I saw this sentence and I burst out laughing , not because its funny but its actually spot on! Truth!
“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any one deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.” ― Zora Neale Hurston
I am still on this particular discovery journey and I need to sort out some thoughts and free my heart.
Discrimination- 1.the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex. 2. recognition and understanding of the difference between one thing and another.
Prejudice- 1. preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. 2. according to law:harm or injury that results or may result from some action or judgement.
3. Racism- the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
Yyyaaayy to the last semester where we actually have to do group work. Don´t get me wrong its not that I don´t like my classmates or that I don´t like group work but it eats into a lot ! Time, energy, the list of requirements and given that whoever came up with our program left little or next to no room whatsoever for free time, it sometimes feels like your literally walking on egg shells. I have had a lot of fun though , except for this one time this semester.
- It all started out with a series of assignments, some which were not gradable and for the first assignment , she decided to divide the work for everyone and put us on a timeline. Sort of I say, you do! This is actually perfectly okay with me as long as the work is done. I am not a stickler for control freaks. So first assignment done and we were actually made to sit down for a period of just over 2 hours to explain what we did and then she went and changed everything ( okay exaggeration most things) and even worse she actually insinuated that she needed to check the English. Now this was the part where I got officially offended. I come from an English speaking country , I have spoken English my entire life , in fact first word I ever said was in English . It has also been scientifically proven that multi lingual people are very intelligent ( google will give you about 3.970.000 results (0,28 seconds) ) . Lets take a breather. You can obviously understand why I felt insulted.
- Second assignment still not gradable but hey whose counting , I figured if I am going to invest that much time in doing something that will obviously not live up to her expectations whats the point . I gathered all the information required on a word document and sent it. We had agreed on power point but that required too much effort ( evil smirk)
- Third assignment which was most important , we met , work was divided to us again and we set timelines and dates. So one week to set date , things kind of spun out of control and our part, assigned to two people, we unfortunately both fell sick. So on the eve of the meeting I asked to push the meeting mainly because I hadn´t done the work , I was in no position to considering how I was feeling and all hell broke loose. I was apparently ruining someones holiday plans and offending them as was put in the email. So next day I gathered every ounce of courage and completed the work at-least the content and immediately received a very negative response about the quality of my work which then prompted me to ask what exactly the problem was , because in my view this person was the one going on holiday, we were 2 weeks ahead of the deadline , and her part was complete, ours was semi complete and because we had time we could be left behind finishing up but I was duly informed I could not be trusted to do the work satisfactorily. Ouch!!!
Ending this long tale I sat down and thought about the whole ordeal:
- Right from the start , the one sided affair where one person felt the need to control and manipulate everything and order everyone around did not sit well with me. You don´t get to tell me what to do unless your paying me but that is a digression. I did say as long as the task gets done I am not a stickler for control freaks.
- In my view , I only accepted to do the work because hey, it would be great to finish early on not for my benefit but the benefit of all. The timelines given were to suit said person who was going on holiday which were as well manipulated to fix us to already set dates. ( I wasn´t consulted on this part , none of us were and it had nothing to do with me or the others ) so I would tend to think we were doing you a favor and not the other way around. Everyone has their own dynamic of working, its not a matter of life or death.
- Mic drop moment! I later sent an email to decline attending a meeting and I did as well express in the email that I was not happy with how things had progressed thus far and those were the exact words I wrote. I was duly informed that the comment on not being trusted to do the work was targeted at me.
So I swallowed hard and I gathered my thoughts:
This is not the first time we have been charged with group work and I have learnt to appreciate that we all have different ways of working. That being said , if it was first semester I would have understood and probably excused this kind of behavior for exactly what it was but I would like to believe that up until now we all have some experience in group work and what works best.
That theory being expelled, I was forced to ask my self some very hard questions. What would lead someone to behave in this way? Have I in anyway before proven my self incapable of working satisfactorily with others , considering we haven´t worked with said person before but have worked with others in class before?
Lastly, I asked my self, if said person had been working with the natives of the country we happen to be in or better yet fellow natives from her own country or region, would they have been subjected to the same treatment and manner as we were? I choose to ignore the last comment on email as that would be too personal for comfort but……
I refer once again to my earlier described terminologies, which one is it ? Is this discrimination , prejudice or racism?
I am not sure but what I can tell you for sure is , I am not at peace with the whole issue . Its one thing when a stranger gives you a weird look or treats you differently based on whatever but to have to come to terms with the fact that someone you consider close and familiar could do the same is unfathomable for me.
Funny thing though at the end of the day none of us are home. If we were to place the same boxes we carry around placing people in , we would both be considered foreigners. Funny how we love to hate our own huh!
I don´t know !