It’s not all about race

This week’s Hump Day Hmm… is a continuation of last week’s theme of Racism, Society and the Internet. Last week, I discussed my views on race and its role on the world we live in today. Today, I’d like to talk about some other types of discrimination that are legal, but are just as bad as racism or sexism.

One thing that I’ve faced for a long time is my weight. I’m well overweight, and I feel that is has held me back in some way. Because I am so large, it is hard to find clothes that fits me properly that is not a T-shirt or sweat pants. As a result, I often look different from the rest of the crowd. I’ve only owned three or four pairs of jeans in my life, but I’ve never been comfortable in them – mostly because I probably bought pants that were maybe one or two inches too small in the waist and a couple inches too long in the leg.

So where does the discrimination come in? People will look at me and (this is my assumption) think that, because of my outward appearance, I am a lazy slob. Some people will just ignore, or be polite, and others don’t have a problem with my looks, but I think that in the couple of companies that I’ve gone for an interview, they must have taken my appearance into consideration.

The same goes if you aren’t “good-looking”. What is good looking? I don’t know, and I really don’t care, but there are a lot of people who will treat you differently if you fit their view of “good-looking” If not, then you’ll be treated with basic respect, or complete ambivalence.

Another type of discrimination that I’ve witnessed is based on the qualifications you have. For example, I have been trying for over two years to get a job, after losing the only job I had ever held. I’ve completed some college, and have a High School diploma. I send my resume to companies, but all I ever hear back from them is that they’ve received it and will contact me if I would be a good fit for the position. I have heard back from maybe three or four companies, but it was only a letter telling me that I didn’t have the qualifications they were looking for. Last year, I contacted a couple of temp working agencies, and one of them brought me in for the whole spiel – typing test, interview, asked what kind of jobs I was looking for. However, they never contacted me with any work. Another agency I gave my details to said that they’d contact me if they had anything that I’d fit in. Can you guess what happened here? Nothing! It’s been over a year and they have not contacted me!

When I think about it, I go to a not-good place – one where I feel like I’m not employable by anyone. The thing is that I know that I am – I have massive computer skills, but they overlook that when they see that I haven’t had a job in two years, or something. That’s why you see a paid post from time to time on here. It’s a way for me to make some money, but it doesn’t cover all of our needs. I am also selling some stuff on Ebay, and we have a lot of old stuff around here that we have no attachment to that we’re willing to part with. I might even be able to start an Ebay consignment business if there is enough interest. I know that there are people in my area who, if the price was right, would be willing to sell their items through me. I’m also actively looking for blogging jobs, but it is difficult to find a job that is a fit for me which provides a guaranteed income (i.e. not paying based on a percentage of advertising revenue).

As if that wasn’t enough, the fact that I don’t have a full drivers license is a block to employment as well. There are a lot of jobs (not just in car lots, or delivery or sales) that call for a valid license – right now, I’m not in a position to apply for those even though I do have a valid learner’s permit. This is something where I know how to change it, and can do it. I just need to refresh myself of the basics of driving.

My question is, have you ever been discriminated on based on these factors? Also, what is the best way to get my foot in the door with a job? Should I be applying at every single shop and store and gas station to see if I can get in there?

5 thoughts on “It’s not all about race

  1. Good point; it’s about more than one issue. We divide up in many ways, and don’t always consider how “not like us” might be affected. And sometimes it’s too easy to assume or judge.

    Certainly there is the side of “pro” and the side of “con” for aspects or ourselves that we carry (e.g., good-looking = pro) but all coins are two sided and anytime anyone makes an assumption about a person based on outside looks…it’s not going to be good.

    Well I’ve rambled on and on but you gave a lot to think about!

  2. It seems like a tough situation to be in. Maybe there are jobs where your mad skillz could be used, like computer help line guy? You’ve patiently walked me through more than one computer problem so I know you’re good at it. In a job like that, you could work at home (which I know may not be what you want, but a job’s a job).

    If you want to go back to college, almost everyone offers distance learning these days. Now’s the time to be applying.


  3. Seph, i am still classified as fat, and I have lost nearly 100 pounds. the only way around the visual discrimination, was to ensure that I was kick ass at my job.

    when i was getting back into the workforce, I chose an area where it didn’t matter what i looked like like, and went into call centres.

    there i am judged on my ability to problem solve, not if i have to look good.

    However, i did lose some weight to start with to give me confidence in my jobseeking, so that they would see i was enthusiastic and would work hard. that confidence booster for weight loss meant alot.

  4. Seph, I am overweight, too.. although this is perhaps all an issue of perspective. I am about 50 pounds overweight which is significant enough to cause problems.. but not at the level you mention.

    The key thing here.. in my opinion.. is that all of us have to know who we are. When we have a strong enough sense of our own identities, small minded people don’t bother us so much.

    From having tried many weight loss programs, I also know that losing weight for others is the wrong reason… Doing it to fit in is the wrong reason.

    It will just come back.

    I recommend a book called “Thin Tastes Better”.. and I suggest it not because of looks stuff.. but because you deserve good health.

    You’re a smart man.. with lots of knowledge of computer-related things.

    I’d try for work at a help desk in an IT department. Seriously.

    IT people (at least in the past) were less caught up in the superficiality you find most places.

    The whole workforce thing is bizarre to me. I’ve had to check out of that whole scene or end up a miserable, crazy old witch!

    Best to you.. and thank you SO much for your technical help. I did as you said, and it worked perfectly!



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