I Wasn’t One of Them

I never thought that it would affect me.

When I first came to Buffalo, NY, I would vaguely hear about its history of division and discrimination.

Most of my peers on campus were from the New York City area so I never felt like I was far away from home. Even though cases of discrimination goes on in Long Island, people are a little more liberal, so I never felt threatened by anyone from another race.

One day I learned that being a minority in Buffalo has its adversity. I applied for a retail position at the Galleria Mall and I was excited because, I was confident that I would get the job.

I ironed by best attire and headed to the interview with high hopes. I prayed before I walked into the store and noticed that there was a lady who appeared to be the manager waiting by the registrar.

She walked me to the office so we could start the interview.  She started asking me questions about school and telling me about her experience working in New York City and the cool people she met. It was kind of weird that she talked about herself a lot but, I didn’t mind.

Then she started to get a little more personal. She began to ask me about my family. I was hesitant to answer but, I answered the questions anyways.

“Do you have a father?”

“What about a mom?”

“Did you all grow up together?”

“Why wasn’t your father around?”

At this point I grew uncomfortable so I tried to change the subject. I asked her if she wanted to see my resume so I could talk more about my credential but, she declined my offer.

She said that she wanted to know more about me. She then asked me if I had an internship. When I told her no she suggested that I focus on that rather than apply for the job. A part of me thought that she was genuinely concerned until she started talking comparing her life decisions to mine bragging about her days working in New York and what she accomplished in the past.

At this point I knew that this interview was a disaster and I was sure that I would not get the job. A part of me wanted to tell her that I thought that she was out of line and that her questions were unprofessional but, I stuck it out.

She started asking me questions about when the store was founded and how it began. I felt ashamed that I didn’t know the answer until I realized that she didn’t know the answer either. She pulled up the company’s website and read the answers to her questions off of the computer screen.

After a long 20 minutes of being interrogated she told me that she didn’t think that I was a good fit for the company. I walked out of the interview feeling inferior and did not make eye contact with the employees whose eyes were glued to me when I walked out.

I knew deep down I wasn’t going to get the job from the moment I stepped into the store because I didn’t see anyone who looked like me. I stuck through it and hoped for the best despite my intuition.

Maybe I can be the one that adds diversity here. Maybe I can be that person who can close that gap, I thought to myself but, the reality is, we have a long way to go. I was qualified for the job, I talked well, and I was prepared but, that wasn’t enough.

I wasn’t one of them.

If you ever experience employment discrimination of any kind you can contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for more information.

To share your story you can contact me on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Making It through the Darkest Hour

The darkest hour has a way of exposing your pain.

The darkest hour knows how to make you look him in his face. The darkest hour separates the weak from the strong because he will either make you strong or tear you apart.

I made it past the darkest hour because I’m here today and so did you. But the funny thing about the darkest hour is that when you think you’ve met him sometimes he come back stronger and with a vengeance.

When you meet him again you have to be strong. We often find ourselves caving our pain inside and taking on the world with an artificial confidence. In order to be prepared for the darkest hour we have to let go of the pain from the past because healing builds strength. When you are able to walk away from a closed door with closure then you will be equipped to face whatever is in store in the next door.

When you have a better outlook on life it’s easier to get past challenges because you know that pain comes and go. With wisdom you can approach any obstacle with a warrior mentality. The warrior mentality is the mentality that you can conquer any obstacle that comes your way.

When the darkest hour comes know that an hour is only a spec in time and you can get through it.

Something Bigger Than Yourself

 

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”                                -Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi could not have said it any better. There are so many times when we focus on ourselves to find ourselves. Your true character is built when you impact the lives of others. I use to always think that I could find myself and perfect it then I could take on the world. After numerous attempts, I am living proof that this will never work.

For the past few days, I have felt very empty. As a college student, I have not been involved in anything, leading me to feel like I was living without a purpose. I watch other people who are passionate about groups and causes that they are a part of and I ask myself what’s stopping me.

There is something powerful about someone that can be a part of something bigger than themselves. I’ve made excuses so many times as to why I can’t do something and end up regretting my decisions over and over.

When I watched this video about the 15 year old kid who took on the government for a cause that he was passionate for I was inspired. Most adults don’t even have the courage to take on a cause the way this young man did.

I would like to challenge you and myself to take on something that matters to you. Whether you are the leader or just a part of a group that works toward a cause that you are passionate about. Sometimes we become so comfortable that we miss out on opportunities that has the power to impact the world.

Check out the video on Vice.