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“It’s time for the office party! Its time for the office party!” (to the tune of “Time For The Percolator”)

It’s that precious time of year when companies gather their staff, from the mail room to the corner office, for free food, an open bar and all the Walmart-safe rap songs you can stomach. But unless you’re working for BET in 2001, you may be one of only a few Black employees in your office or even your entire company.

Here are your 5 Black Hacks to make sure this year’s holiday party doesn’t become your last.

Safe Words

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*sings* When the liquor’s in the system, ain’t no tellin’ — what you’ll tell them white people you work with. Like about the semester you stripped when the Pell Grant didn’t come through. Or how the boss’s new baby kinda looks like an albino Monitor Lizard. Or how gentrification is the equivalent of putting mayonnaise on baked mac and cheese. Yes, it’s all facts, but now ain’t the time. So before you dive headfirst into that open bar, make sure a trusted coworker knows that special word or phrase they can whisper to get you all the way together:

  • ‘Jodeci’
  • ‘Knuck if you Buck’
  • ‘Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls’
  • ‘All my life I had to fight!’

Plus 1 Wisely

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In the famous words of most Black grandmas: “Birds of a feather, flock together, and they better be flocked to church on Sunday!” TRANSLATION: You are just like your friends. So when you are considering your guest for the party, try to avoid:

  • Your friend that has to bust a freestyle rap at all times and tell everybody about his new mixtape.
  • Your friend that tries to sell everybody weed because “EVERYBODY GET HIGH!”
  • The friend that couldn’t hold their liquor even if it had a handle.
  • Your hot-headed friend who’s ready to throw hands in every situation any time, all day, everyday, cause “it’s whatever.” Because every introduction will go something like “HOLD UP! Karen? Karen Karen? The Karen bitch you said…?”

White Guilt Blitz

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As white racists continue to drag themselves out of the sewer like Walking Dead extras or zombies in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller video,” so will your white coworkers trying to profess their wokeness:

  • How they tried to talk their aunt out of voting for Trump
  • How they never REALLY believed Obama was from Kenya even though their dad did.
  • Or their most shameful secret: “I just didn’t know sweet potato pie was a thing. My family only made pumpkin. (cries) It was all we knew.”

You’ve got to watch the room like a quarterback: Avoid the corners. Watch out for the heartfelt “Can we talk for a second” coming up the side. Or, coming right down the middle, the “It’s not that I don’t agree with Kaepernick.” NOPE! Just head to the bar and take a knee.

Seasoning Survival Pack

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This next hack is for the least among us. The overworked and underfed. The budget baller, trying to pay down these student loans and the credit card from college that you only signed up for because you were hungry and they had King Size Snickers. Just me? WHATEVER! But as beautiful as this spread will look, you can bet it’s disrespectfully bland. You’ll take a bite and question whether you’re eating a paper cut-out of a meal.

So, in honor of the Patti LaBelle and all the ancestors, pack some of the seasoning basics: garlic powder, hot sauce, seasoning salt, paprika, oregano, cinnamon, bay leaves, salt, rosemary, celery powder, chili powder and overall flavoring.

Proof of Consent

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The office is basically high school, and the office party is like prom. The night when you and your office boo act on the tension you’ve been building with the long lunches and friendly “great job on that report” and use the excuse “I was soooo drunk I don’t know what happened.” But make sure it’s consensual and that the “you can get it” face isn’t just gas. Stop at the copy room and print up a couple of consent forms. Leave nothing to interpretation. Sign, date and have your coworkers wondering if you’re banging on their desk after work for the rest of the year. The answer is yes.

So there you have it. The 5 Black Hacks for surviving the holiday season WITH your job.