Tommy CarcettiTommy Carcetti's Journal
I have, at least once in my life.
It was years ago, at a summer job at a swimming pool. My boss there I still consider one of the worst human beings I've ever had to deal with in my entire life (and I usually like people and believe most people are good at heart). She was constantly attempting to make herself look like the "cool", "edgy" boss in front of her employees. You know, the whole, "I'm not your boss, I'm your buddy" schtick. But she had a seriously passive aggressive mean streak, and she had her favorite employees, and her not-so-favorite employees.
For whatever reason (I still to this day don't know why), I was one of her not-so-favorites. She would constantly criticize and nit pick everything I did. She would demand I enforce the most nonsensical rules at the pool. She once told me that my relationship with my then-girlfriend (now wife) was doomed to fail. Another time she told me that I was not smart enough to get a scholarship into graduate school (which I ultimately did). She accused me of omitting information on my job application (even though I had kept a hard copy of the application and was able to show her that I did not omit anything.) She scheduled me for long shifts on days that I had specifically asked off far in advance.
This grew worse and worse over the summer, until one morning when I arrived before my shift began. Except Boss Lady decided I wasn't sufficiently early enough, and she chewed me out and threatened to fire me if I wasn't sufficiently early for my shift again. It was the last straw, and I was sick of it. I was so upset and frustrated, but I didn't want to show it to her face to make me look bad, to let her know that she had gotten to me. So I went into the bathroom behind her office, went into a stall, and let out a scream. Just to get that frustration of having been abused emotionally and verbally off my chest.
I came back out feeling a little better. Except Boss Lady then came up to me and said she had heard me yell. And that she wondered if I was on drugs, because "that's how people on drugs act." And that was it. I had enough of her shit. I put in my notice of resignation that day.
So why am I posting this and dredging up old bad memories?
I'm posting this because I'm a white male, and what happened to me summers ago with that horrible boss at that pool was the exception, not the rule. But seeing how things went down in Ferguson last week, and how they've gone down for the decades before that, that this is how life is like for many African Americans in this country. They are constantly being put down, constantly being told they are less than, constantly being told they are failures. And when the last straw breaks and they dare get just a little out of line, those who have provoked and prejudged them can then jump up and say, "See! I told you so! They are violent!" And it's just such a frustrating, vicious cycle.
I had that feeling one day in my life. I can't even imagine having to wake up and feel that way day after day after day.
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