Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The "Race Card"...

There has been no national news event to inspire this post.

Nor has there been any quote by any national figure that has caused me to address this subject.

This is a belief that I have long held, and still believe to be true. So before you label me a racist for what I am about to say, consider these few facts about me...

I work with a predominantly black group of people.

I have more black friends in Florida than white ones.

I firmly believe that black people have as much (or more) potential for success as white people do.

I also firmly believe that black people posess a wisdom and a form of common sense, or "street smarts", won through hard times and rough experiences that white people lack, for the most part.

I believe that God himself makes no distinction between human beings, regardless of their race, or skin color. God made black people, and God made white people. He loves us all equally.

I have the utmost respect for people of African-American heritage, as long as they try to reach their own personal greatest potential.

I also have no use for a slacker, no matter what color his skin may be.

There is a driver that I work with who has missed twenty-one days of work since January first.

He has wrecked or scuffed or scraped or mechanically compromised every vehicle that he has ever sat in (that I know of), from the tractor/trailer that I drive every day, to his own personal pickup truck.

Less than a month after he was hired, he picked a fight with another driver who had been there almost a year, and the other driver was fired, and he stayed on.

Last week, he LOST over Five Thousand Dollars worth of material off of his trailer, and said that he "didn't FEEL like going back to look for it." For this transgression he got a mild slap on the wrist, consisting of a "write-up slip" from management.

Today he showed up wearing a Polo Shirt bearing the company logo rather than his usual work uniform shirt,(something that I have been asking about for over a Year now, and have been told that they are "too expensive" to give to drivers...) and nobody seems to know where, or from whom he got it.

Two different days last week, I watched this driver come in from his first run, (We all are day trippers where I work, pulling one or two loads a day...) at around Two O'Clock in the afternoon, clock out , and go home, while the rest of the drivers had to work until around Seven.( From five-thirty or six in the morning...) you think that this is a white driver?



Middle eastern??


He is a black man. African-American. Pigmentally Gifted. Whatever you want to call him.

And I believe that he recieves preferential treatment and leniency because of his race, And/ or because management believes that if he is severely punished, he will play he "race card", and try to sue the company.

And he is one of the first people to tell you how bad black people have it in America.

He has to pay child support on four children, whose mother he is no longer married to.

He also has a wife who he has to provide for.

He has a truck payment. (I don't own a new truck...)

He has a house payment. (I don't own a new house...)

It looks to me like his problems are the result of the decisions that he has made over the course of his life, and not because of the color of his skin...

I went to the same schools as black kids, theoretically got the same education. I work the same job (exactly) as the seven black men with whom I work. The main difference between black people and me is that when I got ready to go to college, there was financial aid and other economic advantages for blacks that were not available to me, because I was white, and my parents made just a little too much money. Not enough, mind you , to make any difference in our lifestyle, just enough to disqualify me from any help with my education.

I am not complaining, I am only stating facts.

Consider this for a minute...

What if for a period of ten years, no black person signed up for any form of government financial help?
What if, for a period of ten years, EVERY black person in America only had sex with his or her own spouse. No pre-marital sex, no "out of wedlock" children, no homosexuality, no adultry.
What if no black person for this ten year period committed any crime of any kind?
No drugs, no prostitution, no theivery, no murder, no drunk driving, no gun crimes, no nothing.
What if every black person in America paid attention in school, got the best education that they could possibly get, and absolutley made the most of themselves?
What if every black person in America tried their best to be as articulate as they could be, no more "Ebonics" or "Rap Lingo," no excuses?(English is the language of JOBS and SUCCESS in America, like it or not.)
What if every black man in America for this ten year period respected his woman (wife) and children and put them on a pedistal, to be the most important thing, bar none, in his life?
What if, for this ten year period, every black person in America got the very best job that they could land, showed up on time every day, and while they were there, gave their very best effort to get that job done, no matter what the job was?
What if, for this ten year period, every black person did whatever he or she could do to help their fellow man, regardless of skin color?
What if no black person tried to hide behind their skin color to make up for their own personal shortcomings?
What if , for this ten year period, every black person faced up tho his or her own responsibilities?
What if for a period of ten years, no black person played the race card?

If they did this as a group, black people would be the only group of people in America to do it across the board.

Black people would be running this country in ten years time if they would only do these few things. Employers would pass over qualified white people in order to hire a black person, because black people would have such an excellent reputation as good, honest, reliable, trustworthy workers.

The police would ignore black people and look for people of other races as the perpetrators of crime in America.

In only ten years.

Now tell me that black people have anyone but themselves and each other to blame for their problems...

Tell me that I am wrong...


Erudite Redneck said...

No arguments from me on this one.

I thought you were gonna go on about how the Dems have made blacks endentured political servants or something, though. Glad you didn't.

I mean, I think you're ON to something with that -- with the whole "Dems need to keep blacks down for use as a political constituency" argument -- but until the Repubs do something for blacks, and other minorities, they sure as heck have no incentive to change parties. That's just the nature of politics.

But I am absolutely with you on this post. Sounds like the jerk needs a good ol' country ass-whupping.

Toad734 said...

Wrong on some of the issues; in your argument you have exposed a paradox in your logic.

You said that you went to a school with a lot of black people and therefore they have the same opportunities as you, but then later you acknowledged that they have a high rate of broken homes, that they are watched by police, not watched over by the police, did no drugs, showed up to work on time etc.

The fact of the matter is that they are scrutinized by the police more than you are, a lot of them come from uneducated single family homes, they have drugs on every corner of their neighborhoods, they have shittier cars that break down on the way to work, they have 4 kids with no father, which means they are late to work when one is sick.

I went to school and hung out with black people too, the difference is that I lived in a working class white neighborhood and they lived in the projects that were a half mile down the road. Simply going to the same school has little to do with your chances of success.

And I have to point out that it's your companies fault for not firing this guy, it's not his fault. If I worked at a job that allowed me to do what I wanted and come and go as I pleased, I would do what I wanted and would come and go as I pleased.

You are insinuating that every problem a black person has stems from personal choices; I can tell you are wrong. My girlfriend works for the Chicago Public Library near little Italy and UIC. Also in her district are housing projects. The kids whose parents are professors, the Italian, Chinese and Polish kids and the black kids from the projects all go to the same schools, but who are the ones that are always in trouble? Take a guess. That’s not because these 8 and 10 year olds have thought their actions through and decided to be bad kids, they are typically just a product of their environment; Is it their parents (singular) fault they are this way; partially, is it societies fault; partially, is it their fault; partially, is it the Librarians and cops fault that they are watched more closely and judged harsher than the Chinese kids; partially. There is no one answer to these problems.

Also take a drive through Appalachia some time and ask yourself the same questions of all the poor shoeless, uneducated, drunk, meth head white people you see.

Xena76 said...

Toad, I think that you intentionally miss the point on every post. I don't know if I can even list it all. A couple of issues stick out to me though.

No one forces anyone to live in the "projects" or in an area where crime and drugs are prevalent. In fact, even those areas could be improved by decisions made by those living there to clean it up. Cops, I believe, would help with that project if the residents took initiative.

My black students, hispanic students, asian students, white students, all of them get the same opportunity FOR an education. That does not mean they get the same education. How much of that they take from me is up to THEM. I can't force them to learn anything, though try as I might. The fact is, there are more scholarship and OJT opportunities for black students than any other group, and yet they they don't take advantage of it. The reason is the opinion they hold of education and what is stressed at home.

Many of my students and their parents have learned that if they throw the word "racist" out there they get what they want. It is the most ridiculous situation I can imagine. I believe that is what is going on with the worker mentioned in the post. The company is so afraid of the word "racist" that he gets his way. And maybe they should be afraid of that word. It seems they are racist, just not in the way most people expect.

Toad734 said...

So isn't it the companies responsibility to fight it? In a court of law an accuser still has to make a case, he can't just say something and make it so. If that was the case I would accuse Bill Gates of raping me and I would sue him for millions of dollars.

And Xena are you sure they are all getting the same education from you? You sound just a little racist to me. Thus you are exposing another point.

I do know what you are saying however, my girlfriend gets called a racist almost every day, but does that stop her from administering discipline and kicking someone out, or calling the cops when it is needed? NO. Why? Because proving someone is racist, or discriminating against another is a very hard thing to prove and neither her nor the city are too worried about it.

But again, you are putting the burden of "responsibility" on an 8 year old kid. The law says they aren't legally accountable for anything until they are 18, so why do you draw the line at 5 years old? Are you saying that 10 year olds should know that if they fail the 4th grade that it may lead to a domino affect which ruins their life, especially considering the fact that they don't have the types of parents, money, houses, and education as white kids?

What you are saying is that it’s the 10 year old kids fault and it was his personal choice to have shitty parents. That is simply not true. And yes, the 10 year olds who live in projects are forced to live there. Don't blame them.

tugboatcapn said...

Toad, there is no flaw in my logic.

If no black person committed any crime for ten years, the police would stop watching them.

If every black person made education their number one priority for ten years, then they would get better jobs and better cars and better living conditions than white people.

By the way, your attack on Xena was a little un-called for. She offers the same information to each and every student in her classroom. If some get it and some don't, it is because some pay attention and do their work, and some don't. (and this distinction does not always present according to racial lines, but usually.) So yes, the choice to succeed and learn absolutley rests upon the kid. And rightly so. She teaches high school. If a child cannot understand that he has to do his work and respect authority by the time he is 16, then he cannot expect to be successful regardless of his race.

As far as the company fighting the racism issue, at this point it is just easier for them to give the driver I was refering to what he wants than to defend themselves in a law suit. I don't like it, but I understand it.

FrenziedFeline said...

Have to agree with you. My husband is always telling me about problems at work with people they want to fire. Many times, they're simply afraid to fire an unproductive worker simply because they'll cause problems, whether it's race or gender.

The whole "cry racist" to get your way if something goes wrong can backfire. One simply has to interview enough applicants to find one more qualified than another. If a black person is perceived as a potential problem, which many are, thanks to their fellow race members, the employer can interview more people and then argue that they found someone more qualified, just so they don't have to hire the black person they think might cause trouble.

In my husband's case, he has the luxury to actually hire the most qualified for his staff, which he does, regardless of race or gender. His company is a government contractor, as well as private, so they MUST have quotas. The thing is, around these parts, the hispanics are so numerous in the shop, they meet their "minority" quota without trying. If you want one of the "cushy" office jobs in his company, you better know your stuff. They're not afraid to fire anyone.

FrenziedFeline said...

Just a clarification--DH's company isn't afraid to fire anyone, as it seems I said in the first paragraph. What I meant by "they," is employers in general.

Clear as mud now? ;)

Mark said...

OK. This is a subject that I have been careful to stay far away from. Very few subjects are more inciteful than this, but let me offer my take, as someone who actually lived in the projects among Blacks, Mexicans and Chinese.

I lived in What Kansas City calls "Public Housing" after I lost my job, and subsequently, my house and car. My next door neighbors to the north were Black. My next door neighbors to the south were black. 2 doors down was a family of Hmongs, a tribe from China. 2 doors down the other direction were more blacks. the entire neighborhood was rife with gangs, although the majority of the parents were good hard working people. But it only takes one bad apple to spoil the whole bunch. My neighbors directly to the north were very decent God fearing people, as were the Chinese people next door to them.
On the other side of me, however, was a woman who's entire day consisted of sitting outside her front door complaining about how sorry her life was. She had been on welfare for her entire life. Se was in her 40's. I don't think she ever worked a day in her life. She was black. Next door to her was my son's best friend, and his family. They were black. The father was a lazy no account that drank constantly, was usually drunk or stoned on Marijuana. Occasionally he would get a job, but as soon as welfare office found out he was working, he'd make some excuse to quit. His mother worked whatever job woud hure her usually some low wage job, and she also often found trivual reasons to quit. She was a very nice person but she played the victim for all it was worth. This is what social services creates.
I wanted to work, but had trouble finding jobs in my area, because I am white, male, and over 40. believe me, I have seen proof of people much less qualified than me being hired who were black, or female or both and in their 20's, while I was told there were no openings. My own daughter was hired at a job that I had over 10 years experience at, and had applied for, only to be told there were no openings. I aced their pre employment test too. She didn't.

Don't ever tell me that minorities are discriminated against. Yes, they were once, but not anymore.

Mark said...

I forgot to add, my son's friend, and his sister and little brother were extremely bright and very good students who won awards and made the honor roll at school every semester.

Their father, paradoxically, would not accept less from them, and they obeyed him. I concede that he was a pretty good father, but shortly before I moved out of that neighborhood, his oldest son was beginning to show the effects of his father's attitude. I hope he overcame the disadvantage. He was a good kid.

rich bachelor said...

Since I don't even know where to begin with this one, 'Hmong' is one of the two languages (the other one is called 'Lao') spoken in Laos. They are not a 'tribe in China'.
I agree with a fair amount of what was said by the conservatives on this one-yes, your choices are your own, past a certain point-but I also agree with Toad, who reminds us that sometimes the very forces placed above us in society (i.e. law enforcement) will discriminate against one, regardless of personal choices, causing one to feel that personal choice is actually not really all that important. Therefore, sorry about yer work situation, Cap'n. I've been there too. But to make it into any sort of greater statement about society is just, well...

Toad734 said...

RE Mark

Again, good points but look at how many white people where in those project compared to the black people. Look at where the majority of the black people in this country live compared to the white people and tell me there is equality. I am not saying that some of those conditions aren't self induced by the people who live there but that doesn't mean that their children are to blame.

My main point is that not everyone has the same oppurtunities, and those divisions usually follow racial divides.

I also have to point out, with my white trash upbringing, that there are plenty of white people who don't work because they know their welfare will get cut off, as there are just as many white people on public assistence as there are black people.

Didn't you see Million Dollar Baby?

Erudite Redneck said...

And besides that, when I saw your headline, Tug, I thought you were have the lineup for Sunday at the Brickyard!

tugboatcapn said...

ER, that's funny!

Mark said...

'Hmong' is one of the two languages (the other one is called 'Lao') spoken in Laos. They are not a 'tribe in China'.

Really. Well that would be news to one of my co workers, who is a Hmong, and speaks excellent English and told me with his very owwn personal mouth that Hmongs are a tribe in China.
I asked. He informed. I think I would believe he who is a Hmong over someone who isn't one.

tugboatcapn said...

Toad, there are black people who work with me who live in quarter of a million dollar houses. These people grew up in the slums of Ybor City and College Park in Tampa.
Don't tell me that the conditions under which anyone grew up limit their potential for success.
It simply isn't true.
Anyone in America can succeed and can go as far as they want to go, according to how hard they are willing to work, and how much time ,effort, and money they are willing to invest in themselves.

Toad734 said...

Ok, he took his actual rap sheet down but you can read this to get an idea of what is on it:

If my brother was black, he would have behind bars years ago. He has felony narcotics, assault on an officer, gun, and theft charges and has never been sentenced to jail time. If a black kid gets caught with a bag of weed he goes to jail for 2 years.

That is not equality.

Daffy76 said...

But when the black kid gets out of jail, he will have the same chance to rebuild his life or throw it away that your brother does. Where did that come from in the first place?

Tug's point is that people who are smart enough will overcome the odds and those who are stupid enough to get caught up in life-destroying lifestyles will not. The issue is not how much jail time someone gets for smoking pot. The issue is whether or not a person raised in the kind of enviroment you're talking about is smart enough to avoid pot in the first place. The reason that they should know to avoid these things is because they have been victims of the kind of destruction they cause. Sure, little kids cannot help where they grow up. But there is an age at which people become responsible for their own actions.

Sure, it's not fair for some black kid to spend two years in prison for having a bag of weed while your brother goes free. But let's look at the consequences. If that kid goes to jail for it, when he gets out, will he do it again? Maybe, maybe not. But that choice is up to one person--the kid. Will your brother do it again? Probably. And that is his choice as well.

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