Divide and Conquer
His eyes were on me all of the time. I was not allowed to go into the stockroom unaccompanied. He convened a meeting with my colleagues where he announced that this was now the official policy. He had carried an in-depth audit and had concluded that stocks were disappearing from the stockroom. ‘He’ was the owner of an electrical franchise at one of London’s most prestigious department store.
Without any rational explanation, I was banished and shamed.
You had presented an indelible truth that I could not refute, sentenced without a trial or an opportunity to defend myself. Don’t you love it when after slandering you, they say, ‘please don’t take it personally?’ You, as the boss was unassailable. Instinctively, I bowed my head in despair. Because, like you, I knew the rules of the game. Even if I knew I was innocent. I implicitly took the blame.
In front of my colleagues, I stood humiliated. No one complained or raised a dissenting voice, for like me, like, you, some things are pillars of this culture. My colleagues patted me on the shoulder; alas, this only added to the weight bearing down on them.
In these situations, there is no need for overt communication. We instinctively accept these unwritten codes as being indisputable. And so, I continued to work. My heart was dead, but I had to continue. I was studying and needed the income to pay for my rent and living expenses. My spirit deflated. I summoned the courage to stand out from the shadows; I served the customers with a smile while crying inside.
We were a multiracial group of employees Indian (from the Indian sub-continent), Chinese, and White English. Alas, something about me defined me as the one most likely to be syphoning the stocks. Despite my banishment, the products continue to disappear from the stockroom. Still, you asked the others whether I was still going into the stockroom unaccompanied. Unknown to me, I had acquired the ability to walk through walls and slip unseen through locked doors, or maybe I was able to multiplicate myself and so simultaneously be at infinite locations at the same time.
Despite you shackling me in iron cuffs, I still managed to be your top seller. Never mind the inconvenience to your customers, I had to ameliorate your irrational behaviour. I had to convince them that only a selected few were allowed into the stockroom.
Unbeknown to all, you hid a camera in the stockroom. You then found out that it was the Indian manager that was stealing the stock. Exceeding my naive modest expectations, I did not receive an apology from you. In this country, there is a hierarchy of racial prejudice and discrimination,where, some are presumed more guilty than others. My kind is clearly at the bottom of the heap. We are sentenced before we are born and so this has become the norm.