Anyone who knows me, or those who have interacted with me with anything dealing with time, knows that I hate lateness. I’m so anal when it comes to being on time, that being on time is actually my version of being late.  If I’m not at least 15-20 minutes early for anything that has a scheduled time, it just doesn’t sit well with me.

Unfortunately, not all of my friends feel the same way.

I have friends who feel that “CP Time” is a badge of honor.  But I find it to be a badge of disrespect.  Folks, there’s nothing cute about being perpetually late. There’s no such thing as being fashionably late, or making an entrance because you were being late on purpose. It’s rude.  And the fact that black people hold on to this notion, even in a joking way, isn’t a laughing matter.

I remember in college, a  black professor would come down hard on students if they were late, but even harder on the black students.  And he made no apologies for it. He always said if a white person was late for a job, chances are people wouldn’t notice it. But if a black person was late, EVERYONE notices.  And unfortunately there have been many occasions where I’ve seen that ring true.

I can’t count how many times I’ve been in work environments and had to wait for people who I’ve managed and account for their lateness. Then they had the audacity to  shrug it off as though it wasn’t a big deal, because we’re both black.  I remember telling an employee that not only did it look bad on her that she was constantly late, but she was making me look bad as well when I was responsible for her presence.

Outside of professional environments, “CP Time” never works well when you’re hanging out with friends.  If I had a dime for the number of times I’ve been left waiting for people to show up to events, parties or other social gatherings, I’d be rich.  No one wants to be left sitting in the waiting area of a restaurant, waiting for the rest of a party to arrive, just to be seated.

In my opinion, “CP Time” is a stereotype that people need to just let go.  It shows a clear disregard of other people’s time and a lack of accountability.  Also, running late does not count as exercise.


Clutchettes, are you or someone you know perpetually late—Why? Or for those who are always on-time, how do you deal with lateness from others?

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  • I never became a person who was late until I got to college. Then when I started my first job in retail it got worst. It seem like since I didn’t care for the job, I didn’t care if I was a few mins late. Even when we started losing points for it, I still had a hard time being on time. For this job I am still few minutes late due to transportation reason and my place of work moving. It’s funny being late for a job I didn’t care for for bleed over into being late for doctor appointments and one time a job interview. I swear I have to get on ball and become an on time person again.

  • LemonNLime

    I think that being late for some things is OK. For instance, I’m always 15 mins. early for a job interview but I would never show up to a dinner party 15 mins. early because the hosts are still preparing for your arrival and you are in their way; if anything, I arrive 5-10 mins. after the set time just so there isn’t an onslaught.

    I will say, I hate potlucks with my extended family bc the see CPT as a badge of honor. It is so bad we’ve just stopped doing them because dinner would be at 3pm and all we would have is like green beans and rolls and potato salad while all the late people would roll up with the main course and other sides at 4:30pm! It would piss me off and what made it worse was that they thought that was OK and they would blame it on CPT like WE were wrong to expected them to arrive on time with the main meal!

  • African Woman

    Let’s face it that being late is totally disrespectful. Unless it is a true emergency there is no reason for being tardy. Get your but up early enough and get there in time. And calling it CP time is so dumb. Caucasians are late too… What? Should we call that Cracker People time? Chile please!!

  • I often wonder with certain people, “What’s the point of making plans if you’re going stroll in whenever you please?” I understand life happens, in that case shoot a text/call saying that you’re running a bit late… It’s called consideration (and communication…and maturity).

    I often joke that if Beyoncé put on a free concert, let everyone hold Blu Ivy, pay their phone bill and hand out free BBQ from 12p-2a people would still be late.

    In regards to the author’s question, being late or tardy for anything was a no-go with my parents, which is why I can’t stand late, flake-y people or anyone who embraces “CPT.”

  • I get the frustration with “CP ” time in the American context, but if you visit other black countries and/or consider blacks in the diaspora, the concept of time is often radically different. It’s only in America, where the culture here is work obsessed, that time is considered in such a concrete way and everything exists on a timeline. This way of thinking is promoted by and suits the needs of employers an, in a way, is very limiting and restricting in terms of life satisfaction. Think about it, imagine how freeing it would be to relieve the pressure of being on a constant timeline and start enjoying the moments where life seeps in, as often it exists in random and spontaneous moments. This is not just a black thing either, as many European nations embrace a more lax timeline that allows for some breathing room. I’m not advocating for the other end of the spectrum, but sometimes ppl don’t realize how restricting American culture can be, where suddenly being “on time” has become a virtue, when in reality time is neutral and people choose what to do with it