Being the only Black person in the workplace: this vintage comic series shows that ‘Integration Is A Bitch’
August 7, 2018
As a black person in a predominantly white environment, it is difficult to fully articulate the experience of that position to anyone who isn’t Black. However, that tiring, specific and often degrading experience had been translated long ago into cartoons by Black humorist Tom Floyd. The author was born in Gary, Indiana in 1929 and managed to operate his own advertising firm before joining the Inland Steel Company as a designer, where his insights on racial dynamics were formed.
“As a ‘BLACK’ white collar worker having willingly and conscientiously taken active part in America’s leading social pre-occupation… An experiment called ‘Integration’ …I feel compelled to assess my total experience and perhaps the experiences of other Blacks by saying…. ‘INTEGRATION IS A BITCH’…” – Tom Floyd
Floyd used his experience as the only black man working in a white environment in the 60s, honing in on the seemingly absurd but sadly real occurrences of being an outlier. The cartoonist was considered the ‘who’s who’ in the Midwest, creating cartoons that expressed his desire for meaningful racial understanding and cooperation. ‘Integration is a Bitch’ was released in 1969, a time where works like it rarely saw the light of day, let alone a willing publisher. His socially aware humor depicted the plight of Black bodies in white corporate spaces so well that his cartoons are still deeply relatable today.