While waiting for the C Train at the Fulton Street station, I heard thumping bass coming down the platform.
It was a gentleman wheeling his bike with a portable speaker hanging out of his satchel. The music was loud, Saturday morning music blasting, house smelling like Pine-Sol loud. I’m thinking, I know he’s not about to walk on this train, but I knew better.
NYC MTA has a saying that says, if you see something, say something. Nah, It’s really – if you see something, turn your head and mind your business. Well, a lady looked at the posted rules that clearly stated no loud music then looked at the man and then asked him if he could turn his music down.
He looked at her then looked away dismissively like she asked him could stay late today. He wasn’t having it. He pulled up his cold gear face mask and continued to serenade us with the New York Mega Mix of Remy Ma’s “All the Way Up.”
Eventually, I made it to my destination in Brooklyn, and Radio Raheem continued his path, and I’m sure the lady that confronted him did too. The only one who remembers is me because I want to talk about the importance of minding your business and holding your tongue. Coming from a person who has a propensity for not always doing the latter, but I’m learning.
So, when should you speak up and when shouldn’t you? I’ll focus on the when shouldn’t you.
When there is no imminent threat of safety, physical or mental.
If you are not in danger and there is no threat to your short or long-term physical or psychological well-being. It’s probably not a conversation worth having. You’re not hurt. Nobody around you is hurt, then what’s the point? You might be out of your comfort zone, but we were on a train in New York City. A transit system with one of the highest riderships in the world, who isn’t? You’ll be arguing every day. It’s not worth it.
Time is not of the essence.
If it’s not crunch time and the clock is on your side, let it ride out. This point has nothing to do with a train, but with projects and deadlines. Every idea isn’t worth a disagreement. The bad ones typically take care of themselves.
If the edict is a direct order.
We all fall under some authority, and a part of the role of subordinate typically includes not having the last say. That’s your leader’s job. It is also the leader’s job to ensure everyone feels connected and respected. The effective leader fosters communication and meaningful conflict when necessary. However, there is a particularly crude saying that goes – “Accountability means there is one throat to choke when things don’t work out.” If you play your role, the first throat will not be yours.
If you’ve said it before, you don’t have to repeat it.
They heard you the first time. You become the problem when you start annoying your team, even if you are right. I’ve been that person. If the course of action doesn’t change (it won’t), encourage the team to notate your words in a risk log. I’ve found risk logs to be helpful as a CYB – Cover Your Butt – when it’s throat choking time.
If the receiver isn’t big enough to hold what you’re pouring, and the relationship will suffer.
I’ll preface with, is the relationship worth it?
No? Why are you in it? In this case, it’s not you; it’s them. Don’t waste your time. Find a bigger cup.
Yes? Say what you need to say. Plant the seed and hope something grows. These things take time and are mostly out of
If they’re not committing a crime, and you’re afraid of the color of their skin, period.
No need to call the police. You are not a cop. You are not security. You are not a park ranger. You are not the landlord. You are not entitled to encroach on other’s personal space when you have no ownership of that space. Mind your business. Don’t get beat up. That’s bad for your health.
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