About 5 years ago I had just started Grade 10 and I was full of young, bubbling enthusiasm.
I had decided I wanted to be a journalist. I had no doubts, but for a little confirmation, I decided to go to a college and take a career assessment.
You know how some people just shouldn’t be doing the job they’re in? This was the case with my career assessor!
I was all fired up and excited to find out if my potential future matched up the way I hoped it would. I took the test and the results were exactly right. Media was a sensible choice with my results. I sat in the chair across from my assessor and proudly told her that I wanted to be a journalist. I was practically glowing.
She, a white middle aged woman, chuckled a little. She lit a cigarette, looked me in the face and said ‘You’re white and a female, you don’t stand a chance so don’t even bother.’
I was deflated. I felt the joy seep out of me. My 15-year-old mind was wrecked. Surely this ‘experienced’ woman knew what she was talking about! What now? What would I do with myself? I listened as she explained that certain jobs are only for certain races and genders.
My mother was fuming. She promptly told the woman off and we left. My mother also injected a bit of hope back into me and made me realise that this woman was, in fact, an idiot. I went on to pursue my dream and am now employed as a journalist.
The question strikes me though – where are all these unemployed whities
that we are told are going to be loafing around after matric? Every year the threat of ‘there will not be enough jobs for white matriculants’ goes around. But many of us manage to find a niche and begin our careers. Luck must play a part, but does that mean we should instill teens with a sense of hopelessness and disillusionment at the age of 15?
One thing is for sure, this 20-year-old white female living in this ‘new generation’, is sick and tired of people and their race issues.
At the end of the day, surely, if you’re going to get a job, it should be based on hard work and skill. Not the colour of skin that you happened to be born with.What should we tell teens of all colours about their future opportunities? Is our ‘realism’ more important than their hopes and dreams?