Lets talk about it: Is it institutional Racism?

I want to be  more courteous to my white colleagues for whatever information I am going to write about. I don’t want to be taken out of context because I believe we are people of various opinions. Some people may get along with you and some people may not and misinterpret the given in formation. Firstly I hate nobody regardless of colour, race, religion, age or disability. But I hate some things that happen in our daily lives that are applied unfairly to the other people because of their colour or race. It diminishes the positive spirit and hence it cripples the self-belief. It’s high time that something needs to be implemented.

I am drawing your attention into my story that happened to me more than a week ago. It so happened that my agency that I worked for had gained a contract for me that last for a period of three months at one of the Sure Start centres in GortonManchester. The contract commenced on the 2nd of July 2012. I was very happy when my agency informed of the contract. The following Monday I went to the centre and I arrived one hour earlier and I was scheduled to start at 9:30 am and finish at 4:30 pm. On arrival I went to the reception and introduced myself and I signed in. Later one of the seniors, Kay, a female took me around as she showed me the place and asked me some securities questions, of which I passed with flying colours. At 9.30 am, Kay came to the staffroom and took me to the classroom and introduced me to other staff members and children. The children were thrilled and one by one they came and greeted me and some repeatedly asked for my name, which I voluntarily gave it in.

As a new staff, you always want to observe and ask the old staff if there is anything they want you to do, so I was at their disposal and I was willingly to do anything in line with school regulations and education policies. I noticed that there was no structured lessons for the children that ranged from 2-5 years, It was mostly free play in and out door activities.  75% of the children were black and 25% were white and Asian. There was one Asian and eight whites teachers. The children spent ¾ of their time outdoors on good days meaning the sunny days and less on raining days. In most cases the senior staff had always asked me to supervise the children outside as they played. I went with the enthusiasm and joined in their activities and I introduced new games and some beautiful music for their age, as the week progressed. The children and I became compatible and everything began to swing well. I began to enjoy more of my work. I love children and children also love me. (To those who had read my earlier article about children titled: Affection would understand me straight away my relationships with children). I became part of them and naturally you want to protect them and that no harm should come upon them.

Within all these smooth flows with children, there was one thing that I came to notice that the second day at work, there was a new staff member from a different agency a white lady, her name Clara (not her real name). Later at noon I saw her rushing to office where she had been called for and I marvelled upon what it could be? She came back thirty minutes later. At break time we went together to the staffroom and chatted animatedly. Then, Clara, not her real name began to tell me that she just had been offered a three months contract. What it intrigued was that the dates of her contract were exactly the same as mine and I wondered why? I thought genuinely that they must be in short of staff to sign two people from different agencies at the same time. I told her that I also have been offered a similar contract like hers. We were all happy for each other.

The following week went smoothly until Friday afternoon. At break time I went to staffroom and I met up with Clara and we talked lively. In the middle of the conversation Clara alerted me that there was a meeting going in the boardroom. One of the seniors, a white a lady called Sue ( not her real name) whom I worked along with overheard our conversation and immediately she interrupted us. “I have been called at that meeting, but I refused to go,” she spoke with a subdued voice as she looked at me. I wondered what the meeting could be but I had a funny feeling probably they were discussing about me but on what grounds? When I was really enjoying working with the children. So I dismissed the thought. We dispersed soon after break. I went back and whilst I was outside with the children, one of the staff members, Vee, asked me to come into the building since one of the seniors, Kay, wanted to speak to me. It was the same Kay who had introduced me and showed me around the place and she spent her most of the time working at the reception not with the children.

I went straight to her, “I am sorry, Euna”, she began hesitantly, “to tell you that today is your last day working here. Eer…err, we found out that we cannot be paying two people here. It’s going to be costly.  So is this going okay with you?” I shook my head in disbelieve.   I began to fight with my subconscious  and telling me what to say; it is not okay with me. I loved this place and I enjoyed working with the children. I have a lot more to offer and I don’t want to go. But unfortunately I never let out these words. I felt like I have been struck by lighting. “Is there anything wrong have I done?” I asked as I finally gained my voice. “No, No, There is nothing wrong you have done. Believe me if there anything wrong you have done I would have told you now,” Kay said as her face no longer wanted to face mine. “But you will be here till 4:30 pm and you will be paid for your hours.” She said as her hands patted my shoulders and left the building.

I found my way back and the moment I entered the classroom, the very senior teacher, Vee, was worried for me, I think my face had told her the story. She continuously asked me for several times, are you okay Euna? Unfortunately I was completely in denial to answer her back. I had no words for it. I nodded that I was okay? I was fuming and wanting to release all my emotions. I wished they had not told me until to the end of the shift. It distracted me as my emotions overrun me.

I wanted to be somewhere alone and lick my wounds. I did not want children to see me in a tearful mood. As I was thinking, one teacher came to me, Julie and hugged me. “Euna, what’s wrong? I never saw you sad. You are always cheerful.” Tell me, what is it? I shook my head as the tears swelled in my eyes. “Go get some water to drink, Euna, please.” Julie released me and I went for water in another different building far from the classrooms. I drank water and took time to compose myself.

Afterwards I went back and calmly I spread the bad news to all who were worried about me. I received words of sympathy and comfort. I did my best to enjoy the few hours with the children that had left for me. Somehow the children they seemed to understand me and they came and gathered around me, and individually they began to tell me their own stories of miseries and disappointments. We played games and sang over and over the songs that I taught them, the other teachers watched me in awe as I performed my last plays with children.”Oh, Euna, you have a beautiful voice,” one of the senior teachers commented, ” and we are all going to miss you.” It was a sweet bitter to swallow. I thoroughly missed the children and maybe the children still wondered what happened to me?

I felt that the local board at that Sure Start centre wanted to send a strong message to my agency that probably if they had sent a white person to their school, things might have been different with them. Where does the equal opportunity and inclusion of diversity apply here? The children from black community they also need a role model. Someone whom they can relate to. Identity is very crucial it models children better as they grew up.

Just to clarify to some what is institutional racism? Institutional racism is distinguished from racial bigotry by the existence of institutional systemic policies, practices and economic and political structures which place non-white racial and ethnic groups at a disadvantage in relation to an institution’s white members. After reading my story do you think my topic was relevant to what I have written? Pour your thoughts on my blog by leaving your comments. I would appreciate your thoughts of the day.

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Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed !!!

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Kindle

It’s  an exciting atmosphere when people talk of new things that excites them in their lives. I  have been treading upon that pathway for almost two weeks and listened carefully as people chatted. Some exciting new things have been said over and over as I mingled with different crowds in different places. I wondered what makes this book distinguishable from other books. It seems it has rekindled the desires of many to read again and perhaps for some they might read it on a Kindle? For the last two weeks I have been so much excited because I was treading within the familiar territory and it is a territory I like most and addicted to and almost every Jack and Jill was talking about it. It is a territory of books. I love reading; I can describe myself as a bookworm. I love reading and time is limited. If I have ample time I would dedicate my time in reading and writing I have voluptuous appetite for both activities. If I had enough money on my plate I would dedicate my time into reading and writing but only heavens will know when I shall strike that special opportunity and fulfil the desires of my heart.

The last couple of weeks have been wonderful days and nights of my life when everyone was talking about books and reading. The people I met have conversed animatedly about the subject as if they were talking of the Fast Movies of their lifetime. “Did you hear of this book…? Its neurotic…Actually I recommend you to buy….3 books  at the prize of ten….. Just visit Asda or Tesco. I love Mr Grey… no, no, I love the chocolate thing…” Everybody laughs.

Whilst I was listening I was approached several times on different occasions and recommended to buy not the book but the books because it comes in a trilogy.  Surprisingly all the people or sources of my information I heard and talked about were all white ladies. “So what is the title of books?” I asked with a very soft inquisitive voice, cursing myself for not being the earliest updated with the latest books. The first one is called Fifty shades of grey, the second one is Fifty shades of darker and the third is Fifty shades of Freed. “Who is the author of the books? I probed like a detective, but with an impassive voice. I was impressed with the author who had successful written one story in three books. “El James,” someone chorused back, “she is a woman”, someone added the information. “ She must be a prolific writer,” I said as I moved on to the next question and I wondered whether I have become freelance journalist for a day. “So what makes this book appealing?” I asked, but as I looked I saw all the ladies who were gathering around me gazing at each other, and flashes of smiles passing between of them, as if they were gauging who should answer me first.  One blond lady had quickly decided to respond to my question and I smiled and nodded signalling that I was ready to hear her. “It makes women dominate in the bedroom,” she said with a rhapsody tone. “Who ooh who ooh,” I whistled, and for the first time I was lost of the words. Women around me were laughing.

“So if you hear me of speaking about the “Chocolate thing”, you got to understand me. Right?” said the blond lady as she directed her words to me. “I am practically in love with Mr Grey. I can’t wait going home and read the book,” she continued and spoke with an over emphasized tone, and I wondered whether I would have the opportunity to grab the book from the shops since my time at work restricts me.  I thanked the ladies for being informative and they encouraged for the second time that I should buy the books.

It was yesterday on Saturday afternoon and when I popped in Asda, Hazel Grove. I went straight to the bookshelf and found a set of the grey trilogy books neatly packed above all books. I grabbed all three of them and somehow like the all the conversations I have been going through for couple of weeks, the books caught the attention of every customer in Asda shop. One tanned white man who was in front of me queuing to pay his items started the conversation.

“This is the most interesting book and almost everyone is reading it,” he said, as he looked at me with the most infectious smile I ever seen. “Have you read the book yourself? I found myself starring at him as I scratched my nose yearning for the first time to hear it from an opposite sex talking about this book in my last two weeks. “No. I didn’t,” he said, “its a woman’s book,” he added as he looked handsomely in my eyes. I was fluttered. Perhaps he looked like Mr Grey whom I have been told over and over, I speculated it in my own thoughts. “ I can predict that from now to nine months time many new born babies would be born,” he said as he revealed his white teeth with a big smile, his eyes scanning every woman in the shop.“ I can guarantee that three quarters of the babies would be from mixed race, mostly from “chocolate people” I said, and there was explosion of laughter. “All of sudden there was a buzz from all white ladies who were in the shop and everybody telling me that they have read the book or they’re in the middle of finishing the first one or they just finished the last one. It was another heat wave of an exciting atmosphere from these lovely spirited ladies. The man left and started talking animatedly with the ladies. I bade farewell and all the ladies wished me the best in my reading.

I went home and started reading the first book I was easily lured into the story and I found Ana Steel falling for the young, rich, and handsome black guy, Mr Christian Grey, for the first time she met him. I finished the first book and I know the reason these women I met were thoroughly crazy about this book. Its simply explicit and erotic.  I am not mad about the book but I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it and now I can understand why it ‘s  on high demand. The writer EL James she is thorough and articulate.  I had to say it had drawn a  lot of attention when  I was reading this book on the bus or in the staffroom. I thoroughly enjoyed the random discussions that popped up whilst I was reading it. One  lady it told was a  Holy Crap and another other old lady told me that she was annoyed with one lady whom she met on the holiday who finished up the story for her when she  had only few pages left to read. Some of my colleagues at work asked me what  I thought about the book and it was pure explicit and if you love erotic dramas you will find them. At one stage I was asked to read some  of the few lines and  I did as per their request. As I read loudly for them, they laughed and they were surprised with the kind of language the writer used. I am on the second book.

Mandela Day 18th of July 2012

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Mandela day is a day to commemorate the birth of the greatest, courageous, determined and patriotic leader, Mandiba Nelson Mandela. He was born on the 18th of July 1918 at Mvezo, a tiny village on the banks of Mbashe River in the district of Umtata, the capital of Transkei. The year of his birth marked the end of Great War; the outbreak of influenza epidemic that killed millions of people throughout the world and the visit of the delegation of the African National congress to the Versailles peace conferences to voice the grievances of African people of South Africa. His birth was great landmark in the history of all man. His life was destined for struggle, perseverance, endurance, and a role model of a great leader. In his path to Long Walk to Freedom he wonderfully touched so many lives all over the world, and even in dire situations he never looked back but he looked into the future. It was a longest tunnel that a man has ever walked through, a tunnel that was tunnelled with despair and anguish. At the end of the tunnel he saw the light coming through and it gave him a tremendous joy, which upon its arrival he celebrated with his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, who gave him a great pleasure; and his all comrades, friends, and fellow South Africans whom he served and whose courage, determination and patriotism remained as his source of his inspiration.

 It’s already nine days left to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s birthday. I have found out there are so many ways we can all get involved to distinguish the day. In your own charitable style do what you can do to help others. Let it be realistic. You may touch on or two people but your service would not be  forgotten, for Mandiba Nelson Mandela has never been forgotten. Give something, donate, teach someone a new lesson, sing, dance, create etc. Upon that day just do something worthwhile to charity or to other people. If you lack ideas visit the www.mandela.com, I feel happy that I have shared something special with you and I recommend to you to come back on my blog on the 18th of July 2012.  There shall be something special for you to ponder upon. I believe you are all going to share with me of what you have done on the day and leaving your comments on my blog can do all this.