You can be fired for not being Black enough
Kush Azrael | 8/27/2014, 9:06 a.m.
Rachel Brothers, a bi-racial Canadian, was fired from her job at the Black Educators Association in 2006 because she was allegedly “not Black enough.” After Brothers took the case to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, her employer was ordered to pay her almost $11,000 in damages. In a decision released earlier this month, chairman of the Board of Inquiry at the Human Rights Commission Donald Murray determined that Brothers had been undermined and discriminated against because of her light skin.
According to the Metro News of Canada, Brothers says she was up for a job as regional educator against a woman named Catherine Collier. Brothers ended up being offered the position. Collier felt she should have got the job because she was “older” and “Blacker.”
According to reports, most of the abuse came from Collier. Brothers beat her out for the position and then hired Collier to work under her.
“Ms. Brothers was undermined in part because she was younger than, and not as Black as, Ms. Collier thought Ms. Brothers should be,” wrote Murray in his decision. “In Ms. Collier’s eyes, Ms. Brothers was not really Black enough.”
Brothers tried to talk with those over her about Collier’s behavior, including those in BEA’S head office, but nothing was done about the situation. Eventually, Brothers was fired over what the BEA claimed was financial misconduct. She filed her complaint in 2008 against the Association.
No one knows why Brothers took so long to file her complaint with the Human Rights Commission who later sided with Brothers over wrongful termination.
When Brothers was fired, Collier got her job and Murray noted that the association supported Collier’s insubordination.
Murray wrote that Collier still showed “a continuing, petty vindictiveness” toward Brothers that he said he found “appalling.”
Evidence was given to the board that claimed Collier told Brothers her fair skin was a “barrier” to Black people and that she was “too light skinned to officially represent them because she wasn’t Black enough.”
Brothers said she was happy with Murray’s decision despite being fired over discrimination.
“I don’t think there is anything else to say, the facts are the facts and I am happy with the decision,” Brothers told the Toronto Star.
The Black Educators Association in Nova Scotia, Canada was created in 1969 to help those in the Black community receive better and more equitable educational opportunities.