The Many Faces of Discrimination

I’m yet to meet someone who openly admits to discriminate against a person or a specific group of people.  As our culture  evolved, less and less groups may be discriminated against and a new expression was born: “Politically correct.”

Politically correct, doesn’t mean discrimination disappeared overnight or  slowly. Perhaps, it only means  it is “whispered about,” instead of “screamed out loud!”

In a country like ours, also known as “the melting pot,” the concept of discrimination should logically not even exit.  Unless one is Native American, we, or our ancestors, came here from elsewhere, for some reason, at one time or another. Yet, more than ever, the topic of discrimination is passionately debated, to admit the least.

As a first generation immigrant, I often wondered what’s “the big deal?”  I am still debating in my own mind, and decided to write about it in hopes by the time I am finished writing this post, “clarity,” or at least more understanding of the true roots of this serious issue, would become more obvious.

Who are those discriminated against?

Legally, in our culture we make a written statement on all documents that there is NO discrimination based on age, race, sexual preference, sex, disability, etc.

However, daily we hear news and  watch images of violence directed against certain groups just because they don’t conform to certain norms of acceptable. Often, we know or hear about people who were not hired because of their age or a disability, or were fired just as they were about to reach the age to qualify for certain benefits or retirement.

If life were as generous with you, as it were with me, you might even have known a person who was secretly going through the process of changing their gender. People who presented themselves as men for their 9 AM- 5 PM jobs and transformed themselves in ladies to go out of the house after dark for fear the neighbors would discover their secret.

Recently, I watched “The Imitation Game,” a historical thriller starring  Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of Alan Turing, the cryptananalyst whose work, and his team’s, during  World War II saved the lives of approximately 14 million people. Alan Turing was gay  when in England to be gay was still considered  a crime. He was given the choice to either go to prison or subject himself to hormonal therapy. He chose the latter and after a year completed suicide…His work saved the lives of millions, but no one saved his!

Volumes could be written about racial discrimination, disability, gender, but I am not aware of much having been discussed about  discrimination against a white,  educated   woman  who legally  immigrated from Europe to the United States. No one, to the best of my knowledge even thinks of such a possibility! One might be tempted to think such a person is privileged.

I might have never thought discrimination against such a person existed but I am  one of these people and my experiences of a life-time are factual.

I remember, when I was successful at my first job, which involved public speaking, and although bilingual, I have an accent, my boss’ remark was:

“When I hired you and your accent, I gambled! I thought, if the audience likes ‘IT” (my accent and me!!!) that’s great! If not, I’ll fire her!”

When a few years later I told him I was expecting a baby, he said:

” Well, that teaches me a lesson, never to hire women of child-bearing age!”

One might consider these comments insignificant, perhaps I was too sensitive, and may be compared to the horrific way other groups and people are discriminated against, what has happened to me throughout my life, pales. Not so with the event which triggered my intense thoughts about discrimination. Here is the story:

My neighbor rushed me in the E.R. of a major hospital.  The first reaction of a medical professional working in the triage  where I was rushed was to tell my neighbor,

“May be she speaks like this because she is not from here.”

He assured this medical professional I did know English  and that was not the way I spoke when I didn’t have a stroke!

The neurologist arrived in time and the miracle drug hPA was given to me. A drug which completely reversed my symptoms ONLY  BECAUSE IT WAS GIVEN within an hour from the start of the stroke’s symptoms!

In other words, if my friend was not there to speak up for me, I could have been misdiagnosed and in the best case scenario died, in the worst, become a vegetable, in a nursing home, for the rest of my life!






A combination

Has anyone thought that an European, educated woman, could have lost her life because she had an accent and someone, in the triage of an ER was BLINDED by their habit to discriminate to such a degree that  the symptoms of a stroke could have been missed?

As I  hoped,, I gained some clarity on  this topic:

I conclude that in truth, discrimination is not about the people or the groups discriminated against, but about those who have so little education, such huge egos and narrowness of minds to not understand that the world doesn’t start and end with them and their values.

As the story illustrated,  anyone could be discriminated against! It could be anyone, anywhere!  Be proud of who you are and live your lives with purpose and in peace!

Rodica M.








Freedom, Home and All Kinds of Deaths

The dying woman had been barely breathing for weeks.

Her face blended in the perfect white of the cotton sheets, yet, every morning, the around the clock nurses, washed her and with care, applied lipstick on her otherwise cracked, expressionless lips. From a distance, it looked as if she vomited blood, but as one went closer, the illusion disappeared and was replaced by the reality of a perfectly contoured mouth.

Every morning, she opened her once beautiful blue eyes, looked around, and mumbled:

“Jesus, why am I still here?! Please, take me away!!!”

The process repeated over and over, until one morning her eyes stayed shut and the nurse didn’t paint her lips bright red. 

They all gave thanks to Jesus for having had mercy on her at last. He gave her the gift of a meaningful life and dignified death.


When I was five, or perhaps six, lacking adult supervision at home, many times, I played in the yard of the hospital where my mother performed eye-surgeries every Tuesday.

For a city girl, playing in dirt, smelling the wild flowers and watching the intricate lives of bugs I didn’t know existed, was an unimaginable treat!

These particular insects were everywhere. On the bright green grass, moving slowly, I noticed these red bugs spotted with red specs. They were called God’s Cows… Unquestionably, their name was Vaca Domnului (God’s Cow) for a reason. I never questioned why, as I never questioned the origins of my own name. It just was.

That first Tuesday I observed the insects in freedom. By the time Tuesday came again, I decided it would be better for them to be safe! Not imprisoned, but safe! I brought with me a jar filled it with a variety of grass, wild flowers and a few crumbs… may be they ate crumbs, or grass or both. I even gave them a few drops of water and observed them… a day, two, three… tick, tick, tick… the sound of a clock, or was it their heart echoing from the jar. Did they have a heart? Never asked myself at the time, but I knew their new life, in the mini-Paradise I created must have been much, much better than their life in freedom, where danger was everywhere!  

After a while, inside the safe home I had created, next to the adult black and red God’s cows, I noticed tens of  transparent insects the size of moving dots. A miracle! I was witnessing a miracle! By then, I carried the jar with me everywhere, it had become part of me.

That evening, I went to sleep early, so that I could wake up at sun raise and watch the miracle whose creation I had helped.

In the light of the morning,  the miniature “home,”  the mixture of green, black and red and the transparent moving  dots seem even more magical! I looked closer. And closer! I froze; I wanted to scream but no sounds came out.

I called my mom. She looked at the jar and matter of fact said:

“All the adult insects are dead. I don’t know about this type of insects, but it seems, once their “babies” are alive, the parents die. Their purpose was to procreate… to… continue the species. Their mission was done, they have no other purpose to exist. Hurry up now, I’ll be late for work,” she said and gently guided me to the door.

I wiped off my tears, and jar in hand, we hopped on the tram which took us to the hospital where my mom worked on Tuesdays.

“Don’t leave the hospital yard, you know that, right? It is dangerous out there!” She  walked slowly toward the main entrance, turned around  and said to me:

” … and empty the jar. They belong in freedom.”   

That was when I knew why they were named God’s caws. I felt better.