The store had a problem, according to the company policy the stores have to reflect the ethnic make up of the demographics that the store serves. The problem came that the racial make up of the town ended up that less then one percent is African American but there had been no Blacks who applied for a job.
And no one from another town would work for the wage that the store could pay according to the schedule of pay for that size of store. Then the day came that Fred applied, he failed the tests, which should have meant he would not be able to retest for six months.
But the personnel manager personally gave the test over again to him; he got 100 percent the second time.
And he told me he was actually waiting in the break room to take the test again when she came to him and said he got a perfect score!
They treated him as if he could not read and expected him to do nothing and settled for what every he would do. Often another member of the crew would be assigned to do both their area and his.
More then once I would be told since we seemed to be friend which he is honestly the only one I would say was a friend to my mind. That I was to set with him when he was required to take a test and make sure he would pass it.
I would read the questions and the answers then wait, he did not seem to know so I would either point or come right out and tell him. I had been told he could not read and I dismissed a lot to that.
TILL, one night I was reading the questions and answers and he cat that ate the canary smiled and pointed to a wrong answer!
I blurted out, “ YOU SOB YOU CAN READ!”.
He could and he had wondered why everyone was treating him like he was an idiot?
I told him how his own brother had told us all he could not read and was mentally slow.
He got angry and said he thought something was wrong when he was just goofing off he never got in any trouble.
I then told him that it was wrong that the other people working the shift were ending up doing his work so he did not have too! From that night on his performance improved, Also he made it clear to the management that he did not want to be treated special because of the color of his skin.
But that did not matter since the only value he had to them was just that… The color of his skin.
The only saving grace from that was when he got in a physical fight with another associate and Fred actually started neither got fired which they would have both been fired but because they would not fire Fred they could not fire the guy he started the fight with.
Fred quit to take a higher paying job and now is back after that job did not work out.
I saw him tonight at Wal-Mart, he was working and told me he wanted out of there so he applied for the School job.
The same one I had applied for!
I have more experience and had worked for five and a half years for the school district doing that job.
But still after I walked away, the thought came to me, a thought that made me feel upset.
The thought of he has a job in fact he had reapplied the same time I had recently to Wal-Mart and I had been told I failed the test. He went back to work as the only black person working at that store.
Given the days off he wanted though you normally have to work long enough to finally wait till your turn to get weekends off.
And now my best chance to go back to work and for the school district now he has applied for it!
And once again another employer has the chance to show equality in hiring the only Black to apply.
I felt bad, that my thoughts ran such and suddenly found myself actually blaming him not for applying for a job I needed. BUT for being Black! Resenting that in the world such a thing is a deciding factor.
My disgust toward him turned from him to the notion that some how this is right!
That somehow this pays for centuries of wrongs, as if this is justice for racism.
How is it any different or a cure? It only serves to continue the wrongs not make attunement for it.
I would like to work with Fred again; I will always consider him my friend.
I am just disgusted that I had those thoughts and feelings and that some how judging someone for a job because of the color of their skin and this time because they are Black is making this open wound caused by slavery and racism to be continued.
There is no healing as long as racism is the basis for the judgment of value.