ARAO: A Really Asinine Obligation

Ok, rant time again. Yee ha.

One of the newest places where I volunteer has a stupid policy they call ARAO. It stands for Anti-Racism Anti-Oppression. AT this point I can hear the peanut gallorie booing me off the stage and calling me a racist asshole. But wait wait wait!

Basically the policy says they can’t turn people down based on their race, disability, or any other difference they may have. That sounds cool, until you realize what it means. It means that even if they want to turn you down, if you have something different, like I happen to have, they feel obligated to hang onto you. I wanted to do this job where you go with people to appointments that might be stressful or require moral support. Because I can’t see where I’m going, they don’t think I can do the job. How they think I manage to do my day to day things I don’t know. So, instead of flat out rejecting me, they’re trying to scare me away from the job by telling me that the situation could be unsafe, or they might get sued if I don’t do it right, etc. If they didn’t think I could do the job, and didn’t really want to give me a chance, why didn’t they just fucking say so, and save me the grief of fighting the impossible fight of proving myself to people who don’t really want to listen.

Does something fall from the sky and smack you on the head yet? Why does this place *need* to write down in a policy that they shouldn’t discriminate?? Have they had a history of discrimination before? When will people realize that policies don’t fix problems? We need to change attitudes, and forcing companies to have token women, blacks, people with disabilities only puts faces on resentment. I know, I know, the inventors of these policies think, “Yeah, but if we can just get them into the companies, they can change the minds of the higher-ups and life will be beautiful.” Have these people actually worked as a token? It doesn’t work. If the boss really doesn’t want that person in their company, they can make their life hell and find ways to make them look bad, proving that these policies only keep the best person for the job from having the job.

The peanut gallorie rises again. “Just be thankful they’re giving you a chance at all and there is legislation in place to guarantee that chance.” But the chance is no good if it’s not genuine. It’s like saying that everyone who’s poor has the right to this little pot of money. But when they get to the pot, they find out it’s monopoly money. What good is that? They can’t buy things at the store with it, they can’t put it in their checking account, but oh the government says they gave them money. It’s the same with these stupid bullshit policies. They’re not real.

Let’s face it. The future freaks me out. I don’t know if I’ll be able to find a job where I actually feel valued. I have found some volunteer placements where I felt like I had a chance. But when money’s involved, I’m afraid that the company will go for the cheapest and least labour-intensive option. Wouldn’t you? “Hmmm. I can hire this person who can read the print notices on the wall and all the print resources available to them, doesn’t need special software on the computer to make it usable for them, can drive, and will never ask me for anything except the occasional holiday. Or I can hire this blink with the same skills who I’ll have to throw a bunch of money into, they might ask for more stuff, and they might complain if they miss an important printed company memo. I choose…lemmy think…the first one.”

So I can see where some genius thought legislating companies into hiring people in the minority might have been a good idea. But what they forgot is you can’t legislate opinion. Human thought is still free, and it should be. Plus, if legislation was so effective, we could demolish the prisons and fire the police. Does that sound like a good idea to anyone? Didn’t think so.

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