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.

 

Saturday Inspiration: Beating Anxiety

Last night I reached my breaking point.

I am three weeks from graduating and it seems like everything is going wrong. Most students are nervous about graduating but, I am dreading each an every day here.

I’ve always noticed that anxiety always comes back when my stress levels are high and they have been higher than normal lately. I am doing research papers, preparing for finals, trying to rub two nickels together to get through the week and worst of all I feel alone.

I am away from people who I know care about me and it gets hard sometimes. The thing that stresses me out the most is not knowing who to trust.

When I woke up this morning I came across this YouTube video that lifted my spirit. This young lady’s story inspired me to keep going.

If you are going through depression or anxiety I think you should watch this video because it really helped me.

When it seems as if everything is wrong, sometimes you have to remind yourself who you are. It is none of your business what people think of you but, what truly matters is what you think about yourself.

 

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.

What Would You Do For Money?


The economy isn’t in the best shape and it seems almost impossible to make ends meet. So what are you willing to do for money?

Over the past few years I have heard many Americans complain that the immigrants are taking all the jobs from Americans. At first, I thought that this statement was just an excuse to blame someone for our misfortune but then I decided to dig a little deeper.

Today I watched the documentary “The Worst Job In New York: Immigrant America” and I would recommend everyone to watch it. This film opened my eyes to the topic of immigration in America. As an African American I can relate to the fact that Hispanics were discriminated against because of their ethnicity. In the film, it talks about the constant battles that some Hispanics face in upstate New York because of their ethnicity. Illegal and legal immigrants are constantly stopped and taken into custody so the officials can gain numbers in the people they deport so it looks good according to Martin Herron who worked for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Some are sent back to their home countries away from their families and friends. Some parts of upstate New York is so bad that many Hispanics fear being seen in the day time because they  run the risk of being taken into custody.

The major issue is the fact that many Hispanics work the jobs that most Americans won’t. A survey was done where random non-Hispanics were asked if they would work at a dairy farm and all of them said no. This goes back to my question what will you do for money? The same Hispanics that Americans try to get rid of make up the industries that contribute to American society. After watching this film I have gained a greater respect for Hispanic culture.

This brings me back to remembering the worst job that I ever had. This summer for my break I decided to work at Taco Bell. When I worked at Taco Bell I was one out of two African American employees and the crew consisted of mostly Hispanic employees. Most of them couldn’t speak English but all I though to myself was why are they here? We were completely under staff and did the work of multiple people and I hated that job with a passion. I mopped floors, washed windows, cleaned the dinning area, worked the register, drive thru, prep food and took out the garbage but I knew that I wanted more for myself. I only worked there to save up for school but I counted each day down as time passed.

After watching this film I realized how amazing my past co-workers are. Despite the fact that they deal with this workload everyday, they are doing what we don’t want to do. I respect their work ethic and determination. One of my co-workers worked hard doing above and beyond any manager or employee there everyday. I never understood why he worked so hard for something that I saw as so terrible. One day he came in with a managers suit on I was so proud of him.

Although some Hispanics weren’t born in America, the impact that they make on America makes them American in my eyes. If I don’t do the job and you wont, who will? They are a major part in the success of American. They are responsible for the many simple things that we take for granted. So before you complain about immigration, think about the consequences that we would have to pay without them.