Bulling is an obvious problem in this nation, one that’s receiving more and more serious attention in recent times. Young Jamey Rodemeyer, for example, took his life because some other cruel boys were ruthlessly mocking him for his sexual orientation.
In my work with immigrants, I often witness and hear accounts of adults treating other adults this way in the workplace.
A worker named Nancy came to me last week, telling me that she was unjustly fired; I then asked her a series of questions, to figure out whether there might have be some inconsistencies in her story, or whether the actions of the employer truly were unjustified. As she was talking with me, she mentioned that the supervisor called her “lazy,” and that he was fabricating a story to cast her in a negative light. She kept on, saying that the supervisor was being discriminatory and racist, degrading her to an intense degree.
As I listened to her, it dawned on me that her story is a microcosm of the dozens and dozens of the other incidents that have been told to me by different immigrant workers from myriad workplaces. There is no doubt that these are incidents of racist bullying; ponder the following quote, for instance:
“While adults are more likely to use verbal bullying as opposed to physical bullying, the fact of the matter is that adult bullying exists. The goal of an adult bully is to gain power over another person, and make himself or herself the dominant adult. They try to humiliate victims, and ‘show them who is boss’.”
With so much recent economic uncertainty, and the high anxieties that accompany such national struggles, it seems many of us displace our anger, especially those in power over vulnerable people. Too many times immigrant and refugee workers experience these types of abuses in the workplace. So often I get calls from workers regarding supervisors whom have called them lazy, dumb, and other despicable terms; again, these supervisors are only seeking to exert power over these workers, to push them to do more and harder work.
Besides these hostile environments in which so many immigrants and refugees work, don’t be mistaken—most of us are familiar with this sort of intimidation, having either dished it out or taken it. Let’s not give into bullying – of any group of people – rather let us be an example for the youth, and teach them to respect and value every human being.