Monday, July 13, 2009

She began to consider the possibility that maybe the reason the ceo and the board wanted her gone was two-fold. They had all of the tapes, had made her look racist... but they left some things out. Like the time she was telling her group about a written test she took.

"If there is question about what started the Civil War, and two of the choices are states' rights and slavery, then choose states' rights. I know this doesn't make sense because the states that seceded were claiming states' rights to secede - because they wanted slavery. But just choose states' right on the test, and know your history."

Or the time she and 'the girls' were having a discussion about the book they were reading, Esperanza Rising (she bought copies so they could all read it together), and she brought up the movie, La Bamba, and she pointed out that Ritchie Valenzuela had to change his name back then, to 'Ritchie Valens,' if he wanted to go farther in show business. A lot of people did.

And then there was the time she turned off the tv in the breakroom. This was a young group, so she was telling them about how some movie makers used to cast minorities as negative characters. That is why they were not going to watch this movie. One of the guys wanted to be obnoxious and kept suggesting they turn the tv back on. She finally had to threaten him with a day off if he didn't let it go.

The discussions they had about people who overcame or tried to overcome racism, like Ellen Craft, Robert Smalls, Fredrick Douglass; and sexism, like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Hillary Clinton. Where were those videos?

Surely, her ideas weren't the part of the reason she was being set up? Every year, her groups learned so much, and she had received more attention for her training abilities. Did they not like what they were seeing and hearing now that they were paying more attention?

She began remembering things that some of her former trainees told her after they moved up some levels. How their new trainers discussed right in front of them their negative opinions about certain people who had moved into the neighborhood. One woman had a friend at one of the sister companies whose trainer repeatedly locked him out of the office, even closed the door on his arm once, like he was trying to make this dude late for work.

They wanted her gone. Did not even offer assistance like they had with other trainers accused of poor management. And they made her appear racist. Hmph.

This place was not a large city, but it had grown into more than a large town. She knew first hand how people could be. Not knowing anything about her, some people would say things about blacks or Hispanics, just because she didn't 'look like' them - almost always when they found out, their first words were "You don't look... " And she lost the surname when she married. She would let them embarrass themselves and then reveal something about herself, just to watch them blush. She thought of when she had first arrived, began working ten years earlier. People had gotten along much better back then. Were making a lot more progress. Now things were going backwards... Maybe.

Not everyone's way of thinking had not come far enough, and she was not afraid to say it. She was not afraid to say it. She was afraid, though, that the higher ups were afraid for her to say it. And she wouldn't play their sex games. Some things, unfortunately, were beginning to make more sense.

Ha, she laughed to herself, Maybe it was because I wore my 'Obama' shirt on the day of his inauguration and told the trainees it was a good sign for America that we could have a black president now. She thought of how another trainer, in the breakroom, had put down Obama because of what he said on the Tonight Show. Even before she knew they were blackmailing her, she said that sometimes people say things they think are funny but others don't. Wonder if they have that on tape.

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