Sunday, August 28, 2016

I'm not a racist

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

I am not a racist but I am the only white person working in a group of six other women of color. I really like my work.

However, whenever there is extra work, one of the other women always calls upon me to do it. It feels like they have made a pact with each other, behind my back, to harass me.

If I am busy with other things, and I usually am because our work is very intense, they call me lazy and uncooperative. I have always been known for being a very hard working employee.

I recently got written up on a minor infraction which I accepted to keep the peace. They said the next time I do anything like that, I am out of this job.

I have worked for the company for ten years and have a disability, which is documented by my doctor, and noted in my files.

What can I do? The “sisterhood” is always right.

I am miserable at work.

Not a “Sister”

Dear “Sister,”

We are calling you “sister” because we are all sisters and brothers, together, on this planet … no matter what color we are. We are all children of a loving God in Heaven and He wants us to love and be inclusive with each other.

We understand that you don’t feel like you belong, but you are at a place where you have a seemingly rich history and you don’t seem to want to leave. This is, understandably, difficult for you to bear, much less thrive.

Being misunderstood can mean being misjudged and you need to muster your courage and ask for a direct meeting with each person. That’s less threatening and less opportunity for them to gang up and bully you. Discuss and share your feelings regarding your work ethic, your work load, your empathy for their work load and fair work distribution.

Tell them that name-calling such as “lazy” and “uncooperative” hurts you and feels abusive.
Ask for a “start-over” in your relationships. Don’t expect or insist on an apology. If they don’t want to change the circumstances, then you may report the bullying.

Be careful of engaging in a battle if they are un-accepting of your perception. Be an example of love. Your heartache is your private situation.

Grieve (five steps: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) and accept your emotional losses. Decide not to be a victim by defining yourself.

If you follow our Triangle-of-Triumph ™ from Victim (five steps of grieving – include timed pity parties, anger letters that you flush, physical gestures such as screaming into a pillow and air-boxing to music) to Survivor (define yourself with civility, confidence, courage, creativity, and strong carriage, as in standing tall) to Leader.

We promise you will be grateful for your “sisters,” if you do that.

• Don’t threaten anyone by using your documented disability. Keeping your disability in your back pocket to pull out when needed is a manipulative tactic and keeps you a victim … which will truly disable you forever.

• Don’t label your situation as a racism problem because this is a relationship problem. The “whys” don’t matter as much as the resolve to change it.

Thank you for writing us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri

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