An Unsung Minority
by M.L Bushman
Rated "G" by the Author.
edited: Friday, November 09, 2007
Posted: Friday, November 09, 2007
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For a society adept at creating minorities, we overlooked this one...
Our society is adept at creating minorities, especially when championing a cause increases the revenues of those leading the charge and crying foul. But there is one minority that no one--not the media, not Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, not a single member of Congress--champions because there's not enough corporate sponsorship or even headlines to make it worth their while. Such is the fate of the single parent.
Want to talk discrimination? Try being a single parent. The color of the skin has nothing to do with it--all single parents who are not rich or don't have family to prey upon are equally disadvantaged.
The Internet has become a wonderful tool for discrimination against unsung minorities such as single parents. Fill out your application online, answer each question honestly, and wait for a call back that never comes. Why? Because companies like Wal-Mart can now weed out what they consider to be less than desirable applicants, and they can do this out of the sight of any and all who might be interested in nailing them for discrimination. A simple computer program and gone are single parents who might miss a day because of a sick child; rejected are those workers who can't give their soul to the company any hour of the day or night because they've given their heart and soul to their children instead.
Think I'm kidding? I submitted an application to Wal-Mart over a year ago that honestly stated my availability--no nights, one day on a weekend. Never heard a word from them even though they were, according to accounts in the local newspaper, "desperate for help." Recently I re-applied, but this time I lied on my application. I said I was available any hour of the day or night and weekends. Oh, then I was snapped up in a New York minute because I have the qualifications to work the job. I then went through three pre-employment interviews where I told the interviewer I have a child and couldn't work evenings or every single day of the weekend because I had no daycare and no family in the area to take up the slack, not to mention the fact that I'd like to see my child, share a day with her when she wasn't in school. Each interviewer said tell the next one because they apparently didn't want to address the issue. I went home to wait for the call to an orientation class and when that call came, the woman on the other end finally listened to me when I said I have a child, I need to be home at night, and at least one day on the weekend. Then the store's assistant manager came on the line and basically told me that when I got my life straightened out to call and let them know, and they'd hire me.
What did he mean by straightening out my life? I'm supposed to what? Get rid of my child? Ship my precious eight-year-old out to any stranger willing to sit with her while I try to make our ends meet? Or should I leave her home alone while I work over twenty miles away? In my area, licensed daycare is only available Monday through Friday, no nights, no weekends. And a state license doesn't guarantee my child won't be abused or even molested--it only gives me recourse to sue later, if I can afford a lawyer. But then it will be too late for my child. And I'm not taking that kind of a chance with her life.
Is it any wonder abused women and men fear to take their children and leave the relationship?
Better than ten percent of households in this country now fall into this unsung minority of which I and my child are members. Who will champion our cause?