Dark Kitchens

Side note : I am going to turn my experiences in kitchens into a book.  Consider this an excerpt.

“In 2014, a world filled with human resource departments and racial “equality” training  kitchens are still the most uncomfortable places to work as a black woman.  My dream is to be a chef,  and in our industry you have to work your ass off in a kitchen to get any recognition.  That’s why I stay, for the recognition, but it’s not easy. At all. In kitchens (at least the five I’ve worked in) racism,  sexism,  sexual harassment and straight out disrespectful bullying are normal, even encouraged. I’m a double whammy. Black and  female.  I must work three times as hard as anyone to be recognized for the hard work.  I must face two times as much ignorance as anyone else.  While I’d love to give them a big fuck you very much, the experience is the only thing that’ll separate me from the pack.

I have worked in places were minor (under the age of 18) hostesses are too afraid to go to the kitchen because the kitchen manager leer and makes provocative sexual comments. In places were kitchen managers will never promote a person of color even though they obviously work harder than all employees. In kitchens were one mistake is met with passive aggressive behavior not awarded to white counterparts .  I have worked in kitchens were white males will go around yelling “I hate niggers” at the top of their lungs.  No one seems to realize that they’re being hurtful or inappropriate. That or they don’t care. Those who stand by and allow this behavior are just as bad as those who commit.

At my current job I’ve been called ghetto girl,  sassy black girl,  and the best ‘nigger’. These are just a few examples of the roses I smell in my personal paradise.  I’ve had to listen to the racist soliloquies of white staff members against other staff members and guests.  I’ve been the Centre of a joke that solely relies on my race and the desire of a creepy 50-year-old man who refers to women as “hot chocolate”. There is no remorse, there is no mercy.  I am constantly riddled with stereotypes I don’t fit and when I react to these racist approaches I am met with shock and sometimes hurt.  The idea that not everyone is willing to be a lap-dog to their ideals doesn’t sit well with them.  Any response mirroring the racism I face on a daily basis is met with outrage and discomfort.  “Why don’t you tell management?”  I have, several times,  even owners only to have three managers make openly racist quips in my direction. 

The problem with kitchens isn’t the hard work or the long hours. Hell,  even the lazy assholes are easy to deal with. The problem with kitchens is the ignorance and the unwillingness to change it. If you are a ‘POC’ in a kitchen you have surely experienced this.  You have come across casual racist statements about your race or another person’s race. I am reminded every day without fail of my race. Now not all people in kitchens are racist but a majority of them are.  Not all are sexual predators but most are.  Not everyone in a kitchen is a down right asshole but most are.  I stand by that.  It’s allowed.  It’s acceptable. It’s standard. I have heard kitchen managers state that “there is no such thing as sexual harassment in kitchens”.

Its’s a pity to want to chase your dreams and you must endure a nightmare. Will this change?  I’m doubtful.  Even when you openly express your disgust,  the malice continues on. It’s a shame to think that there are many people out there who are capable of becoming some of the greatest culinary masterminds of our generation but they never will because they can’t deal with kitchens because kitchens won’t deal with them. However I won’t allow that to be my fate,  I won’t allow another humans repulsive ways hinder my success. I’ll continue to loudly express my distaste. I’ll loudly express my thoughts and opinions. This will be a continuous saga and I will chronicle my experiences so that maybe one day, someone somewhere will hear me.  So that one day a young black female with aspirations like mine will be able to chase her dreams and not have to wonder why she must endure unnecessary bullshit. They will here me, us,  in these dark kitchens.”

Advertisements

Toronto; Do Better (Gun Violence)

I’ll be short.

I say Toronto as a general blanket, encompassing Toronto and the surrounding suburbs in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).

Most of my my reader base stems from the city of Toronto. They’ll understand this. For the readers who don’t know, I live in Ontario, Canada in town called Oakville. About a 25 minute drive from Toronto. Oakville is suburbian. White picket fences, people jogging, children with their parents credit cards but I haven’t always lived in Oakville. I haven’t always lived in Canada but for the most part I call this country home because it is where I have settled and begun my life as a young adult. Before I lived in Oakville, I lived in Scarborough, before that the U.S. and before that? A now war torn Zimbabwe.  Too say the least, they differ in numerous ways, ways I can’t necessarily delve into at this time. However, if you use your imagination and Google I’m sure you can come to your own conclusions.

In Toronto and the GTA … I have seen both sides of the tracks. Both have their dark and lights, both sides have their extremely good and extremely bad aspects. The GTA seems to be split into two worlds. West End and East End and Toronto of course, the centre hub. The general idea is that the East End is full of more violent acts but that’s not true at all. I visit Toronto a lot, I go to school there, I shop there, have friends, family there and it seems over the last couple of years, that freedom I have  to move freely without the threat of harm, is slowly starting to slip away. Random acts of violence are slowly taking away the freedom I have to live.

January 1st, a lot of us lost a good friend to gun violence.

It was perhaps one of the most unexpected painful losses I have ever experienced.

It shed a lot of light on things I had chosen to be unaware of.

A former friend of mine lost her brother to gun violence, do you know what that does to people? It destroys your psyche, your life, your ability to trust and to love. It shatters the image of a world you have grown to be comfortable in and leaves you naked, vulnerable. There is nothing like the pain of death and the pain intensifies even more when it is by the piercing of a bullet. You can never be the same again.

I have never been a fan of guns. I don’t understand their existence nor do I support their use. The only thing I see guns for are murder weapons. I don’t care who is toting the heavy piece of metal whether it be police officers or random civilians, guns are horrible. The Eaton Centre shooting really put things in perspective for me. I was supposed to be downtown that day, shopping. Eaton was my first mapped destination, like so many of us do.

What if that had been me? What if it had been you? 

People are so casual about “holding a toolie” or “toting a .9” when in reality there is nothing casual about death or the pain inflicted by the absurd ringing of gunshots. What happened to using your words as a weapon? When have we as a people become so cowardly and rely on the pop of a gun to solve all of our problems? I know that these problems are deep rooted and stem from psychological discrepancies I couldn’t even decipher with a manual. I understand that people come from a culture or families that may believe in the ideas that lead to gun violence but you know better. Wrong from right. This is not about the black community because the person who shot our friend is white. It’s not blaming Scarborough or Malton or Brampton because every community has the likes. Even Oakville.

Nothing happens in Oakville. Why are you carrying a gun around, in Oakville?

Gun violence not only affects you and the victim, it affects your families, your community and random strangers like myself who don’t know where the next stray bullet is coming from. It shouldn’t be like that. I don’t want to start listing stereotypes of the Canadian person but there is NO reason for any of us to be approaching problems with gun violence. NONE. I have seen things, that most of you could never imagine and at the rate people are going, you are all about to see those things. and lose the contents of your stomach; on a daily basis. I know this was an aimless rant, I got upset again half way through and probably made no sense but there is one thing I want to get across.

Gun violence solves nothing.

If anything it creates more problems.

Please, please stop.

Toronto, honestly…you can do better.

-EsVeeCee

P.S. Fuck Rob Ford, you stupid fuck. How is this an isolated incident if you have already had 19 homicides in the GTA alone? You puffy tomato colored bastard.