While it’s 2017, there is still discrimination that happens to minorities at their places of employment. A new hashtag #BlackWomenAtWork started trending on Twitter. The hashtag has been used for people to voice their struggles while at the workplace. The hashtag became popular after Bill O’Reilly took jabs at congresswoman Maxine Walters following a speech she gave at the House of Representatives. O’Reilly said, “I didn’t hear a word she said. I was looking at the #James Brown wig. If we have a picture of James Brown, it’s the same wig.” This is apparently the case with a Florida woman by the name of Marie (name was changed to protect her identity) who works at Southwest Middle School.
On a recent Monday, Marie received a document requesting her signature when she returned to work. According to Marie, she started at 6:30, but the work was not logged in. She visited the receptionist office where she could sign a time sheet. It wasn’t long before she was called into the principal’s office. The principal called the custodian to verify when she logged in and then he asked Marie “When were you supposed to start?”
Marie explained that when she arrived at the school, no one was there yet so she sat in her car waiting for everyone to come. The principal apparently did not believe her story and proceeded to tell her that she came in the same time as another male co-worker. He continued on to ask:
“You don’t know what time you’re supposed to come in for work?”
Marie was actually at work on time. It didn’t end there. The same week, Marie received another written document requesting her to go to the principal’s office. However, due to his handwriting, she was unable to understand what his request was. When she got to the office, the principal asked “Didn’t you get the paper for you to see me?”.
Marie explained to him that she didn’t understand his handwriting. In turn, the principal’s response was, “You don’t know how to read?’ Marie explained that she knows how to read, but just could not understand his handwriting. The principal asked her “Who do you live with?” Marie responded that she lives with her granddaughter. He then asked, “Does she take care of you?” Marie responded with, “no.”
He turned to Marie and yelled out, “Get out.” He insulted in her front of everyone while the door was open.
Here we go again
Marie was called into the office again--this time on the intercom. By the time she reached the principal’s office, she was given a memo and was asked a series of private questions. One of the questions the principal asked her was, “Do you go to parties?” Marie was outraged by this and felt that it was inappropriate. She was accused of using a cell phone while on the job when she simply moved a cell phone charger that was in the custodian room.
She never used a phone on the job nor did she have a phone on her.
From there, Marie contacted the union to explain the situation and the union contacted the principal. The union reached back out to Marie and told her that the principal would have her sign something. By that point, the principal added something else that she didn’t do. She didn’t want to sign something that she didn’t understand. Marie felt closed in. She was brushed off by the union. They even told her that they didn’t want to hear anymore of her drama.
Racial disparity at Southwest
There has allegedly been some racial disparity among the blacks and whites at Southwest. From her experience, Marie said, “More blacks are arrested for minor things while whites do much more with no consequences. If a black person has color in their hair, they get sent to the dean’s office, but if a white person has color in their hair, nothing happens.”
She continued on to say, “If blacks get into a fight, they call the police, but if whites get into a fight, they call the parents and send them home.” #Palm Bay Florida