Can You Hear Me?

While writing a post for Veterans Day, my mind went back to those days when I thought I had the world by the tail.  Like Wonder Woman, I would use my force of will to bend others to face the reality that even though I was female, I was a capable, thinking adult primed and ready to succeed in my chosen place, New York City, assuming that people there would be more open to hiring me.

It was 1971 and I had just completed three years as a Marine Corps officer although I hid that fact from all but prospective employers.  As a backlash to the bitterness of Vietnam, there was such hatred of all things military that you didn’t dare reveal your background to just anyone.  I wasn’t ashamed of being in the military, but rather very discreet about whom I told.

Hey, I had survived being discriminated against in a “good Christian” college.  Because I was from the south, I was obviously prejudiced against blacks and was obviously a person to be loathed.  Ironically, it was the “good Christians” from the north who taught me my first lessons in discrimination against myself and blacks.

Oddly enough, I had rarely seen or heard of discrimination at home.  My parents and church taught me that the right way to live was to shine the light of Christ for all people to see, giving them the same love and appreciation that Jesus would have, to everyone, no matter what or who.

Now in 1971, I was establishing my own path and home still carrying those beliefs despite all the nastiness the world could dish.  While job hunting in the Big Apple, one interview was unforgettable. Putting my best foot forward, I sat before the prospective employer who looked at me and said, “Little lady, let’s just get a couple of things straight.  First of all, I can’t hire you because our headquarters is in Atlanta and our people won’t work with a female.  Secondly, if I did hire you, I wouldn’t pay you the same as I pay my men”.

Needless to say, I left rather hurriedly without a job, but I did walk the thirty or so long city blocks, tears streaming, returning to the head hunter’s office to ask them why they would send me there for an interview.  They were mortified, but the damage was done.  The pain of that day focused like a laser all the other days when the world turned its ugly on me and from which I had, supposedly, successfully walked away.

If we are such a good Christian nation, why are we preaching in our actions and words the message of intolerance and hate?  If Christ had love for one and all without discrimination, why don’t we?  It’s even sadder that this message is being passed to our children and they are learning it very well.

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2 Responses to Can You Hear Me?

  1. Doris says:

    Been there, heard that. When I told a prospective employer that I was from out of state and moving to his area, his first question was, “Are you married?” When I answered, “No,” his next question was, “Are you getting married?” When I answered, “No,” a second time, he asked, “Then why are you moving?” I was flabbergasted! Needless to say, that was not a place I wanted to work.
    Even before I was in the job market, the father of a friend of mine told me in casual conversation about his business, “I need to hire a woman bookkeeper because I would have to pay a man twice as much!” The sad thing is, he was right.

  2. Cliff says:

    It is saddening to read these stories even after haivng heard them many times before.

    Unfortunately, those “Christians” chose to look to at culture, regions, and other states to judge someone instead of trying to look at their heart. Ironically, they were doing the same thing to you that they were accusing you of doing based on where you came from. This is definitely something Christ calls us to absolutely not do. It is sad that they either chose to ignore this part of their savior’s commands or called themselves Christians when clearly Christ was not lord over their lives, having given over their hearts to him.

    There seem to be a lot of “American Christians” (those people who are Christians because they live in America) and “heritage Christians” (those people who call themselves Christians because their parents were). There are even very knowledgeable people who know a lot about Christ, but never allowed Jesus to circumcise their hearts, putting themselves under him.

    I am sad thinking that these people hurt you at the heart level because of their own prejudices and stereotypes against something and someone of which they had very little knowledge. For if they had actually taken the time to get to know you, they would have discovered a woman overflowing with beauty, intelligence, and kindness. That is their loss.

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