Sometimes life can punch you right in the face. Sometimes you would really love to get back up from being knocked down and scream “Fuck you… you punch like a bitch!” BUT sometimes life isn’t a motivational poster in Google images. So instead you opt for a 2007 Britney Spears meltdown, attacking cars with umbrellas!
I honestly wasn’t going to write about this because there is no real happy ending. There is no light at the end of the tunnel… and this story will not be sold to Hollywood because unfortunately it’s not innovative, exciting or inspiring. It is plain old same shit different day. But I guess life isn’t all “unicorns puking rainbows”… life can be a giant dickhead at times and you just have to dry your tears and suck it up. Plus this particular issue has been bugging me for weeks and my number one motive behind throwing up words onto paper is because I need an outlet for the 24-hour party in my head. So here we are.
I have an older brother just by a couple of years but ever since we were kids I have always felt it was my job to look after him, never the other way around. This notion is highly ridiculous seeing as he is built like a brick shit-house and could render me unconscious just by giving me a friendly high five. But growing up he was always very quiet, and so me and my insatiable desire to be sassy and loud, would always have his back whether he wanted it or not. It’s a role I cannot remove myself from (despite the fact he is more than capable of handling himself), and it was only when we hit our teens that the roles reversed somewhat and he became my protector. In spite of the size of him, he has never been in a real life-street fighter-style physical fight. He keeps his business to himself and is more interested in geeking out over Marvel Comics superheroes to create unnecessary drama. In fact me even writing about this will probably piss him off… but frankly my dear... I don’t give a damn!
All aboard the furious ranting fun bus!
Recently my brother was on a training course for a new job he was super over excited about. Sweet. By the second week of this course he was accused of 'bullying.' That word alone holds so many ugly connotations, so if you accuse somebody of it… then you sure as hell better be prepared for the shit-storm that will inevitably follow. The complaint was placed against him because one female colleague found my brother aggressive. The words “the way he moves his shoulders is intimidating” were said. Between myself and my brother over the years, we've racked up so many buzz words and phrases thrown at us like "intimidating" or "aggressive" or one of my faves "she appears to have a chip on her shoulder" that all meaning is now null and void. But I digress... Without asking my brother’s side of the story and without having an opportunity to defend himself against these claims, he arrived in the morning only to be immediately escorted off the premises. That was the last day he returned to work.
What later transpired through interviews and evidence given by fellow work colleagues, was that the woman who made the complaint was a complete an utter gob shite who herself had been giving my brother a hard time a week previous to this bullying claim. So surely after everyone including a supervisor had come forward and admitted that the lady was a nightmare and my brother was actually a nice person quote, “he’s like a big teddy bear” you would think case closed. He would be re-instated and the woman would be reprimanded right? Wrong. Although his managers found the claims towards him false without substantial evidence, they refused to allow him to return immediately. The woman who started the chaos would remain on the training course and instead he was told to wait 6 weeks with no pay and he would have to start his training all over again. His presence would’ve apparently been too ‘awkward and disruptive’ for everyone else. My brother had done NOTHING wrong. He was officially proven to have done NOTHING wrong. But he was still being punished.
One solicitor later and the realisation of that one abhorrent issue that everyone knew deep down but were too scared to say out loud (because then it makes it ‘a thing’ and nobody likes fuss)… and my brother had his answer as to why he was being treated so appallingly. You see… my brother was the only black person on the course. His skin colour coupled with his large physique and the fact that a poor helpless white woman was making the claims, meant that my brother was in a lose-lose situation right from the start. The thing is no matter how subtle… or however you dress it up with a generic recycled phrases like “I’m not racist because I own a pair of black shoes!”… Institutional racism especially in Britain is still ‘a thing’.
If my brother’s story was a movie and perhaps Will Smith was playing him, then obviously he would’ve taken his employers to court amidst the demoralising ridicule of “you will never win this case!” from his peers. But after hiring a hot-headed inexperienced lawyer AND on the brink of losing his family and his fine reputation… He executes a heart warming speech right at the end about discrimination - how he’s just a boy… standing in front of a court… asking his employers not to be complete assholes. Cue an inspirational power ballad and a fist pump in the air later… and he wins! Rapturous applause all round! END SCENE.
But unfortunately this is real life and real life dictates that good doesn’t always conquer evil. And unless you have an endless supply of cash with an unwavering sense of Zen to ‘stick it to the man’ … then you have to question is it really worth it. For my brother the cons outweighed the pros in a situation where he felt powerless. Will his previous employers continue to discriminate against someone because their skin colour pre-determines one's character before you actually get to know them… yes probably. Racial discrimination is completely acceptable in 2015 as long as it’s not overtly obvious. We all can be assholes just as long as we're polite about it.
You see life isn’t a movie. Sometimes nice guys finish last. Sometimes life can punch you right in the face… and you just have to take it.