There is something very poisonous about the atmosphere that is present inside some Canadian academic organizations and workplaces. I feel that some Canadians and even International students are very much used to picking on colored women. I have come across some mature students who intentionally attempt to degrade others over really little thing. They triangulate in such an insensitive manner that one feels at loss and is unable to complain properly. For instance, I was harassed in a group setting by a couple of professionals just some while ago. As usual, they triangulated me over very minor things. This occurred among 2018 Event Management class fellows and at Algonquin College. Some of these people have been blocked; and, I don’t intend to keep in touch with them.
When these people do these things, they do not realize that 1) they are dealing with mature students who are handling a very heavy workload; and, 2) triangulating or gaslighting someone is unhealthy because it removes victim’s psychological safety. We actually studied importance of psychological safety in this program; but, I have noticed that some students are using extreme force to remove this notion from my mind. Before I proceed, I must comment that Canada’s current environment offers tremendous insecurity to colored female professionals.
This entire argument revolves around something seemingly insignificant: left alignment or justification. I was asked to shed some light on this concept several times by the same group members; and, I always told them that my teachers who have several years of industry experience have taught me to always align paragraphs to the left. I explained this to them once; and, then after some days or perhaps a month or so, I was locked in another confrontation about this. I felt very violated due to all of this! Apparently, one of the group members was somehow still uncomfortable about aligning text to the left; as soon as the other team members heard this comment, they started asking for a veto on this. I just stared at their faces in disbelief! Obviously, I took a stand against this all but the colored woman—some colored Canadians and International students also fully participate in the abuse of well meaning colored professionals because doing so helps them fit in—who started this unnecessary conversation later called me “Professor”. Mind you! She said this to me after I was requested to share my ideas/thoughts with the group and during a situation that required deeper analysis. For instance, look at the nature of this situation. I had to email this group four different links where it was stated that left alignment is preferred because it is easier to read this way. It is easier to notice now that the word “Professor” was only used to shame and humiliate me further.
There are more and more such incidences that are taking place in Canada. Most of the time, victims are choosing not to take any measure against this. Other times, the abusers and those who are watching try to minimize the entire reality; for example, nobody addressed the negative effects of such tactics after this incidence. If you are feeling confused about what actually happened, then know that the request to veto on an issue that was previously discussed and agreed upon is an example of triangulation and gaslighting.
These confusing methods of communication finally created an argument by pushing me to state the same fact over and over again. But, the lady who caused all this never stepped up and apologized. I even tried to become her friend at our graduation. Soon after graduation, I remembered a comment that was issued by a friend of mine—I forgot this due to the narcissistic abuse I was facing. You see! a friend of mine once told me that narcissistic moves can cause victims to apologize for things they should not feel sorry about. I also read into another speaker’s life story and found out that he has learned from experience that if one is not taking a good stance to protect oneself, then the rest are just going to keep crushing that person. This is when I decided to block this woman and some other students who I felt were causing some issues. I am still in touch with group members who were considerate and wise enough to read into the real situation and react properly.
I don’t feel sad disclosing this here although I feel very forced to do this. And, I feel forced to take the name and year of this particular class. I am doing this because I have heard some other very severe complaints of abuse that colored professionals and students are facing inside some Canadian Event Management industry.
One such Ottawa-based company whose employees participated in harassing me is “Collab Space”. I was working in volunteer capacity; a new hire (S) mistreated me and then contorted the entire situation to ignore the fact that my other trainer L gave me a different set of instructions; this incidence was formally reported to Algonquin College and Collab Space; and, a detailed email was sent to the Collab Space’s CEO who failed to take measures to effectively review this situation. I have copies of all the emails; but, because I do not have sufficient time on my hands, I do not wish to carry out the next steps of the formal complaint process. Thus, I feel very compelled to point the rest in the right direction. Below are screenshots of the email that was sent to Collab Space.
If you cannot read the text in the images properly, zoom in. I am also copy pasting it here. Forgive any errors because I typed this email really fast! I never received a reply on this; and, I was never offered a reference letter. This is very unfair towards me!
From: Arzoo < @outlook.com >
Sent: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 9:54:59 PM
To: e @collabspace.ca
Subject: Kindly Read: Something Odd Happened Today
Hello E ,
I hope you are doing well. I have to let you know that something odd has happened today that I did not predict at all. L is my Co-Op Supervisor and just some days ago she commented that she has been speculating if she can keep me for longer and keep training me. She said this because I am there only on Wednesdays and Fridays and there was less work for me until late-May. We were thinking whether the deadline should be mid-July or August.
Today, I tried to discuss this with L but I was surprised to see that she wanted S to look into this. I am comfortable about this but obviously this change was too sudden for me. S started out by requesting that the deadline should be mid-June (next week). I did not say anything and started reviewing my portfolio pieces and work completed. I was unsatisfied with what was on my plate so far so I had another conversation with S . S pointed out that she wanted the deadline to be mid-June (this month) because I seemed to have an “altercation” with her during the Small Business Expo (I am describing the whole situation in the paragraph below). What seems like an “altercation” is actually an indication of confusion that was caused by two supervisors. It was a work-related issue and because it is my first event working on a fast event like a Trade Show, I ended up making a mistake. For example, I did not knew what is expected in “Crisis Mode”; i.e. whom should I listen to first and whose comments I should ignore. S clarified this today. Today, I had to clarify with S and L in terms of why I made an error in judgement. They resolved this situation and S wants me to come to two other events so that I may learn how to manage fast events like Trade Shows. I believe that she did not knew that this was my first Trade Show.
Despite all this, I see many errors in judgement and communication here. First of all, L was responsible for getting me training for events. She was clear from the beginning that the Small Business Expo will run in late May and June and that there will be another event, the anniversary dinner, after this. I helped her out with the Small Business Expo a little bit and then I started working on the Anniversary. While I worked with L , I realized that lots of tasks were being given on the spot and there was less planning involved in terms of how to mentor me. I was okay with this because I know that I am dealing with a small company. However, I am surprised about S . When I got confused about a task at the Small Business Expo, I briefly told (because event was rushed and we had no time to talk) her that this has been a misunderstanding because I did not understood what was needed from me. The thing is that I had received two sets of instructions: one from L and one from S . S wanted me to give the program booklet and the schedule to the pitch contestants who had already entered the event space. I did not knew their names and faces so I went to the front desk to get help. I was putting the event schedules inside the Judges’ folders just some minutes ago but I did not had time to memorize all their faces and names. I knew that there was another file that had the names and faces of the Pitch Contestants so I went to the front desk to find out if I could print this out. This file should have been printed by S or L if they needed me to work on this task. But, the reality is that they did not include this in the “Risk Management” because they wanted to assign things at the spot. While I was sorting through some of the files inside my Outlook email account, L came and tried to help me. She left some names on a piece of paper and said that she does not knew which company they belong to and that I have to match the names and faces on my own. So I sat at the front desk for like 3 minutes and tried to find the file (inside my Outlook email account) that will let me do this. My idea was to print this file out and keep it handy while I tried to distribute the program booklet and the event schedule to the Pitch Contestants. But, S saw me working at the front desk and thought that I was ignoring her instructions. I felt very confused about all this and I briefly tried to explain that I am feeling hassled because I have been given two sets of instructions.
Today we discussed this in detail and I was surprised to find out that she never talked to me about this before she decided to change my co-op deadline to June 15 (mid-June). Only when I reviewed my portfolio material and the work I have completed at Collab Space, I ended up initiating the conversation about need for more work. I feel that it was S ‘s duty to have a calm and organized conversation with me before she commented about the co-op deadline. I ended up blurting a lot during my conversation with S because I felt framed and was unable to properly defend myself given my sensitive emotions. I also feel that it was L ‘s duty to have a private conversation with S so that she may know that this is a mentoring opportunity for me; Small Business Expo was my first event; and that she was thinking of extending my deadline because she did not had any tasks to assign that would relate more directly to Event Management until May.
I know that Canada needs to turn things around before its too late. Workplace harassment is on rise; and, I know that many are deserting workplaces due to this. Read “Violence and Harrassment in the Workplaces on the Rise“.
I do not feel sad walking away even though I did make friends with these people; but, I am willing to give myself time to recover from this shock. It is true that in Canada, colored female professionals are mistreated at every level; and, they are at strong risk of having their character, memory, performance, and future jeopardized. I keep saying that Canada has something to do with this because those who are supposed to take action against such oppression are not doing anything. For example, it has come to my attention that even Humber College (Nursing program) is participating in torturing talented students by closing their complaints without a fair trial/investigation. If you do not believe me, read Chiose’s article, “Justice on Campus“; “Racial inequality in access to health care services“; “Ignored to Death: Systemic Racism in the Canadian Healthcare System“; “Canadian Education is Steeped in Anti-Black Racism” (its the same for Brown people); “Violence Against Nurses: ‘Zero Tolerance’ For Violence Against Nurses and Nursing Students“; and, “Violence and Harrassment in the Workplaces on the Rise“.
I must comment that gaslighting was done in such a manner that I still feel a little confused. As a result, I am putting a reminder here for myself and everyone else. Read Detective James L. Trainum’s book “How the Police Generate False Confessions: An Inside Look at the Interrogation Room”; and, you will see how the police creates informants and criminals by lying to them in a group setting. I think what is happening inside some Canadian workplaces including the academic ones is nothing different than what is noted in this book.
Before I leave you with your thoughts, I must make you note that I am not doing anything of this for publicity or money. Know that I am a Lucid Dreamer; I can move forward in time by a year; and, I have successfully documented all of this here on my blog. I know that I can get very famous just by discussing my creative dreams. Think about it! I don’t have any motive for lying about this abuse. Why do I need to type all this other stuff about being abused? I mean it takes time to write these posts; research and add relevant articles; and, then it takes some more time to reach out to influential speakers/figures who might be able to take some action. Please! Think about how they are trying to destroy me and the rest!
Copyright © by Arzoo Zaheer. All Rights Reserved.