Thursday, June 21, 2007

Funny or Sad ?

I was sitting in the reception of an optician earlier today and while I was waiting for my appointment I picked up an old copy of a Maclean's I started flipping through the pages and this article caught my attention. Anyway to cut to the chase the article describe the plight of a Canadian of Moroccan origin ( Kamal El Batal ) who applied for a position at Quebec's Agriculture Co-operative more than 19 times and was refused even an interview every time he applied. So he changed his name and removed the fact that he was fluent in Arabic from his C.V., applied again and guess what? he was interviewed and the recruiter actually complimented him for his credentials ???????????????????

The thing is I think I'm supposed to be surprised or disappointed when I read this, right? instead I wasn't surprised nor saddened I was actually laughing my head off at how smart he was for outwitting them and getting compensated ( 15,000 Canadian Dollars ) ................. I mean have I become numb to discrimination to such an extent that I don't care anymore or is it that I don't expect anything less ? has discrimination become the norm for Muslims of Middle Eastern/Asian descent now ? Or is it just me...............................?


white african said...

thanks for sharing that ph, sometimes i think we actually expect it that our reaction is not what is expected.

some one once asked 'have you ever heard something sooooo racist that your reaction was not anger but to laugh instead'

i guess the same with discremenation unfortuantly, its part and parcel of many peoples lives.

a_akak said...

well, No matter how many law's any country puts down (be it UK, USA or Canada) the discrimination is rooted deep within people that it comes as second nature as by saying he was compensated means the official laws do not permit it, however, the HR are humans with emotions and there own subconscious which can sway them one way or another, for this case i think it goes to show people by nature do discriminate and the bases to which they discriminate depends on the individual and i am sure 99% of people do discriminate (one way or another) or you can call it "favor one over another" and BTW the 1% that dont discriminate are those in mental institutions :P

Fe Aman Allah

Anglo-Libyan said...

this does happen unofficially here in the UK too, I know some people that even changed their names to English sounding names to help them find jobs.

Happymoi said...

Very smart indeed!!!

I'm not surprised that such a thing occurs!!

But the guy was really smart in dealing with it:):):):)

ibeebarbie said...

Salam PH,

LOL@Ahmed's 1% percent observation---you just might be right my friend.

I commend the guy's willingness to think outside the box in order to get what he wanted. Although, I would be a little curious as to why he would even want a position with the company who had clearly discriminated against his application merely based on his ethnicity.

Certainly understand institutions be it private or government have their rules and regulations, which they implement for the sake of attempting to safeguard their rights, but generalizations are neither affective nor safeguarding.

My daughter of 2 and I were taking a flight to Arizona. When we checked in at the curbside service station we were escorted inside but were uncertain as to why we were being escorted. The person escorting us would not reveal any information until he took us to the inside counter area, where I was asked, “who is Amira?” To which I pointed to my daughter, and they all began laughing. The man that had escorted us into the building was laughing hardest, and said to the person behind the counter, “I think the only thing she, pointing to Amira, is guilty of terrorizing is her mom.” They apologized and said her name came up on the Government’s terrorist watch list. What????? She’s 2 freakin’ years old. The bend their heads and said, “I know. We apologize---just following procedures.”

Lebeeya said...

Subhanallah we live in a world where a name can make all the difference.

I don't think you have become numb, Its just that we got so used to all the discremenation that is happening and all the simliar stories to Kamal's. When something keeps happening, it becomes normal :)

I don't blame you for laughing at how smart Kamal was, he was smart and made sure that something good came his way out of the discrimination.

We know a Libyan family that lives in California, they have a son who is a pilot, his name is Osama. He had to change his name to 'Sam' after 9/11 to be able to still work as a pilot. The airlines still wanted him to work with them but insisted on the name change to avoid complications. I found that extremly funny.

Did you buy new glasses? :)

PH said...

@white african :

"thanks for sharing that ph"

Your welcome sis :).

"i guess the same with discremenation unfortuantly"

yes it seems it is.

@ a_akak :

loool @ the 1% that dont discriminate are those in mental institutions :P.

@ anglo-libyan :

I've heard of Lebanese Muslims who wear a cross when they go out to conduct business, so they don't face any problems...... never seen it myself though.

@ happymoi :

"I'm not surprised that such a thing occurs!!"

I wasn't surprised either I guess thats why I only focused on his reaction and responded with laughter instead of dismay......

@ ibeebarbie :

"Although, I would be a little curious as to why he would even want a position with the company who had clearly discriminated against his application merely based on his ethnicity."

I don't think it was a question of ethnicity otherwise it would have been racism I think its more a question of religious discrimination.

As for why he wanted to work with the co-operation, maybe its because this kind of treatment is the norm and very common and there are no better options ? or maybe he knew he was being discriminated against and wanted to document it ( build a case ) to get compensation ? only god knows.

PH said...

continuing :)

@ ibeebarbie :

With regards to Amira ( may god protect her ) I think you should do something about it now while she is still young and it is obvious that she isn't a terrorist :p.....later on it could become more complicated for her and it could be a major obstacle for her in traveling or even obtaining a social security number ?

@ Lebeeya :

"Did you buy new glasses? :)"

Thanks for asking :D, yes I did actually, still haven't collect them though, the lenses are still being prepared......they're my first... so we'll see how they work out :) .


ibeebarbie said...

Salam PH,

Well with respect to Amira she was given a social security number the minute she was born, and she's since had a U.S. passport issued.

Perhaps like this guy, it's a matter of principal for me. Amira is who she is and was given her beautiful name by Allah. I know my father has suggested changing her name, and I quickly reminded him that over history there seems to have always been some “group” be it Vietnamese, Japanese, Arabs, Cubans, Latinos, etc., as the list can go on, that are either on or have been on the hot spot causing others troubles, but like everything else it seems to come and go. So maybe by time Amira is an adult it will be American named individuals that are under the watchful eye of U.S. big brother, and she'll be ok. :-P

PH said...

@ ibeebarbie :

Well she is lucky to have you as a mother :), I have friends who didn't apply for their Social Security Number until they were older, which coincidently was after 9/11 and as a result their applications were delayed for, sometimes, more than a year.