People like us don’t progress in pharmacy

 

I am an Indian female and I feel that I have experienced racism in the workplace.

 

Not every incident I have experienced in my career as a pharmacist was a direct racist comment or remark, but it has still made me feel inadequate and not equal.

 

In pharmacy, there is diversity in ethnicity but when you look at the more senior pharmacists, the majority are not of an ethnic minority.

 

I was given opportunities to progress and even encouraged to apply for these positions, only to be told I was ‘not appropriate’ and ‘would lose out to a white person’.

 

I have seen many of my colleagues go through the same. This has driven me away from pharmacy and has led me to look for roles where I would feel valued.

 

I have always wanted to progress and have had high career aspirations. My father and other family members are all pharmacists. They recently sat me down to tell me that people like “us” do not progress like those who are white.

 

“Do not get your hopes up”, my father said.

 

They explained that they had formed these opinions based on past experiences. The conversation made me incredibly determined to prove this wasn’t true.

 

Despite my determination to prove them wrong, as I have progressed through my career in pharmacy I have arrived at the conclusion that they were right all along.

 

I have kept an open mind and even moved sector. Throughout I have felt that some white colleagues looked at me as this young female Asian girl who doesn’t know what she is doing.

 

Colleagues would snide comments and jokes about me to try and lighten the situation. This obviously just caused anger and hurt. It made me distrust those particular colleagues and ultimately drove me to continue to look for new jobs.

 

My dad is a community pharmacist who has served his community for over 30 years. He has had many customers come in talking about immigrants taking away jobs, and he has to tell them that he was an immigrant and explain how he had added value to the country. Most people will reply as follows:

 

“Oh I don’t mean you, I mean those…“

 

… and would go on to describe another person of colour who they feel is:

 

“taking their jobs”.

 

So yes, racism is alive and well in pharmacy and it needs to stop.

 

I would like to see a situation that ensures that those people from ethnic minorities are given the same opportunities as others and that they receive equal pay. I would also like to see more support to people when they feel uncomfortable about speaking to their managers about feeling singled out.

 

I will continue to have hope.

 

The author of this article wishes to remain anonymous.

 

Pharmacy in Practice will be covering this topic in the coming months. If you have a story to tell please get in touch by filling in the form below. 

 

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PIP editor

A pharmacist led training provider.

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