I got this internship in the Marketing Department of a very large corporate company. They told me that they didn't have the funds to pay me but were still willing to take me on as an unpaid intern. Since the economy is bad, I decided to take it anyway. The first week I was there was pretty great, everyone was congenial enough and it didn't seem like a big deal. One day my boss, who was a good friend of mine from before, asked me to lunch. She said she wanted to have a conversation with me. The conversation started off like this:
"So you might have noticed that you're the only person who looks like you at the company.."
She went on to tell me how the company was ridiculously conservative and didn't hire minorities. They also didn't ever promote women, and the one woman that they did promote never had her ideas accepted. She went on to tell me that in the many years the company has been running, out of 6 different very large buildings, I was the first minority to ever be hired. My entire department had betting pools on how long I would last.
The biggest part of all of this was this: I didn't realize I was the only minority there! It never even occurred to me! I grew up in a small town where I was always the only minority in sight so it was never a big deal. I'm pretty much white-kid, anyway.
So i tried to continue on for a month, but couldn't do it. It was affecting my mental health and finally decided to resign gracefully.
I just found out that another friend recently got my old position. She's making $12 an hour. She's white.