BONDFIRES

A movement to eradicate racism together

WORKING THROUGH BILL 168-My Story cont’d

“I had just made one of the biggest mistakes in my life”

“You are going to feel much happier by the time you leave this office…”  I sat facing a Management person who was definitely higher up on the food chain. She offered me candy and a smile. “Now tell me what’s going on.”

I told my story. I included how the initial encounter with my Supervisor left me feeling violated and unheard. How she raised her voice, pointed her finger in my face and chastised me. I told her about my pay being cut. I told her that, a few moments ago, I was told by my Supervisor that some of my job responsibilities would be taken from me and “redistributed”. I told her that  my Supervisor recently contacted a community partner agency and requested that all of my correspondence with that community partner was to be Cc’d to my Supervisor.  I said the sudden request for “Supervison” was timely given the events that had occurred.  I also reminded this Management person about a conversation we had in the past about my Supervisors lack of communication with me and how she had meetings with other  staff and made changes to my job, but refused to speak directly to me.  I said that I still have a copy of the email to her about  that matter. I watched her as she continued to smile and nod. And then she said some things that concerned me.

She told me that my Supervisor would never do anything like that. She said I must be mistaken and shook her head with a look of disbelief on her smiling face.  Her bottom line was the meeting had to happen later today or Monday morning and if I didn’t follow through it would be a matter of insubordination. She thanked me for coming, offered to attend the “Supervison” as my support and opened the door for me to leave.

I went back to my office upset and deflated. I took an early lunch and got on the phone. My first call was to the Union. Still no replacement for the Union Rep. I got assertive…I got put to voice mail. I called the Labour Board again and was told it is still a Union issue. I explained the circumstances. I was given the phone numbers for 3 employment lawyers. I called all of them. I got voice mail. I left messages.  I caught sight of the Executive Director getting out of her car.  A few moments later my phone started ringing. It was the Executive Director requesting a meeting. I took a deep breath and walked across the parking lot to the ED’s office. She graciously welcomed me in and waved towards a chair in front of her desk.

As I told my story, I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. She offered me tissues. Her gaze never seemed to leave my face. She said she understood  that I felt hurt. She said there is agency policy to cover Bill 168 and she offered Conflict Resolution as an option  to address the issues…after meeting with the Supervisor, of course. Yes, she knew that the Union Rep was away but, this could expedite the resolution process. She said this just seemed to be so painful for me. I agreed and I accepted the offer of Conflict Resolution  not realizing that I had just made one of the biggest mistakes in my life…TO BE CONTINUED 

 

 

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15 thoughts on “WORKING THROUGH BILL 168-My Story cont’d

  1. “We have to learn how to speak each other’s languages, if not literally, then at least culturally. And I think that’s something this summit will help do.”

  2. Since you were so kind to stop by my blog at aurorawatcherak, I figured I would take you up on your invitation to come view yours. What can I say? My experience as an American Indian teaches me that there are people who don’t like those who are different from them just because they don’t like difference. But it has also taught me that if I wake up every morning expecting to encounter bigotry, I will see bigotry everywhere I turn. I prefer not to expect it and, surprise, I only rarely encounter it. More often than not, I find it among people of color rather than “white” folk. Americans of primary Caucasian descent have “unpacked” their racism more than a generation ago. They no longer think in those terms, until some embittered minority gets in their face and demands that they continue to revisit the past sins of our nation as if people from this generation are somehow responsible for the mistakes of generations past. If you want the last vestiges of racism to disappear from the US, stop invoking it every change you get.

    Just my opinion. Take it for what it’s worth.

    • You make an interesting observation that Caucasian American’s have “unpacked” their racism a generation ago? Is there a specific event you are speaking to? If that is the case, why are whites, like Rev. Billings saying they have not unpacked their racism and a whole anti-racism movement by white Americans are training other whites to see how racism is constructed and embedded in American society in such a way that whites will always have privilege and advantage over non-whites? If whites “no longer think in those terms” why is a black president questioned about his credentials and called the “Welfare President”? Why can’t black youth wear a hoodie without being shot? Although racism was constructed many generations ago, it continues to be held in place by white people(often subconsciously) to this day. That statement is not to make white people feel guilty, it is to state a reality.This is the starting point for anti-racist understanding and work. Many “white” anti-racist advocates and trainers have accepted this reality and are working hard to raise awareness and help de-constrict racism.
      I believe the construct of racism, in a race constructed world, has accomplished two things, first, to give (and maintain) white people a false sense of superiority via un-earned advantages/privileges over non-white people, and secondly, to give non-whites a false sense of inferiority, to keep non-whites in unequal circumstances and maintain dissention among non-whites; being suspicious of each other (expecting the worst), perpetuating stereo-types, blaming each other for racism in America and throughout the world. This has been the legacy that has created the unequal, unfair, unfortunate conditions we live in. It is the blueprint that holds racism in place. This is why I believe de-constructing racism is not impossible. This is why I am working with others who are committed to tear down and eradicate racism! That being said…I do agree with you that “we see what we want to see”.
      At BONDFIRES we believe that communication is so important in anti-racist work. It can be one of the most difficult things to do. Many of us (from all races) carry scars and have been wounded and even silenced in the past by racism. We are fragile in this area, but, if we cannot communicate (respectfully) about what is hurting us then we silently uphold the systems in place that continue to traumatize and victimize us. That is why I refuse to be silent. I am “compelled” to speak out. I refuse to pass the evil of racism on to another generation.
      On some levels, I think you understand where i’m coming from in terms of speaking out. You have taken a risk and voiced your opinion. You were “compelled” to speak your truth! Thank you for your comment and thank you for visiting BONDFIRES !-Izzie J

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