Rachel Brothers, a biracial teacher in Nova Scotia, Canada lost her job with the Black Educators Association because she ‘wasn’t black enough’.
She was awarded $10,200 last week after the Chairman of the Board of Inquiry at the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission ruled that she was discriminated against because of the color of her skin.
Murray, who was appointed by the chief justice of the provincial court to hear the case, said Brothers was undermined by association staff who created a “toxic work environment” at both the Annapolis Valley regional office and the Halifax office with their “colourist thinking” and behaviour.
Murray said Brothers lost her job at the association in part because of decisions the association made in which her skin colour was a factor, “and the problems that her skin color had created in her office for another…employee.”
He wrote: “Ultimately, the injury to be compensated is the injury to Ms. Brothers’ dignity and self-respect.”
The report said Brothers was undermined by her subordinate, Catherine Collier, who had applied for the same job Brothers landed. Brothers later hired Collier.
“It is clear to me that Ms. Brothers was undermined in part because she was younger than, and not as black as, Ms. Collier thought Ms. Brothers should be,” Murray wrote.
He went on to say, “In Ms. Collier’s eyes, Ms. Brothers was not really black enough.”
Murray said rather than being offended by Collier’s comments about Brothers’ skin colour, “too many of the staff made efforts to excuse them, or to contextualize them, or to even shrug them off as no big deal.”
How unfortunate is it that the woman responsible for Rachel’s termination is the same woman Rachel gave a job to?
Let this be a lesson to be mindful of to whom you extend a hand — you never know when a person will take that hand and use it to pull you down.