Friday, February 19, 2010

It's Usually a Long, Hard Fight!

One of the biggest mistakes anyone fighting workplace racism can make is to ASSUME they are dealing with reasonable individuals. Even if all evidence seems to point to the fact that most of your coworkers and managers are honest, fair, objective, etc., you just never know which way people are going to go when stuff jumps off at the job.

This is not to sell people short. You might be blessed with staff and/or managers who will rise to the occassion and speak truth to power about what has been going on at work. Even so, that doesn't mean that they will be successful in changing the dynamics going on at work.

In the end, everyone that is touched by a race-based scandal at work has to decide if they are going to stand on the side of justice, if they will straddle the fence or if they will seek to go into workplace protectionist mode and be the ever loyal employee or manager.

You can't be responsible for how people will respond to you and your fight against workplace abuses. Some may avoid you and look the other way for fear of being dragged into a mess, some may isolate you in order to create a hostile environment and with the hopes that isolation will cause you to resign, some may participate in actions against you in order to set you up for termination, some may sign false statements out of fear of losing their jobs, some may act against you in hopes of getting a bonus or promotion, etc.

And, yes, some may tell the truth.

It's not up to you. They will do what they will.

All I know for sure that is that if you are battling racism anywhere in this world, you need to prepare yourself for an emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical grind. You must prepare to be the target of psychological warfare. You must prepare to have your good name possibly run through all sorts of mud. You must prepare to be left to fend for yourself and to be abandoned by workplace "friends." You must prepare to fight for information and to encounter delays and excuses. You must prepare for possible set backs and defeats, up to and including termination. And, you must prepare to hear claims that you failed to prove your case to an internal and/or external investigator or in a court of law.

Yes, hope for the best.

But, prepare yourself for the worst outcome.

Doing otherwise could literally break you. Don't make any assumptions. Don't be overly optimistic about promises to investigate your claims fairly and impartially. You never know which way the wind will blow.

All you can do is prepare for the grind. In the end, if you have nothing else, you want to have your sanity and your health!


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