Reverse Discrimination and Racism

Black Lives Matter. You better believe it ! but so do WHITES. In this personally experienced case it has been black against white.

{Careful, how to interpret the distinction between RACISM and DISCRIMINATION. I suffered discrimination, which could have been based on racism. [ ].}

For my entire professional and student life I have associated myself with international friends. Having worked many years as a professional in international organizations in Europe, I have had personal friends who were Africans. Both in Europe, and later after leaving it and arriving in North America, also in the United States, at Syracuse University, New York.

These experiences over time were “soured” by constant discrimination on the job or outside of it after I had arrived in Canada in 1976 and during my long time work in Alberta’s oil industry. Developing, building and installing large computer systems, hardware and software, as project leader for large company-wide projects, and also as a programmer for many years.

The oil industry is hard place to get a foothold as a woman. Because of the extreme nature of oil industry’s rising and collapsing, and openly permitted company takeovers during downturns, there was as a result in the 1980s a severe downturn in this industry, caused mostly by Canadian government programs and regulations. (The NEP (National Energy Program) of Canada). [

It was during that time, start of 1980s, that I worked for a large oil corporation in Alberta. This company was taken over by TCPL (does not exist now under this name, but close to it – Trans Canada). This company apparently had as its mandate to get rid of existing employees, removing first most management positions – offering them posts elsewhere – and then down the line.

Although I was in a senior position in the computer and systems department (thereby needed to continue big projects), as a woman no chance to keep your job.

The enforcer sent down from headquarters Toronto, was charged with implementing the layoff program in the Systems department. This person was of African origin whose hatred against females seemed obvious. The first ones to be removed were all heads of departments – incidentally all women.

Myself as a female IT project leader was forced to do company-wide projects whose purpose was to identify all those in all corporate departments who should be fired. I was requested to do this study alone without any assistance. Naturally all my former friends in the company hated my guts. At the end, it was my turn. The pressure from within was indescribable.

In the course of a short period, a 200 page report was put together behind my back. I assume containing all sorts of slander about me. While at the same time our big company-wide systems project had to continue.

At the end, I was asked to see this man in his office, and presented with with this big report. Which I disregarded. At the same time I was asked to sign for a one-page legal document, which I did not sign. I do not sign unprofessional slander. I was then told that I should pack up. Offering me a minor compensation of 3-months salary.

Just laying off employees is permitted under certain conditions. In this case, the simplest most basic conditions of human rights had been contravened. My big mistake ? I missed the very moment when it was absolutely necessary to retain a lawyer, to act on my behalf.

However, before leaving the company I had received good letters of recommendation in writing from senior management with whom I had worked throughout my systems projects, including the CEO of this corporation. A testimony of all that I had worked for most of my life.

Yet, my professional life was compromised, I lost my home, my family (my son went to the United States to start his university program). And I had to travel around Canada making a living with computer contract work (Ottawa, Alberta oil sands, and anywhere in Alberta). Setting up my own consulting company and other business ventures, to keep afloat.



What is Cool, what is not

It is unfortunate that today’s young people believe that high speed car chases are cool, that smoking or drugs are cool, that war scenes in which civilians are being killed is cool, that using weapons on (imaginary) opponents is cool.
Tell you what is Cool. From my wartime experiences as a 4-year old I can tell you that it is cool to having survived, that it is cool to be standing on the ground and looking up, when the bombers arrived over our homeland and towns and started dropping their loads on us. That it is cool to write about it. That it is not cool to fly over enemy territory with a fighter plane, open a hatch and unload tons of bombs onto unarmed civilians. That it is not cool to receive medals and standing ovations many years later as a war veteran for having done so.
A little story. In the 1980s while living for many years in the Foothills of Alberta Rockies, alone on my land with my horses, I also had a Quarter Section of bare land somewhere West of Cochrane, near Ghost Lake region. It was heavily treed. I rented it out to a group of City people for playing Paint Ball. [ ] . This land was heavily treed. Usually when playing Paint Ball you stick together in a group. I had several (“cool strong guys”) to later arrive out of the trees, crying, because they got lost. When it comes to being cool, how cool is that !
Womens’ rights movement – nothing is more cool than the early fights for womens’ rights. Not so cool is, if women fight other women, or treat their elders with disrespect, as happens in many western cultures.
Cool is if women get the same rights on the job as men, same payment, same conditions, same respect, same treatment. Not cool is to discriminate against women when a company or entire industry falters (like for example the oil industry in Alberta), and women including single mothers are laid off first. As happened specifically at Trans Canada Pipelines Company in Calgary, AB. It seemed that in the 1980s no explanations were needed for these discriminatory practices in that industry.
Cool is to help yourself and others, not so cool is to wait for handouts from a government.

Women’s Rights

weCanDoItweCanDoItNot always only with our strength, but with ‘mind over body’. This particular very popular image depicts what happened during the aftermath of World War II with many countries destroyed and needing rebuilding, and when in those countries which needed the most rebuilding like for example Germany and Russia, and many more, only women were at hand to do all the hard work.

And what do we see now ? I take as an example Canada, one of the largest and typical immigrants’ continents of North America. A country that since 1812 did never have another war nor had any occupation by enemy nations, nor was forcing women into hard labor to rebuild the country. Wars as per Canadian statistics meaning battles, land battles, disputes, terrorist activity, gang “wars”. Where and when was ever an extended occupation of that country by enemy forces ? Yet Canada lacks when it comes to women’s rights.
With hard labor comes the responsibility of also standing in for one’s country and become completely liberated very quickly. Something that many men did not take to easily when it came to women’s rights. Look at the voting rights for women ( [ ] and women’s rights in particular [ ].
A nice action just came onto my desk: “Women on Banknotes”. By a British Columbia Activist and author Merna Foster (writer, historian, educator, public speaker) [ ]. How many women have it ever made onto a Canadian banknote. Except Royalty.
My long time experiences having lived in Western Canada, Alberta, and having had the privilege to encounter many hard working women, have made me realize how important the women’s rights movement was and still is. Not to forget, my first hand experiences as a longtime employee in Alberta’s oil industry and the discrimination within that industry against female professionals and workers. This must stop !
{See also some of my previous posts: ; ; }