When times get hard and pressure builds one of the most difficult things for a person to do can be just keeping your head straight. Pressure can do strange things to people causing folks to get raw and overly sensitive about so many things. In such situations just being clear and seeing exactly what is in front of you can be the most important thing to do. Just staying calm, centered and focused on the task at hand, is often all that's necessary.
We go through such situations all the time, and for me one such situation happened during and extended period between 2003 and 2006. I was getting a degree in a pretty time intensive major and had my one goal as attaining that degree come what may. As it turned out "what may" came and then some.
I ended up getting harassed for my race combined with other stuff, but mostly it was racial, as if I was of another race I would not have been harassed for that same thing. It was just after 9-11 and my race is basically biracial as my dad was from India and my mom is originally from England. I can easily be mistaken for Middle Eastern, even though India isn't in the Middle East and obviously neither is England.
But you can't usually sit down and have a rational discussion with fear and/ or crazy, and certain people within the degree program I was in turned out to be both to a degree. It seemed to emanate from one professor originally, but he pulled in a small group of ignorant posing as patriotic folk that the professor could basically tell any lie he wished to about me and they'd buy it. He recruited them when his efforts didn't deter me from continuing in the program which was his goal, or so I thought at the time.
When their efforts also proved not up to snuff, the people harassing me would force others that wanted to just stay out for whatever reasons or thought it was just wrong, to participate. They would force them through harassment, dropping grades or the threat of flunking. To assuage them once they had them pinned down, they sort of handed out bonuses in the way of grades improving again certain conditional guarantees for struggling students, etc.
Things got really stressful in my little corner of the classrooms, as of course there was no reprieve for me. It was leave or face the heat. But, the only way I could afford college was through a scholarship I had that was for four years, required I go straight through without stopping and of course maintained a certain GPA. I couldn't just transfer because the program had a unique four year curriculum and most other similar programs in other colleges had five year curriculums and those that were four year curriculums had their own unique design and focus.
Further, I could barely afford college with loans and the scholarship while having moved back in with my mother to cut costs, and being forced to quit my full time management position with a retail store. Moving out of state even if there were a similar program - which there wasn't - just wouldn't be feasible. The harassment gradually built so initially I felt I could handle it, let it roll off my back and basically tough it out. For me either way though that school and that degree program were it, I couldn't afford to quit. I was going to sink or swim no halves.
In my senior year things took a strange turn when after telling a classmate that had participated in the harassment and sometimes planned it, but also pretended at times to sympathize with me, that I intended to complain and potentially sue. In any other circumstance I would have stayed away from him once he did that, but I needed to graduate and it was a small program and often parts of the required the assignments were given out to one or two people then disseminated from there throughout my graduating class. I used him like I could see he was using me. In other words I never got too close, though it still hurt when he would switch on me.
However, it turned out to be much deeper. After failing repeatedly to get me to change my mind he told me he worked for law enforcement in an undercover capacity and had been on the campus I was attending college for eight years. He said the work he had been involved in could be uncovered if I went public and pointed to others in the class that he said were also undercover law enforcement personnel. For some of the names he mentioned, it immediately made sense, however the amount of them seemed odd and excessive.
Thirteen years prior to coming to that university I had been involved in an unfortunately violent student protest against apartheid in 1990 on another college campus. So given 9-11 it made sense at least one or two were there watching me.
Actually I would have had no problem if it were just that, but the harassment made no sense. They could have simply denied my application and they didn't. They instead chose to let me in and harass me using taxpayer dollars - someone who according to their own words was a dangerous threat.
Thank God I wasn't some unbalanced person for the safety of the tens of thousands of students that can be on campus at any given time at that particular very large state school. Why would law enforcement do such a thing? Why would they engage in such reckless behavior? Nowadays with all the scandals it doesn't always seem so farfetched. Even the secret service of the USA as it turns out have many corrupt and dirty employees within their ranks. But the time I am referring to was just after 9-11. We were counting on law enforcement for stability and safety. This is how they behaved in a place teeming with the innocent, with those needing to be protected?
Up until that point I treated that person, his name was Ed, as a person I liked, but used because it felt he was using me and wasn't going to stop. I had no choice, so from that point on he was a dirty cop to boot, but I treated him the same - like a person that I would use to survive as he had done to me. I don't like using people and still felt some friendship towards him, though there really was none, but in that situation to survive I had no choice. It still leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth, but life isn't always made of sweet things.
What I learned also was that if and when you find yourself in a situation similar to the one I was in where you're facing harassment and are just trying to survive to get on with it and get out, then you need to be always aware of people like Ed. There can be no real trust or friendship with a person like that. In fact, it's safe to say they probably don't really understand trust and have trust issues themselves. What other people would sign up for a career where you spend all your waking hours gaining people's trust just to betray them at a moment's notice and sail them right down the river?
These aren't good people. Whether in a professional capacity like Ed, or a volunteer, they are breaking the law and most find some measure of gratification out of it. They are like purse snatchers, drug dealers and pimps doing what they do to break the law and trying hard not to be caught and will do anything not to be caught.
If what they were doing were righteous and good, they would not have to hide it. It would be simply outright, but it isn't and the people where I was and I'm sure where others are in similar harassment circumstances are always hatching schemes that involve them leaving no evidence so as not to get caught. Career pimps like pimping, career drug dealers like dealing drugs, career muggers like mugging, serial rapists like raping, serial killers like killing, dirty cops like believing they have a license to do crime and people like those participating in harassment like doing what they do and creaming the benefits of breaking the law and not getting in trouble for it. That of course isn't to say, people that have committed certain crimes outside of rape and serial murder can't stop say pimping or selling drugs, etc and be perfectly normal people.
Whatever the case, for those in similar situations, people like that, like Ed, can never be your friends and anyone that participates, never be fooled into believing they are your true friend, for whether due to pressure or because they enjoy it, chances are they will turn like Ed. They have ulterior motives they just happen to be good at hiding. There are good and bad cops they don't necessarily have to be police to be that way either and.
For example, my brother is a DJ in the underground electronica scene and knows many people in that scene. He was telling me about this one DJ he was talking with, also in the scene that has an image within the community of being all about peace and love and spreading such feelings. Let's just say the DJ he was conversing with for the sake of anonymity has a promotion company called "Awake productions."
He had people believing that this meant "awakening" to love, peace, bliss etc through the music he played and who he was. One day my brother was hanging out with that other DJ and that DJ told him people think the "Awake" symbolizes the ideas mentioned earlier, but that in fact they were wrong. He said, what the Awake really stands for was his feeing of superiority that he was more awake than other people and those that weren't as awake as he, can be indiscriminately taken advantage of, ripped off, swindled etc. He covered it with the veil of peace, unity, love, bliss, etc, but in fact it was a way for him to aggressively take from people and use them as often as possible, with the idea that they weren't as "awake" as he as his excuse. He felt if they couldn't see what he really was, penetrate his veil, they deserved it. Those that could, he along with certain others that work with his company slandered and smeared. The "Awake" meant I'm looking to screw folks over.
So like that, there are people unfortunately that see themselves as simply having the right to hurt and take from other people for their own gain and nothing else. I don't refer to healthy competition say in the workplace or academically etc. Not the normal stuff between normal healthy people, but people that basically if you really knew what they were, you would stay away and try to keep them far away. They are good at hustling and swindling, but deep down underneath it they are people that cannot entirely relate emotionally and empathize with others like you or I, they may be even a little autistic or something, not that autism makes a person bad of course. It's as though they were a machine with a component missing.
It's just what they are. They can be anyone and race, creed, nationality, religion, lifestyle have no bearing. But when you meet someone like them remember that, no matter how good they are. Once the mask has come down and you have been shown the face, you only have yourself to blame if you allow them in from that point on. They just aren't good people no matter how well they fake it. They wouldn't even know where to start.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com.
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