Discrimination-Learned Through Experiece: Working Through A Single Mother’s Eyes Essay, Research Paper
The most significant work experience that I have encountered was becoming a single mother, because it taught me a lesson in discrimination, and how society judges people. Many people do not realize all the discrimination occurring to single parents each day. The census bureau states that 27% of the households in the United States are single parent households. It irritates me to see how cruel society can be to judge a person, and make them feel as if committing a crime, because they are single parents. Would it be better to be married to an abusive spouse, or get away from a bad situation to become a single parent? I would rather be a single parent, than to put either of my children in a situation where they would have any harm done to them mentally, physically, or emotionally.
I moved out of my house when I turned eighteen, during my senior year of high school. Three months later, I became pregnant. This is when I first experienced discrimination. I had to work full time, and go to school. I only had nine more credits for my honors diploma, but I could not obtain it, because of discrimination against young soon to be mothers. My school made me take parenting classes that are required for pregnant teenagers, because they feel that you will not be a successful parent if you do not take the classes. They tried to convince me I would not know how to be a good parent, since I was so young. Many young mothers throughout history have been successful parents without taking any parenting classes. It takes trial and error, not a book, to teach you how to be a successful parent. I feel that I was discriminated, because I could have gotten scholarships and better job opportunities if I was able to take the required classes for an honors diploma instead of parenting classes.
Most people that have children know that it is a struggle to raise kids on only one income, but with a proper budget, it can be accomplished. The government and press make big issues of single parents, because of their financial situations and strain on the budget. Not every single parent is on welfare, as the government and press try to make it seem. In fact, not many single parents I know are on welfare. Married couples face financial difficulties too, but they do not tell that to the public. What is the difference between a one-income home of a married couple, and a single parent?s income? Is there actually a difference between them?
I once ran into an old preacher of mine at a yard sale when I was about seven months pregnant. He approached me and asked me when I was due. He then asked me when I got married. I was still with my unborn child?s father at the time, and I said that I was not married yet. The pastor, ?the good Christian that he is?, told me that I was not ever allowed back at that church. He said that I was following the devil now, and would go to hell. I was very emotional being pregnant, and that made me cry, because he was someone I thought I respected. My ex-fiancee?s mother was there with me when he told me that. She told him exactly what she thought about him, and it was not a pretty site. If she were not such a good Christian, the preacher would have been going to the hospital with a broken nose. It is sad for me to think that someone can be so judgmental of another person. Other church members feel the same way as him.
I also get discrimination from employers. One experience, in particular, was a waitress position at a Chi Chi?s restaurant. I was only twenty-one at the time, but I have waited tables off and on since I was fifteen. The interview went well, until the manager asked for my hobbies and extra-curricular activities. I said that I usually take my child to the park, or do something with her in my free time. He asked me who would be watching my child while I worked. I said that my roommate would watch her. I should have known the question was an invasion of privacy, and I should not have answered it. He then told me he was looking for someone without children, because baby-sitters are not reliable, and he needed someone who could be flexible to come in as needed. If I would have known that it is illegal to not hire someone that has children, I would have sued the restaurant, or gotten the manager fired.
I cannot even take my children to the grocery store without receiving some form of discrimination. Sometimes it is the looks I receive, or the remarks from the people who talk to me while shopping. I usually buy enough groceries to last for two to three weeks when I go to the store. I have to get quite a lot of items, because I feed the children that I baby-sit for too. When I bring the cart full of groceries to the check out lane, I get strange looks from people, as if they are expecting me to pay with food stamps. An example occurred at a Marsh grocery store, when I had my oldest daughter with me. I was also pregnant at the time. I still lived with the father of my unborn child, but we were not married. I put my items on the conveyer belt, which was run by an older woman. She asked me if I would be paying cash or food stamps, and if I had any coupons. My face turned red, because I felt humiliated and offended that she would ask me that. I did not know if they had to ask everyone that question. I assume she asked me, since I was pregnant, had another child, and no ring on my finger. I told her that I would be paying with cash, but I never said anything else to her. I never went back to that store since.
I have been discriminated through my own university. The counselor that I met during my first year registration was an older man. He asked me questions about work, children, and if I was married, to determine how many hours to take. When I told him that I was a single parent, he said that I should not go to school full time. His reasoning behind this was he did not think that I would be able to handle studying, working, and taking care of children, because it would leave me with no free time. I told him ?I have kids, so I don?t get free time. If I have a grant saying that I have to be enrolled for twelve hours minimum, than I have to do it, because I can?t afford this school all by myself.? He told me that he did not mean to get me upset, he was just telling me the facts. I thought to myself ?You dried up old prune, you know everything?. He did not know my situation or anything about me, and should not try to pass his beliefs or judgment on anyone.
In conclusion, single parents receive injustice by discrimination on almost a daily basis. I have experienced so many instances of it myself, I could probably write a book about them. Many people in society cannot look past the ?taboo? of being single parents. Rosie O?Donnell and Madonna are single parents raising children. Society accepts them to raise children on their own, because they are celebrities. Why is it wrong for an average person to be a single parent? Should society be the one to decide who deserves discrimination? In my opinion, no one deserves discrimination.
My own life experiences of discrimination.