If I’d been bold enough to open my mouth back then possibly more jobs would have been given to non-Irish people but I was easily intimidated back then in the 90s. As it was I was fighting management to keep an African women in her job. They were trying to use her lack of confidence as an excuse to let her go. But I could see as a mammy just out of the home she needed time and patience, God proved me right as this lady blossomed with time.
They used the excuse of not understanding accents not to give people more responsible positions or jobs in their various departments. How come I understood everyone, from the lovely African lady in the office down to the Indian couple who worked on the shop floor, even the Portugeuse guy who shouted more than talked. They gave a young Polish girl who I trained and encouraged to apply for posts, a very hard time. Making her cry. She applied for a supervisory position as she was already doing the job and got the position. Congrats Dear.
I was new to the management role and didn’t use my power as I should have and I regret this now. All I can do now is see that racism is not tolerated anywhere I see it and make sure others pass my message around.
I still remember the pre-Christmas managers meeting as if it just happened a few hours ago and I regret not being more outspoken back then. In fact I’m ashamed to say i didn’t say much.
I don’t know even if this practice is still done in the company as I don’t work there anymore.
The Managrs pre- Christmas meeting was to go through the piles of applications for Christmas employees. The people who applied for the jobs were as follows
1 : The people we didn’t know ( Unknowns )
2 : Family and friends of people already employed,
But at this meeting on the table there were 3 piles of applications . The normal 1 and 2 but there had been a third pile created.
When I asked what that pile was I was told that it was a few that came from the lovely African lady in the office. There were a few words said among the others. I just looked at the Manager stony faced.
Next it was down to business; how many staff each department needed etc. We all then went through the piles on the table. No one but myself picked up pile No 3. Out of this pile I picked 3 lovely Africans to work with me.
The Manager tried to show me people in pile no 1 but I said I didn’t know them and pretended I knew my people from pile no 3.
I ended up with 1 young college student and 2 lovely ladies all who worked hard along side me and my Indian assistant( Who became manager after I left). We had a good fun Christmas working hard trying to please customers. At times a Thankless job. But I was so Thankful I’d picked from the No3 pile. Everyone was relaxed and hardworking .
I know one of the ladies is a Pastor now and the young student is a DJ , the other lady I don’t know where she is but I’m sure she is good.
Anyone who has worked with me will recognise the company and possibly the people involved. I’m not naming names but I can rattle them off from memory.
Let racism be a thing of the past in all of our lives. Don’t tolerate it in the work place. Speak out if you see something you don’t like.
God made us all in his image, He never made whites better than blacks. We all have just blood flowing through our veins.