A Split-Second Nightmare of Diversity Training (Corporate America, Round 2)
If only we’d known how it would change us, maybe we could have done something to stop it.
“All right everyone, let’s organize ourselves real quick before we get going here,” she said in that unmistakably Branson accent.
“Do you remember playing Shirts against Skins in basketball when you were younger? No? Well, these strapping, young chocolate bucks can fill in–and I do mean fill in–the ladies on what that’s all about later, but what I’d like to do now is split the class up for a little experiment. We’ll have all the perfect white blondes sit on this side…ahem, Miss: I can see your roots from here. You’re about as Dominican as they come. Get over on the right side of the class.”
It was tense from the start. On the left side of the conference room were 4 blondes, 3 men and a little lady, sitting at a table with at least 4 chairs between each of them. On my side, the luckiest of us sat, but all 38 huddled together and started sweating immediately. It was a warm day already, and the fans were all pointed towards the blondes, so the air got thick in a big hurry.
“Oh my Christ, it smells like a suicide bombing in Jerusalem over here,” she snapped at us. “Don’t any of you vermin know how to use a bar of soap? I’m going to see what I can do about getting that put into the employee manual.”
She continued, “my name is Kim but you can call me Ms. Ironside–no no, not you precious works of art, the criminals on the other side of the room–and today we’re going to go through some company-required diversity training. As we all know, diversity in the workplace is a growing problem in today’s digital, worldwide economy. It makes me fucking sick that these vile browns and mochas and half-breed mongrel races can even get jobs in an office, but hey, that’s 2013 for you!” Even the blondes were uneasy by this point.
“If you’ll open your booklets…”
“Excuse me, ma’am, we weren’t given any booklets. What should we…”
“…you will speak when spoken to, you immigrant sack of garbage! Matter of fact, don’t speak again! You sound like you learned English from one of our customer service assholes in India! ‘My name is Alexander,’ my ass! It’s probably Jafar or Hashish or something, fucking job thieving criminals….” The poor girl, looking as common as anyone I’ve ever known, ran from the room in tears, which was definitely a light punishment.
“Well, since you probably can’t read anyway and snuck into this job based on some affirmative action bullshit, I’ll just tell you what you need to know, you’ll sign some papers and you’ll get the fuck out of my face, except for the black brothers,” with an extra mocking emphasis on “brothers.”
“I want you Jigga Men to stick around after class so I can inspect those pants of yours, see if you’re following the dress code. OK, so who can tell me the factors on which an employer is legally forbidden to discriminate?”
We wanted to answer, we wanted to do anything that would redirect or diffuse the tension and verbal abuse that was going on as we kept on sweating in our huddled mass. An elderly lady in the center of our grouping fainted and Kim didn’t miss a beat, pushing us aside with a bat studded with nails so that she could kick the old woman back into consciousness.”
“Ms. Ironside, what are you doing? She needs medical attention!”
“If you don’t stop those enormous lips of yours from flapping, you’re gonna be the next one getting kicked, you walking welfare case. You probably voted for Obama, didn’t you? You know what, I don’t even fucking care. Your opinion on anything matters about as much as a Syrian’s reason for seeking asylum.” I don’t know how she strung such hate together while still kicking the old woman and turning the nail-bat into a nail-bat torch. It would’ve almost been impressive if she wasn’t such a deplorable person.
Others fell by the wayside as Kim went over the Employee Handbook in a robotic manner, and she kicked them like an under-filled tire. Some of us had been burned, and even now I don’t know if that was intentional. Most of me feels like it couldn’t have been anything but intentional, but there just wasn’t a way to be sure, as she banned us from using any social media apps during the meeting. Well…she banned us. The blondes were freely talking about Candy Crush, and Kim didn’t care in the slightest.
After the 1st hour, she started using the knife, especially on me. I was silent, trying my best to be obedient to the letter, but she said there was something she didn’t like about my “mulatto face.” This, while I’m completely French. She alternated on our side of the conference room: she punched some, swatted at others with the bat, and sliced others still. All the while she did this, she told us that we needed to talk to our managers about situations just like this.
“You, fat fuck,” she barked at me. “You ever get your dick sucked by a true pro? You stick around with the spooks after the class; I want to show you something.” I agreed, but only because I felt that doing so gave me a better chance of actually living through the ordeal this Diversity Training meeting had become.
“So, go ahead and sign your name on these papers here that say you understand and will comply with what we talked about today. I’m hoping you can print your name, but if your urban public school systems failed you or you skipped class to go to the corner store and get some purple drank or pot from the filthy Mexican who stands outside, you can just draw a squiggly line and we’ll accept it.”
Feeling a little rebellious at this point, I took the few extra seconds and great care to hand her the best signature she’d ever seen, in perfect cursive with the flourishes of a true craft master. When she came over to where I was leaning against the dry-erase board and picked up my paperwork, she looked at my signature and grumbled, “oh, real cute, you fucking blight on the Master Race.” Then she punched me in the stomach, grabbed a crowbar from her messenger bag and used it to pummel me to the ground. From there, she ripped the crotch out of her underwear, squatted over me and shit in my mouth.
“Say thank you, cunt!” were the last words I heard. The next thing I knew, I was back at my desk, with everyone staring at me like I was the suspect in an Amber Alert. I stumbled to the bathroom to see what had happened, and have been mortified ever since. I don’t even look like myself any more, and I have fresh wounds all over my face, neck and torso, most prominent among them being the word “Baby Dick Queer” carved into my chest with the residue of a rusty knife left behind. I spent the rest of my shift crying in the handicapped stall, which at least gave me a somewhat private place to exorcise my pain. Many of my co-workers weren’t even close to being that lucky.
As for the blondes, I don’t know what happened to them, except the little lady. As I was leaving the complex, I saw her throwing handfuls of hundred-dollar bills into the air, gleefully chanting “white is right! White is right!” over and over again. Kim was nowhere to be found, but she did send me a text on my way home which read “just slip up once, half-breed. I’m watching you.” In the seminar, she told us to report things like that to Human Resources, but she is Human Resources. I find myself completely confused about my next move.
I just don’t know what else to say about today’s Diversity Training meeting. I certainly feel more diverse than I’ve ever felt in my life, but I don’t know how much of a good thing that is. Not only that, but it’ll take months for my wounds and fractures to heal, and I won’t have health insurance for months. This, I surmise, is the proverbial rock and a hard place, and I’ve never been more stuck.
I’ve never been more hurt in my life, physically or emotionally, and I got off relatively light compared to the elderly lady who died on the floor, or the paralyzed Dominican who told me that she’s actually a Spaniard. I don’t know if there’s more of this kind of training yet to come, and I hope not, but it’s impossible to know when the company is going to turn in a new direction and adopt an entirely new corporate ethos and mission statement. I guess that, as hard as it may sometimes seem, nothing in this life that’s worth having comes without a heavy toll. I’m just going to have to roll with the punches. And the gunshots.
Posted on 07/25/2013, in Fun Stuff!, Perennial Trouble in Paradise, Tales of The Corporate Underbelly and tagged abuse, conference room, corporate America, corporate training, employee handbook, health insurance, high school, human resources, recovering economy, rusty knife, shirts vs. skins, torch. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.