I was two-years-old when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. My father sent me to Parochial (Catholic) school when many Black parents simply couldn’t afford to. But my father worked hard to make sure I could. I was only one of two little girls who attended St. John the Baptist School. By my Fifth Grade, there were four of us. By Eighth Grade, there were 12.
All my educators were White. Even my God-Mother was White because we lived in a building devoid of racism. So I too, was raised with a certain naiveté and sheltered from the vile snake that encompasses Race and Bigotry.
My father taught me I can do anything in this world I wanted; be whatever I wanted, so long as it’s legal. I started reading Law books because I believed if I knew what made this world tick, I could find my place in it.
I did everything right: Graduated high school within three-years because Public H.S. couldn’t teach me anything I didn’t already know; then, graduated Business School when it wasn’t the norm.
They said “Computers were the future” so I studied Computer Science. Typing 65 wpm became my greatest accomplishment. I worked my way up from Word Processor to Project Manager to make six-figures!
Isn’t that the American Dream? You work hard, pay your dues, keeping your nose to the grindstone to (earn) what you want, right? Yes! Yes it is, until you lose your home to foreclosure and homelessness soon follows.
Twenty years ago, I was in control of my destiny as my managers and mentors (eventually) appreciated my tenacity. My “Can Do” attitude won-over skeptics, once I went above and beyond to demonstrate I was capable, it worked!
I easily began to qualify for every Wall Street IT job on the market and never had to worry about paying my rent, where I was going to live or how I was going to survive, because I had all the skills I needed to keep myself employed, and, to keep up with our ever-inflated economy — Until 9/11.
Yet despite all my accomplishments, work history, references and experience, I am (still) a victim of my color, albeit an educated one, as it does little or nothing to prove that I’m just as qualified as my White peers, and now, Guest Workers, who have all but taken over our entire IT Infrastructure simply because Bill Gates deemed (them) the Best and the Brightest!?
But for ½ the price…
Now White people must also compete on the world stage for salaries that no longer sustain them; work extra hours to prove they’re credible; play suck-up and ass-kiss to be likeable. I often wonder when did the Corporate Landscape transform into this life-sucking beast, jumping through imaginary hoops just to keep a J.O.B.?
In other words, when did being “Likeable” become more important than “Capable?”
I’ve been through what we call in the ghetto, “The school of hard knocks,” and I persevered. I clawed my way back into Corporate America simply because I wanted to demonstrate that I belong despite the color of my skin. But today, no matter how personable I try to be, and no matter how hard I work, often putting in hours not reflected in my paycheck, I still don’t get to stay long…
That means, I can’t move “forward” with my life.
Back to Square-One.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., once said, “It is a cruel jest to suggest to a Bootless Man that he pull himself up by his bootstraps.” If someone doesn’t give you a job, you can’t afford The Boots!
What I want you to know is, Minorities are NOT your Enemy!
Those that hold the power over whether you live or die; get the job, or lose your home, are.
A job makes all the difference!
Edited excerpts from: Red White AND Poor How Outsourcing Racially Divided America. Google “Red-White-Poor.com” to learn more.