes you feel good.Worth noting: It’s ridiculous to tell someone to workout in conditions that are dangerous. Don’t prioritize fitness over your life. If there’s a thunderstorm or it’s insanely hot… Keep it indoors. Rule 4: Read 10 pages of nonfiction a dayNone of the experts could find real fault in this tip, and Boules even said that reading 10 pages each day could be a good start on forming a habit. But she notes we can also learn a lot from reading fiction or listening to audiobooks.Rylee’s tip for challengers: Don’t leave your reading until late at night. “I’ve heard of people falling asleep during it and having to restart all over.” > @ryleejade.fit> > 32/75💪Thanks for all the support❤️ 75hard challenge motivation peace> > ♬ Just Hold On – Two Friends Remix – Steve Aoki & Louis Tomlinson Rule 5: Take transformation photos Boules notes that progress photos can be “extremely triggering for some people,” and warns that it puts the emphasis on appearance, rather than health, which can lead folks down the wrong road. Morton goes so far as to say that this rule contradicts Frisella’s whole claim that this challenge is about mental toughness, and “not a trendy fitness challenge,” as he proclaims. “If it were really about that kind of growth, he’d have people journal every day and then see how their mood has improved,” she says. For Rylee’s part, she says she feels “so good” after 61-odd days of the challenge, but adds that she probably won’t continue on with Frisella’s next recommended “phase” after the 75 days are over. “I’m so happy I’m finishing, but for my next step, I think I want more balance in my life,” she says. “I might do a 30 day challenged based more on mindfulness instead.” Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Does The Keto Diet Really Make You Smell?Motivational Quotes To Inspire Your Fitness GoalsWeek One Of Your Exclusive Kayla Itsines Workout

  • Did Zero Waste Daniel Predict The Death Of Fashion As We Know It?

    Like many aspiring fashion designers, Daniel Silverstein found inspiration for what would become his life’s work in the classroom. During his senior year at FIT, Silverstein was asked to design a pair of sustainable jeans. “Everyone said, you know, ‘I’m going to use organic cotton,’ or ‘I’m going to use natural dye,’” he recalls. Silverstein took a harder stance: “If I’m handed a piece of denim, I should use every piece of that denim on that pair of jeans and not waste anything.” The idea for Zero Waste Daniel was born. Before it came to fruition though, he had a brief stint as a design intern at Carolina Herrera and then a temp job as an assistant sweater designer at Victoria’s Secret. But it didn’t take long for Silverstein to realize that traditional fashion wasn’t for him. “As a young professional, I got to actually see what wastes we were creating, and having just recently done that project, it really didn’t sit well with me,” Silverstein says. “I was so uncomfortable with being part of the design process, ordering production that was going to be wasteful.” Six months into his job at Victoria’s Secret, he quit and started a zero-waste brand, 100%, which was a ready-to-wear line of cocktail dresses, suits, and more that utilized 100% of every piece of fabric bought.At the time, sustainability in fashion wasn’t as widely talked about as it is today. “Sustainability was just one of many clubs you could take as a student,” Silverstein says. ‘When I got [100%] in front of a buyer, an editor, anyone, they would say, ‘I love your designs. The zero-waste thing, on the other hand, I can write down, but it’s whatever.’” No matter how impressive his designs were style-wise, the response to any mention of the zero-waste concept was always, “Nobody cares,” he says. Five years into designing 100%, Silverstein shut down his studio and shipped out his last order. But not before making one last T-shirt out of the scraps of what was formerly his brand. “I put up a selfie [on Instagram] of myself wearing this shirt that I made on a day when I was bored, a little depressed, and not really wanting to do all of the packing up and fulfilling that I was supposed to be doing,” he says. “And out of nowhere, my engagement doubled.” A light switch flicked on in his head, and he knew that this was the business he was meant to spearhead: zero-waste genderless basics. “This is something that anyone could wear — an attainable, relatable product that almost everyone has in their wardrobe,” he says. Rather than sharing it with the press, he took this newly refocused business model to retailers that already cared about sustainability, selling at pop-ups and flea markets before eventually obtaining a full-time booth at a market in downtown Manhattan. “And, as they say, the rest is history,” he says. “In accepting failure, I was able to find a more sustainable path towards my own life and sustainability,” Silverstein says. “It’s more than just how eco-friendly a product is. It’s about being able to actually maintain doing something — and I finally created a business that I could actually maintain.” That was four years ago. Since then, Zero Waste Daniel opened up a studio-sized storefront in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, obtained viral success for his work in “trashion,” or fashion made out of repurposed, used, or found items, and began sourcing from a nonprofit called FABSCRAP that is creating the first-ever dataset to keep track of textile waste. At his design-studio-turned-retail-shop, Silverstein and his husband-slash-business-partner Mario DeMarco produce 100% waste-free clothing. According to a feature in The New York Times, the space has three sewing machines and no trash can. Glass jars of fabric scraps fill the 750-square-foot space, scraps that Silverstein can still trace back to his first dumpster dive for fabric in 2016.> View this post on Instagram> > Did you know you can film something in one app on your phone, open it in another and edit it, download a the finished thing to your camera roll, hook it up to a projector, show it to a room of 225 people in the middle of your “fashion show“ save it, chop it up to little segments, post them to your gram – re-open the original in another app change the size of it and upload it again to your new IGTV channel? Did this with @lovelyanna0 and @mariocarteblanche for the Sustainable Fashion is Hilarious @acehotelnewyork this past September – just you wait for next season! Sustainable Fashion is Hilarious 4 coming soon!> > A post shared by zero waste daniel (@zerowastedaniel) on Jan 12, 2020 at 11:34am PSTSilverstein also started a fashion series titled “Sustainable Fashion Is Hilarious,” which, so far, includes shows like the Trash Bomb, The Apocalypse, and The Death of Fashion. “I’m firsthand getting up in front of an audience of ticket holders and telling them a story, trying to make them laugh, showing them clothes, and also communicating with people about my sustainable experience,” he says. “These shows felt relevant at the time based on my personal experience, but, looking back at them, I feel like maybe I was speaking on behalf of other people, too.”When The Death of Fashion comedy-slash-fashion-show took place in February during fall ‘20 fashion week, rumors of the pandemic were only just beginning to spread. The event, hosted at an augmented reality space in Manhattan called Arcadia Earth, was what Silverstein refers to as a “fashion funeral,” to mourn the loss of Barney’s New York, a fashion staple that closed early this year. “I realized, ‘Oh my goodness, I will never sell to Barney’s’ — something that I had always wanted to do and hoped to do my entire career,” Silverstein recalls. “I’m watching it go out of business and I know I’ll never have the opportunity.” Little did he know at the time that a few months later, many others, including Need Supply, Totokaelo, and Sies Marjan, would be gone forever as well. “We just watched an epidemic wipe out a bunch of brands,” he says. “That was the last season to see any of them.” With that realization came an even greater one: “It wasn’t just me who thought that things were broken,” he says of the fashion industry whose issues range from a calendar that goes against seasons to discounting that’s harmful to brand. “I think they really were broken, and we’re seeing that now. Sad as it is, it’s validating in a way.”The pandemic has affected a lot of industries, but fashion has been hit especially hard. Brands are now “handcuffed by inventory,” as Silverstein describes it, while his little studio in Brooklyn is “sustainable and built to last.” But he’s not bragging. Instead, he hopes that from the death of fashion as we know it, a new era of less impactful methods of production will rise from the ashes. To further pave the way for this new, sustainable future, Zero Waste Daniel has partnered up with thredUP, the world’s largest online resale platform, on what the duo is called “ReFashion,” a zero-waste collection made from 100% secondhand garments and fabric scraps. For the partnership, ZWD took all of the otherwise-unsellable donations that thredUP received, and reworked them into a collection of summer-ready pieces. “In essence, every single piece is a one-of-a-kind, while still hanging together as a collection,” he says. The collection features a palm leaf motif that Silverstein chose in order to “ensure that the green message really came across.” The collection also allows ZWD fans, who wouldn’t normally be able to afford a piece from Silverstein’s collection, to purchase something handmade by the designer himself. “This collection helped get me to get out of my usual price point a little bit,” he says. “It is designed to be very affordable.” The overall goal of the campaign, according to Silverstein, is this: “Even if something looks boring and plain or is something that you think you can’t even sell and you should just throw away, there’s still potential in it.” All you really need to do is “zhuzh it up.” Shop the Zero Waste Daniel x thredUP collection today on thredUP.com. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Thrilling Sells Vintage From Your Favorite StoresYour Online Thrifting Questions, Answered1,000+ Reformation Archival Pieces Are On Sale