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22 Oct 2009

Effects of racism in the workplace
I work for a fantastic ngo. All my colleagues are black. It doesn' t generally bother me when they ignore me or make comments about me being the boss' s friend that' s why I got hired, etc. Actually from my colleagues in my dept, I am the only one with a degree. I also have thrice the workload. My boss always gets me to edit documents or prefers me working on reports because I do have better language skills. My colleague, who is in the same position, and shares the office always makes comments. I just ignore it. Our finance person once told me that I think I am too clever because I questioned some figures. I ended up being correct. They often gather in the office to chat to my colleague and they make the biggest commotion. If I tell them they are disturbing me, they comment on how I am working for the company award. A colleague told me that they always say that my position should have been given to a black person because I know nothing about suffering.

I do my work well and am proud of it, but I do spend more time at work than at home and I wonder at what point I may start getting really offended by the lack of respect and constant comments.

How does one deal with people like this?
Answer 536 views

01 Jan 0001

Sounds like a badly run office, over-all. Irrespective of racial issues, groups should not be gathering and gossipping in anyone's office during working hours, and HR should be attending to the sort of racist criticisms you are experiencing, probably by running group sessions to discuss such issues.
During any year, many South Africans suffer and larn more than they want to, about suffering. As most people in this country happen to be black, most of the ictims of such suffering are black, too. But it's nonsense to assume that everyone simply by having black skin becomes an expert on suffering - some folks have been fortunate enough to lead happy lives ; suffering isn't universal. And it's also racist and unhelpful to assume that no white person can possibly understand suffering, either.
If there's a black person better qualified to actually do the job effectively ( nobody's suffering is relieved by someone incapable, whatever their colour )in terms of knowledge and experience, then they should get the job in due time. Sounds like your boss, and the HR component of your NGO, are shirking their responsibilities - not only for your sake, but for the sake of the others who seem not to understand the purpose of their work, and the value of their work and yours
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