Have things changed?

People say that things have changed. There was a time when there were jobs that you couldn’t get…but people would straight up tell us. That, to me, was easier. It wasn’t any better in terms of its social implications, but at least you knew what you were dealing with. Now it’s harder. People are more insidious, they do the kinds of things you can’t prove. If you say anything, then you become the crazy one.

 

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My first shift

My first day in a work term as a 4th-year nursing student. I’m in a meeting with several staff, and there were about 3 new people in the room. Everyone’s being introduced, but my supervisor hadn’t introduced me to everyone.

I’m sitting right there when a younger nurse says to my supervisor “who’s your student? where’s your student at?” My supervisor points to me and says “she’s right here.” The younger nurse says, right in front of me, “oh, I thought she was a CTA [care team assistant].”
I’m an RN. I did 4 years of nursing school. Being a CTA is nothing bad, but I did that years ago. I was sitting in a meeting for new nurses. Usually CTAs don’t sit at the nursing station with a binder in front of them taking report on patients!
She snickered about it. I remember thinking. “This is my first shift!”

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Racism at my job at Via Rail Canada

I worked for Via from 1981 to 2009. I was dismissed from my duties with no real reason. I had a union – no support. Human Rights Commission – all no support. Being Black is hard; being a Black man in Canada is not easy. I never once was in trouble at my job. I just had an injury in 1996…went to the Workers’ Compensation Board for a work injury. That’s when all Hell broke loose. I went to hearing after hearing. Other Blacks went through the same thing with them.

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