A job ad run in a leading daily sometime last week for an administrative assistant in what, on the surface, seemed like a blue chip company. The company though required that before you apply, you “must be a foreigner (Indian, Phillipino, White)”.
All those reading the ad and considering applying stopped at that part and wondered why, all those years ago, they’d laughed at the thought of bleaching; if they’d started then, they’d be white by now. Oh well, there goes a perfect opportunity to be the assistant you’ve always wanted to be all because you thought there was nothing wrong with your skin colour.
There was a lot of uproar on how racist the ad was. The company eventually apologised profusely and, according to their reports, fired the people behind it. My years of investigative journalism kicked-in and I tracked down the now unemployed gentlemen to find out why a black person cannot be an administrative assistant. On condition of anonymity, here’s what they shared:
“Here’s the thing you have refused to understand – one of the job requirements we stated, even in the ad, was that you must speak fluent English. Black people can’t do that, what with all the Ls and Rs mixed-up. We can’t take chances. The kind of work we do involves speaking to people who only understand the Queen’s language spoken as it was intended to-not punctuated with kati, nanti, mbu and then extra vowels added to almost every word; comingi , eatingi, nowu leti us go andi…no no no, we can’t have that.”
“We also stated that the candidate should have over four years of working experience. Now, let’s be honest, which black Ugandan has that much experience?” I made a move to answer but he cut me off and continued.
“Before you answer, remember that with a black Ugandan worker, you have to factor in the time he’s off to the village to bury someone, then the time he’s away “sick”, then, and this is the most important, all those times he’s out “chasing a deal” and then, this is even more important, the times he’s at his desk but isn’t working.
If you combined the entire time he’s actually doing proper work and thus adding to his experience, he’d have to work 20 years to gain 4 years’ experience.“
The talk did get heated after that and I failed to document the rest. One fine day though, we’ll be judged on our competence.