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.

10 Things I Learned From Moesha

If you haven’t seen the show Moesha than you don’t know what your missing. If you know me, you know my obsession with the 90s sitcom Moesha. Moesha is a sitcom that shows the phases of a young African American woman growing up with her family and friends in Crenshaw. Throughout the show she faces relationship issue, family issue, friendship issues, and social issues.

I always considered her character my alter ego. Moesha is like me unfiltered and I admire her confidence and bubbly personality. Like myself she is an aspiring journalist and a hard working young woman. Although she has some faults there are a few things that I learned from the character Moesha:

  1. The importance of family: Throughout each season, Moesha faces many internal an external issues with her family. She struggles to stay connected with them at a time when she is developing and branching out into the world. Despite the mistakes that she makes, she is always reminded that they are always there to pick her up.
  2. The power of a woman: Moesha challenges the stereotypes of a modern day woman. She faces a conflict where she is told what she cant’ do because she is a woman and she fights it. She avoid sexist positions and isn’t afraid to do whatever she puts her mind to.
  3. Living without regret: Moesha isn’t afraid to take chances. Although this leads to a lot of bad decisions, Moesha learns a lot from them. She also makes many good decisions and experiences many amazing opportunities.
  4. Change can be hard but good: After the death of Moesha’s biological mother and the coming of her stepmother, Moesha battles allowing her stepmother in. Although her stepmother seem like a mother to dream for, Moesha struggles to let go of the death of her mother. Moesha soon learns that her stepmother is on her side and lets her into her life.
  5. Moving Forward: One of the biggest conflicts that Moesha struggles with is her love for “Q”. She deals with her fathers disapproval of him, his disloyalty, and her swaying feelings for him. Despite there dreamy love for each other, she comes to terms with the reality that it is time to move on.
  6. Words are powerful: Moesha taught me that words have the power to bring someone up or break them down. Moesha’s friend Hakeem faces this battle when it is time to apply for college. He was discouraged from going to college with the rest of his friends because of his financially situation but Moesha encourages him to aim high.
  7. Keep living: Even when we think we know it all we still have a lot more to learn. When Moesha reached college she began to experience a glimpse of adulthood. Her adulthood was put to the test and she discovers that adulthood isn’t as simple as she thinks.
  8. Let go of baggage: Anything that is holding you back, you must let go. When you are looking at your future, you can’t look back. Removing distractions that act as road blocks are essential.
  9. Your heart can’t deny what’s real: When Moesha and Hakeem finally gave love a go it was like fireworks. It was so real that they never saw it coming. Despite Moesha’s previous relationships, her connection with Hakeem seemed meant to be. All that time she searched for love, she never realized that it was there all along.
  10. The importance of following your dreams: Through out the seasons of the show, Moesha has taught me how to follow my dreams. As a fellow aspiring journalism, she is determined to succeed. She uses many historical African American women as her inspiration and takes advantage of any opportunity.

Whenever I am at a place where life seems taught, this show always picks me up. It reminds me of my potential and inspires me to work a little harder. If you haven’t seen this show then you do not know what your missing. These are the ten things that I learned from Moesha.

The Essence of Gratitude

When it seems as if everything is going wrong it may be hard to be positive. As I face disappointment after disappointment there are days when I feel weary. I pray, try to treat others the way I want to be treated and humble myself but some days I feel broken. I look at the things that I am still struggling with and wonder how come I haven’t got past this struggle.

I have committed myself to change but, it seems as if some things just haven’t changed yet. I look in the mirror in the morning with fear, hope, and expectancy; sometimes I look in the mirror after a long day with shame and discouragement.

This was becoming a daily routine for me day after day for the past few weeks.
I am proud of the fact that I decided to take the measures to make change in my life but, there was still something holding me back.

Although, I gave up my negative ways I was still stuck in the same struggles from it. The problem wasn’t the people who hurt me in my life; the problem was within me. The negative thoughts that I gave energy to was becoming my reality.

I was living a make believe world life in my mind that affected my actions in real life. When I took off the lens of my make believe world I saw that the problems that I saw where never there to begin with. I failed to see all of the positive people that actually where there the whole time and the things that God had blessed me with all along.

I may not be where I want to be but I have come a long way from where I started. Whenever you feel that all of the odds are against you I dare you to take a moment to really think about the things that are. If you are reading this you are already blessed because that means that you made it to see another day. Acknowledge the good things in your life and be blessed.