In this day and time many people still can’t fathom the fact that RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL. It’s in our communities, in our educational institutions, in the media and even in our workplace. Recently my 19-year-old daughter experienced her first real encounter with blatant racism.
She had been recently hired, along with another young African American woman, as a part time sales associate for the DSW shoe store located in Pembroke Pines, FL at the Shoppes of Pembroke Gardens. Needless to say, my daughter was very excited about earning her own money as the beginning stages of gaining her independence. On June 2nd my daughter reported to work for what would turn out to be her second as well as her last day on the job. At DSW all associates and managers are required to wear a headset and mic while working in the store to help expedite customer requests. During my daughter’s shift, while wearing the headset, she and other associates as well as managers overheard a conversation with very racial overtones. Two Caucasian sales associates were discussing one of the newly hired African American sales associate. One of the women working for DSW made the statement “Hey do you see the new black girl? She’s sweating like she just finished picking cotton from off the plantation”. Both African American associates, along with the manager on duty heard the comments made by the white associates. My daughter expressed her discomfort and immediate alienation to the manager on duty. DSW being represented by its manager on duty ultimately decided that the racist environment which had been created was not an issue and told my daughter that if she was uncomfortable she would have until June 4, 2016 to decide if she would remain in this hostile environment as an associate or quit. The manager did apologize for the comments, but decided that it was not serious enough to discipline any of the parties involved nor does corporate feel that the situation is of any importance. I am 41 years old and I personally haven’t experienced that degree of racism in my life. This is definitely not how that situation should have been handled and in my opinion. The manager along with the employee that made the comment should be fired or have some type of disciplinary action taken to let them know that this type of behavior is unacceptable. In writing this I hope that this opens the eyes of anyone that may turn a blind eye to racism because it does exist.