Guest Barbara

I was told at work: "Immigrant go home"

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Karen

Christine,

Your husband should do exactly what Barbara did - document what was said to him and go and see the HR people in his company about it. If no HR team exists, take the documented account ( including day, time etc) to the senior management.

Do not keep quiet about this sort of thing, ever.

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dieulefit

You know, by also confronting the person face-on yourself might do the deed too. I worked with someone who would always tell terrible racist jokes when I was near and lateron I realized it was because of me. So, I (very politely) told him that I really do not appreciate his jokes and it was the end of that... . Also, to The Kotze's - too bad about what happened to your Jewish (South African) neighbor, but what happened to you is (I am convinced) teens who are just out and about and have nothing better to do with their lives than egg a neighbor's home! In my (previous) neighborhood (a upmarket area) a wealthy resident's young son and his friend went out one night and shot out over a 100 car's back windows! There was a copy-cat incident shortly thereafter and at a retirement residence and a few residence said they had to get rid of their cars as they could not afford their insurance and replacing the windows! That made me furious and I felt these kids parents had to be responsible. Too bad, but some teens are just born lazy and spoilt!

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Robert McGee

Harry, thanks for clearing that up. (You shouldknow by now that I'm a bit slow <_< )

When in Canada, open your mouth if you are grieved in the workplace and open it wide. There is usually zero tolerance here for most things SA's take for granted and simply suck up and seethe about.
I agree with this 100%.

There seems to be more and more incidents of religious and ethnic intolerance and that is really sad. Unfortunately, radical and fundamental religious leaders of most religions are giving the good people from their community a bad name. Young and older) people cannot always distinguish between radical beliefs and mainstream, moderate religious people.

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Harry

The "Koos in Kanada" problem is real.

Many people, when they realise one is a South African, simply drop their "Political Correctness" Cellophane coating and then spew forth the most upsetting racist comments. They are really doing two things:

1. They are actually revealing their own real convictions minus the community-induced PC

2. Portraying back at one the warped brainwashing they have received from the Media here regarding South Africans.

For a small number it is actually a perverse power game. They believe SA folks are so "over a barrel morally" that they would just have to shut up and listen while they spew racist drivel. Its like thinking your Father Confessor is a drunk and revealing to him that you are an alcoholic, thinking he is bound to shut up because you think he is "compromised". This kind of person gets angry and abrasive when one reacts negatively...most others just skulk off feeling stupid.

People really, honestly and truly do not know the truth of ordinary folks in/from South Africa. They have an image of us as some sort of extreme unthinking insensitive Klu Klux Klan heap. So they tell their Klan jokes, thereby revealing they are closet "Klan members".

This is why I keep telling folks not to "look for me behind the door where they are standing". I'm "standing exactly where they can see me".

In IBM I chased a guy out of my office back in 1980 already when he walked in from nowhere on me and told a sick joke about black people and food stamps. I really resented that because I took it as a direct reflection on my views. I enjoyed working with the black folks in IBM at the time. We got on just fine.

Christine,

In the company where I worked, politics was outlawed as a subject. I'm not sure whether that was good or bad. It certainly made it clear that this kind of thing was comprehensively "not on".

The question would be whether it was a verbal attack on your husband, or whether it was merely a statement of a point of view.

I can give you a string of arguments to use with such people, but one gauges who is doing the talking. Some people are truly not worthy of a response.

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Karen

I agree with Harry that you have to pick your fights in this life, but on the other hand, why should you shut up when you do not have to.

I have been here 13 years, and not once in all that time has anyone had anything bad to say about where I come from. I have been warmly received as a South African in the larger community. Perhaps because there are so many of us here, and so many who have been here for such a long time, that the locals have come to realise that we are all folk exactly like themselves.

The funniest thing at work, for my colleagues, is that the two South African, one Nigerian and one Kenyan teacher are all the best of buddies. They refer to us as "The Africans" and not one comment has ever been made about two of us being white. I am always rather impressed at the knowledge my fellow workers have about SA and their total empathy to the situation. Sure, they have asked us questions about living there etc, but not once, has anyone ever assumed we were responsible for the past.

It all boils down to a matter of being educated and open minded.

In the event of being accused of being a racist just because you come from SA, throw the First Nations history and the Japanese internment into the conversation, and I can bet that will give the accuser something to chew on. Remind them also, about a Canuck prime minister who stated that "One Jew is too many", and sent ship loads of people back to Germany to meet their deaths, and also not so long ago, park benches allowed no Jews or dogs and Jews were excluded from many country and yacht clubs.

Canada does not have such a proud history of political correctness, after all.

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Guest Barbara

The one thing I find difficult is if I was from England people would just say OK. Coming from SA means people often have more to say and I felt for a long while that I almost had to apologize. I am over that now.

If people have real interest and want to know what I believe I am fine with that and will discuss it with anyone.

But I have often just said I am from Zimbabwe. I was born, grew up, educated and married there before moving to SA so it is not a lie. I know it is the easy way out.

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aries75

Just seeing this thread now - I'm glad the company had enough sense to fire that nitwit. He only would have become worse as time went on (such types usually do until they get an appropriate bitch-slap ;) )

Though on another note, I'm surprised a Canadian in their early 20s would even be aware of enough SA history to use it against someone in that fashion. At least, I'm almost positive that if I were to ask the average 20-something what they knew of South Africa, I'd get little more than a blank stare...

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Harry

Long time no see, Aries75! You should drop in more often.

We don't have enough non-SA members, so you are a rare specimen ;)

Does the character in your book run into this problem?

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Merv

Hmmmm, It would be a difficult decision for me in this case, "Snotklap" or complain to HR or both. I can just imagine the conversation,

What did you say? He repeats it, followed by a snotklap of epic proportions ;) . Hang on a minute, that would get me fired, guess I would have to just complain to HR. Much less fun though

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Gordon

I have an interesting question to pose. Had this same idiot embezzled company funds or caused his company to lose money, would he have been summarily fired? Or does summary dismissal only have to do with offending peoples' feelings or other pc affairs?

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Karen

Good question.

In most instances, the guilty party would be dismissed instantly, but then again, you have to prove everything here before action can be taken.

My husband's company fired a woman who was dipping into money that was not hers, instantly. The police were called and it went to trial.

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Smith007

To Christine Viljoen: I appreciate the discomfort that your husband as well as yourself have experienced as a result and the difficult decision as to what to do.

Depending on the character of the antagonist:

Some might say that one should confront the individual politely in the presence of witness/es indicating that the statements made are simply untrue, and most disconcerting, disturbing etc. Please stop.

Some may say that this individual should be reported, as he might be your husband's boss one day - hey Murphy's Law does exist

[Despite the fact that on occasion most Canadians workers (included are SA landed immigrants) change employment regularly.]

But correct me if I am wrong if you are XSA on a work visa you are committed to your company of sponsor?

Therefore if the antagonist becomes your boss - could be disastrous

Edited by Smith007

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Guest Barbara

When he was asked about what he had said he admitted to it. So we didn't need to prove anything.

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Jules

Wow! Hard to believe that there are such idiots in Canada. But it does prove that you get good and bad (or stupid) in all nations...

Well done Barbara: it's good that you spoke up and demanded action. It's likely that you could live another 5 lifetimes in canada and never experience something like that again. You just had the bad luck of running into the lowest benchmark.

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Harry

Gordon,

our company summarily dismissed a senior manager recently for lying on a travel claim and taking too much money...one single event....only about $1000. Does that answer your question?

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Gordon

Yes, it does. I was just worried that the system might be a bit hypocrytical, kind of like the rest of Canada, but as long as there is consistency, it is fine.

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Guest Charz
Yes, it does. I was just worried that the system might be a bit hypocrytical, kind of like the rest of Canada, but as long as there is consistency, it is fine.

Gordo, G'day Mate

just wandering with the above comment are you planning to immigrate to Canada. no trying to get a jousting match going just wondered?

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West Works

Commenting on Christine Viljoen's post, I fully expect the person making those comments is an anomole in Fort Mac, given the high populous of new arrivals there.

Certainly doesn't condone in any way the stupidity of some people, and this person should be dealt with exactly as Barbara's example was.

As a Canadian married to a SA immigrant, I hope that these examples are from a select few scattered throughout the population.

As a family we have not had issues at all, however get a load of this ... We recently experienced one of our contractors (Afrikaans male) who ran into a lady with a mean streak at work who 'pigeonholed' him as being " typical South African". He dealt with it in an exceptional manner, with our support in going to our client of course. The irony of the situation with him?? The lady involved was a Chinese immigrant if you can believe it.

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Pierre

Dave I have not had that kind of comment thrown at me in the 5 yrs Iv been here in FMM.

However people, Canadians, reporting to me have grumbled about the amount of "immigrants" employed in the area. As if I am not also one of them ...lol Then I showed them the statistics of my efforts to employ a Canadian. Out of 35 applicants there may be one Canadian, and he doesnt really want to come to FMM. So we have no alternative to employ who we can get to do the job.

Also in FMM the population are largely immigrants anyway trying to make a living in a harsh climate. So a lot of friendships get built up between all peoples. There is enough work for anyone and everyone. Very few people here are actually from Alberta.

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West Works

I absolutely agree Pierre, which was my surprise and comment that that type of remark there is more likely one of random ignorance than the norm there.

We find the same thing, and in fact I have Hiring Mangagers with our clients who reflect the same thing. I have absolutely no problem trying to help an appreciative 'immigrant' relocate into a good position here over moving in a Canadian who is not appreciative of the opportunity that Fort Mac offers.

At the end of the day 30 million of us +/- are "immigrants", be it 1st generation or 4th. For residents of a melting pot society like our's to bear any prejudices or ignorance towards other people because they had the guts to pull root and relocate their loved ones half way around the world to Canada is terribly short-sighted.

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Pierre

I recently helped an Egyptian get around the town and work situation. He ended up getting a job at an oil company. I know of an Egyptian woman working in our dept. I passed on the contact information. It turns out that they are from the same city, in fact they lived in the same street. The man is now happy he has met some familiar people he can identify with and socialise. Altogether a happy ending.

I just got a new man from Bangladesh today to show the ropes around the workplace. And so the story continues.

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jpd

I have never had that kind of problem in my work area - maybe because the immigrants are in the majority!! The composition in my immediate work area are:

Second generation Canadian:

1 - Scottish

5 - Italian

2 - German

2 - American

1 - Swedish

1 - Ukrainian

Immigrants

2 - India

1 - South Africa (moi)

1 - Mexico

1 - Ethiopia

1 - American

1 - Portugal

1 - Singapore

1 - Granada

1 - Jamaica

1 - England

1 - Egypt

1 - Scotland

1 - Philippines

Canadian

13

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Bob Fitzsimmons
I agree with Harry, Barbara. Take it up with HR first thing in the morning. It is NOT (to be) tolerated at all!

Hi;

As a Canadain I want to appologise for your experience.

There are "idiots" all over the world. You will find the same type of person in most countries. That does not make it right or acceptable. Being a man I can only assume that for a woman it may be harder to deal with. A man would probably be more "physical" in the approach he chose.

I agree with the others advice. COMPLAIN.

Most employers will "jump all over" him.

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Guest Barbara

Thanks but there is no need. He is long gone and the only negative experience I have had in Canada in 3 years.

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Bob Fitzsimmons

It's a bit late, but let me apologise for the ":D Ho-e. Sorry about the language, but it fits.

It's unfortunate that people are like that - but it happens all over the World.

I was told in Sweden I was there for the money, girls, and better living conditions.

They must have thought I was broke and in need of welfare.

The money was not great, and the girls look just like they do in Europe, Australia, Canada.

A new man started at work today he is in his early 20’s. He started a conversation today by saying he is sick of immigrants and we should all go home. He then attacked me verbally and said I am a racist because all people from SA are racists. He said the white people in SA only have gates and fences to keep black people out of our houses. I gave up trying to talk to him because he didn’t want to listen. I ended up walking away.

I was and am still very upset. I have made great Canadian friends and I know this is only one young twit. But it was hurtful and I must have had my head in the clouds because I thought I would never experience this.

Until today I have felt nothing but acceptance and totally welcome here in Canada by Canadian’s. In fact I have always been amazed that they are so willing the share their land with us. A land I have truly come to love.

Thank goodness he will be on the road a lot so I won’t have to see him at work every day.

My good Canadian friend said ignore him he is a young red neck. My Canadian friends have all asked about life in SA and are interested to know what I believe and think.

Sorry just needed to rant. It was all a bit hurtful.

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