What's YOUR Experience With Racism?

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Fletcher Christian
Fletcher Christian's picture

October 28, 2005

I pulled out in front of a police car while leaving a parking lot in Chicago.  I didn't see the car coming.  There was a side road to my immediate RIGHT, so when the cop car turned LEFT he was right on me.  It was my mistake.  The car didn't hit my car or anything, the "through" traffic was stopped at a light and I didn't even think of the traffic that could turn towards my direction.

After a few blocks the officer hit his lights and I pulled over into an alley.  He had his pistol drawn and yelled at me to get out of my car.  He told me to turn around and put my hands behind my back.  I complied without saying a word.

As soon as those cuffs hit my wrist... his gun hit my head!  I went down to my knees.  He then shoved his pistol into my temple and started screaming.  I can't really recall what he was saying because I KNEW that he was going to execute me, so I was praying.  I was praying so hard.  All I could do is pray for forgiveness and please dear God, don't let this guy kill me and my buddy (he was in the passenger seat).

Thankfully, he stopped. and then he and his partner escorted me to the back of his car.  I got yelled at some more.  Then they let me go without a ticket or warning, or anything else (except for the knot on my head).

Some folks are probably saying, "Hey!  Fletcher, this is just a case of 'road rage' and the jerk just happens to be a cop."  That's probably true.

Oh yeah, about every 5th word he was yelling at me was "Nigger".

True story.  Every word.

I've taken away that this is what it's like to be 100% helpless.  This is what it must feel like to be raped.  This incident had the immediate effect of severe depression on me for about a week.  Now when I look back on it, I get kinda angry.

I had an incident in Dallas, TX last summer while on vacation.  An officer pulled me over for NO reason.  He made me stand in the weeds for about 10 minutes and then GRILLED me with question after question.  Every answer that I gave was refuted by him.  See I must have looked like a terrorist because I had a "vacation" beard and I speak with a funny accent.  (I'm from Chicago-land.  You know, I sound like "Elwood Blues").  He asked if he could search my car and I said "yes".  After it was over, I gave him my business card and said that If he ever comes up to visit me... I'll be a lot nicer to him than he's being to me.  His response was, "You think I'm being mean to Yyyouuu?"  I called and complained after I crossed the border into Arkansas.  It went nowhere.

The days of my parents having friendly conversations with the local policeman at the diner are long gone.  My own little theory is that because almost everyone in the police are former military, they still think they're in war zones.  To this day, I fear the police.

Comments

DRC
DRC's picture
Driving Black Gospel singers

Driving Black Gospel singers dressed in Parade finery to a Naptown event while pale of skin really pissed off the cops doing security.  My ticket for failing to obey an order got thrown out of court by a Black judge because the Black Community leadership was ready to fight about it.  I have been able to intervene to stop some incidents such as you describe; but not without knowing full well what would have happened and has happened when the plantation peace officers are doing their job.

I agree that militarization has created a much worse situation, but the plantation police have been doing their job for a long time.  Only White people are shocked or surprised.  Glad you and your friend are alive.

jmacneil
jmacneil's picture
That's the way it's meant to

That's the way it's meant to be. Fear keeps people in submissive subjection. You know that is the official agenda because even that inconsiderate trash Clinton's response to societal problems was to put more soldiers on the street in police uniform. It's always add 50, 60 or 70,000 new cops instead of addressing the real problem. And lately those worthless buffoons are talking about preferentially hiring the recently discharged military to fill the roles of even firemen, which has got to be the anti-thesis of their profession given that firemen are a completely different breed than cops and soldiers are qualitatively a lesser breed than the fascist police forces. There's a reason why no one wants to hire former soldiers and that is because, no matter what their personalities were before their service in the military, after serving they are intrinsically changed for the worse. Mixing those type of indiscriminate killers in with a group whose sole preoccupation is saving lives serves no one's purpose except the criminal organization who can see the literal end times of their evil project inevitably approaching.

DRC
DRC's picture
If having more cops made

If having more cops made community policing instead of military occupation the way law and order was done, I would not take the more cops on the beat stuff so negatively.  The argument that there are not enough uniforms to walk or bike and that they need to drive around in cars instead does not make it easy to cut their budgets; but it also means we have to work with the pros who do want to be real peace officers and actually protect and serve the residents of the city.

I agree that hiring returned soldiers without giving them the rehab and decomissioning from warrior is a problem in any field.  The costs of war go on and on.

Zenzoe
That's such an outrage. I

That's such an outrage. I wish I had something to say to make you feel better, Fletcher.

Truth be told, I, a white woman, drove around my town for a year with an expired registration sticker, before a policeman noticed it and politely told me to get it fixed. In a similar instance, another year, I stopped at a light with an expired car registration sticker (maybe two months worth), and a policeman pulled up alongside me, gestured at me to roll down my window, then, again, told me to get it fixed. Well, I don't know if it's my race or my gender, but, seems to me that's the way everybody should be treated.

I did witness an instance of outrageous, violent discrimination once (in my opinion), when I was living in Solana Beach, a mostly upscale beach town in San Diego County.  I was on my way home at rush hour, stuck in traffic several cars behind a stop light. I noticed that the cops had a car pulled over on the right shoulder, and, just as I pulled to a stop, this big, burly cop yanked open the car door on the driver's side, grabbed the man, who turned out to be a small Mexican man, yanked him out of the car, then threw him violently across the hood of the car...but by that time the traffic had to move past the scene. So, I turned right at the light and went around the block to return, park, get out of my car and go up to the cop, who was standing there writing something by that time. I realize it was a dumb thing to do, but, I couldn't believe what I'd seen. It had "police state" written all over it. Anyway, he made me wait for a minute, but, once I had his attention, I gave him the lecture about "this is America...civil rights" & blah blah. But, there again, as a white, middle class woman, I could get away with lecturing a cop!  And he just smiled smugly, made some excuse, and told me I was free to make a complaint. No triumph there for me. 

The point I'm trying to make is that your America is not my America.  I see it. 

We have random police check points in my city now. I've complained to the police chief. I've exchanged emails with him on the subject of tasers too. I don't know what to do, except make noise.

D_NATURED
D_NATURED's picture
My experiences with racism

My experiences with racism are, as I've said, that of being a member of the only white family in a black neighborhood in East Cleveland, from the mid sixties to the early seventies. I was routinely called nigger too and not permitted in some of my friend's houses. I was assaulted a few times and was usually told that I couldn't come to the birthday parties and other kid events because I was white.

I also experienced racism in the words and deeds of my hillbilly relatives who shamelessly engaged in the worst kinds of hate speech and told the most offensive "jokes". There was and is no shortage of ugliness in this world.

As for the police, there are some people-often people who grew up in abusive households-who live in a binary state of master and slave. They feel comfortable with the idea that people are either authority figures, who are free to treat underlings however they like, or subjects who must lick boots.

I think those kinds of people are drawn to police work because it offers them a system of authority they can understand. They aren't there to judge, just to carry out the authority of the state, to punish the guilty. Because as representatives of the state, they're always in the right. It appeals to their desire for order because in abusive households, one must walk on egg shells and be very diligent to avoid punishment. In a sick way, the police state makes sense. Justice is delivered, like the hand of god, not measured in forgiveness.

They have entrance exams for the Police Academy and if you're too smart, you don't qualify. There is a certain task for which a certain tool is needed. Tyranny is a job best done by duly authorized minions.

Natural Lefty
Natural Lefty's picture
I had a friend who was beaten

I had a friend who was beaten up shortly after 9/11 for being a "Muslim." He also had his car checked for drugs another time by police for no reason. He was actually from Nicaragua, of native descent, and not a Muslim.

My own experience cannot compare with some of the other ones here, but one time, when I was with my wife and her family in a store in old town Temecula, the store owner said nasty things to me and my wife's family, calling me a Jewish so-and-so, and my wife and her family, Jap so-and-sos who were conspiring to take over the world in a financial coup. Actually, I am not Jewish at all although several people have said that I look Jewish, and my wife and her family are Taiwanese Chinese. If you knew of our finances, you would know that we are definitely not on the verge of taking over the world in a financial coup. LOL

My advisor in grad school was an African American women who is pretty militant. I am sure she could tell us some stories of racism, although she was more concerned about psychology and politics, and making a positive impact using psychology.

Laborisgood
Laborisgood's picture
My experience with racism is

My experience with racism is from a white suburban perspective of one born in the mid sixties.  Civil Rights and race riots are largely relegated to the history books.  However, I've always lived in the midst of racial migration and segregation due to my location (southern Cook County - Illinois).

My wife's family moved from their Chicago home when the wife was getting old enough to start school.  Nearly all of my childhood friends had a similar story of the white exodus from the city to the suburbs.  Eventually, the suburbs just outside of the city went through another white exodus which pushed further out to more distant suburbs.  If you look back and talk to the older folks, they often have similar exodus stories that took place within the city limits before the ones I am more familiar with.

There is a 12 year span between my oldest brother and my youngest.  Our high school was perhaps 20% black when my oldest brother went and it was 80% black when my youngest went.  It's long since been 100%.  During that time period, many of the parents in my neighborhood had some bright idea to put signs in their front yards (like a For Sale sign) that read, "We're Staying".  Needless to say, all of the people who put the signs in their yards left the neighborhood much sooner than those who didn't put up the signs.  My parents didn't put up a sign.

Just because my parents didn't put up a sign doesn't mean they were still not a little racist.  My parents were not nearly as outwardly racist as my wife's parents, they were just better at disguising it in front of the kids.  As racist as my father-in-law appeared in his choice of words, his actions towards all of this black neighbors would indicate otherwise.  He helped them out and swapped vegetables from the gardens.

I always saw black people moving to a better neighborhood as a good thing and a sign of progress as opposed to an invading force.  My biggest gripe was with the institutionalized racial steering which took place in the real estate business.  All the black folks were only shown homes in certain suburbs while the towns right next door were off limits.

I have far too many stories of racism and find it to be alive and well.  My best friend is a white firefighter in the black town we grew up in.  He and his coworkers remind me of the all-too-common racism that still exists.  Being on the white side of the issue keeps me insulated from the direct horror that Fletcher described although his story is unfortunately not that shocking to me based upon where I live.  It still exists, but I do believe you have to look at the long game and realize that over the past 2 generations there has been much progress.  Perhaps not enough, but progress nonetheless.

As Dr. King said, "The arc of moral history is long, but it bends towards justice."

 

rigel1
rigel1's picture
Here is my horror story.  I

Here is my horror story. 

I generally don't pick fights. I don't need enemies. But a black man at a previous employer took an immediate dislike to me. I can handle that, but he also overtly tried to sabotage my career. I can't handle that. I tried to figure out what his beef was. I asked him man to man and I got nothing. I asked my co-workers and I got nothing. One of them said: "I don't know what his problem is, but I can't believe how much this company expects you to take from this guy." One day he was in my face demanding an explaination about something I was working on. I was in no mood to be harrassed so I dropped my wrench stood up got in his face, and told him to leave me the hell alone. A manager saw the exchange and brought us to a room for a private meeting. The result?

Nothing happened to Russ. He was dismissed to go back to work. His plan had succeeded.

What about me? I got a write up, a file entry and  three days of remedial diversity training. My career never recovered. My three daughters suffered for this.

 Evil, cowardly stuff.

Fletcher, I am so sorry for what you had to go through! How awful.

DRC
DRC's picture
Stipulated as given: 

Stipulated as given:  assholery is beyond race.  Anecdotes are not evidence of racism, but I don't know about your employer or your relationship with others, etc.  This story is the reverse of the norm I have seen.

Laborisgood
Laborisgood's picture
rigel1 wrote: Here is my

rigel1 wrote:

Here is my horror story. 

I generally don't pick fights. I don't need enemies. But a black man at a previous employer took an immediate dislike to me. I can handle that, but he also overtly tried to sabotage my career. I can't handle that. I tried to figure out what his beef was. I asked him man to man and I got nothing. I asked my co-workers and I got nothing. One of them said: "I don't know what his problem is, but I can't believe how much this company expects you to take from this guy." One day he was in my face demanding an explaination about something I was working on. I was in no mood to be harrassed so I dropped my wrench stood up got in his face, and told him to leave me the hell alone. A manager saw the exchange and brought us to a room for a private meeting. The result?

Nothing happened to Russ. He was dismissed to go back to work. His plan had succeeded.

What about me? I got a write up, a file entry and  three days of remedial diversity training. My career never recovered. My three daughters suffered for this.

 Evil, cowardly stuff.

Fletcher, I am so sorry for what you had to go through! How awful.

Whenever I come across a fellow white person's tale of racism, I always insert a white person into the story and re-hash it while considering various alternate scenarios to help minimize the racial aspect of the story.  Often times race has nothing to with an incident between people of different races.

Your story seems to imply that Russ knew he could get away with what he allegedly did because he was black.  I'm curious what Russ' version of the story is.  Your version appears to be missing some key information.  You must have done or said something to make Russ want to plot, scheme and implement his evil plan of "reverse racism" upon poor unsuspecting Rigel who does nothing but spreads his sunshine on all the people he comes across.  Come on Rigel, fess up.  What did you do to Russ?

Of course, I don't know anything about Russ, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say that Russ is an asshole.  A black asshole at that, but even black assholes require provocation.  I do know something about you Rigel.  If you are nothing else Rigel, you are provocative.  You have a knack for rubbing people the wrong way, especially when those people are not conservative.  Is it possible Russ just got tired of hearing you spouting off your conservative crap in the lunchroom?  A man can only take so much.

As rock-ribbed of a conservative as you are, you must have a few stories of the racism of the typical graden variety where white people say or do mean-spirited and disrespectful things about black people.  But you wouldn't want to actually admit here in Thomville that things like that take place because it doesn't fit the storyline you're selling.  How convenient of you to have that one story to offer up to further solidify your ideology.  I can honestly say I've been immersed in racism for my entire life, BUT I can also say that over the span of my life, our society's race relations have improved.  So much so, that you could probably find a few credible stories of "reverse racism" out there.  Perhaps even yours?

In a recent thread of yours, another poster suggested not speaking to you any more.  I vowed to not speak to Rigel anymore, but here I am, I can do no other.  A man can only take so much.  I'm a man of faith Rigel and I truly believe things happen for a reason.  I pray that whatever suffering your daughters or your career may have experienced were only temporary and that justice was ultimately rendered upon you and Russ in accordance with the true facts of the incident.

Zenzoe
One long story short, for

One long story short, for what it's worth:

My daughter-in-law came here from Thailand when she was ten years old. Well, now she's forty-something, married to my son and, normally, quite a happy person. One day, she and I were on our way to out to lunch, when she and another driver each had to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision. It was unclear who had the right-a-way, and so she hesitated there, nose to nose with the other guy's car, unsure whether to back up or go forward. That's when the burly guy in the other car leaned out his window and yelled, "Out of the way, GOOK!"  Well, that did not go over well with my daughter-in-law, I can tell you that. I'm quite sure, if there had been a baseball bat in the car she would have used it on him. As it was, it took her about an hour to quench her tears and relax about it. That was the day I saw first hand just how deeply such a racist slur can scar a person.

rigel1
rigel1's picture
Laborisgood wrote: rigel1

Laborisgood wrote:

rigel1 wrote:

Here is my horror story. 

I generally don't pick fights. I don't need enemies. But a black man at a previous employer took an immediate dislike to me. I can handle that, but he also overtly tried to sabotage my career. I can't handle that. I tried to figure out what his beef was. I asked him man to man and I got nothing. I asked my co-workers and I got nothing. One of them said: "I don't know what his problem is, but I can't believe how much this company expects you to take from this guy." One day he was in my face demanding an explaination about something I was working on. I was in no mood to be harrassed so I dropped my wrench stood up got in his face, and told him to leave me the hell alone. A manager saw the exchange and brought us to a room for a private meeting. The result?

Nothing happened to Russ. He was dismissed to go back to work. His plan had succeeded.

What about me? I got a write up, a file entry and  three days of remedial diversity training. My career never recovered. My three daughters suffered for this.

 Evil, cowardly stuff.

Fletcher, I am so sorry for what you had to go through! How awful.

.  You must have done or said something to make Russ want to plot, scheme and implement his evil plan of "reverse racism" upon poor unsuspecting Rigel who does nothing but spreads his sunshine on all the people he comes across.  Come on Rigel, fess up.  What did you do to Russ?

Well you have read my posts here. You know first hand that I treat people decently. Generally better than I am treated myself. After two or three incendents I asked myself what did I do. I really did not know. So I asked Russ face to face. He had nothing to say. I asked several co workers and they had no idea why he seemed to be out to get me. But they did agree he had an issue with me. During one incedent my manager was standing close by and told Russ several times to back off. But this was the same manager who eventually sent me to diversity training. I asked him what exactly I did wrong. He used words such as "sensitivity" but refused to be specific. But I did exactly as you said. I tried like hell to find out how I offended Russ. It was in my best interest to find out and put it to rest before it affected my career. It's been six years and I still don't know.

My manager was simply a coward who took the easy way out. He had diversity numbers to meet and he definitely did not want to find himself involved in taking the side of a white man in a dispute. One of our mission statements was: To attract and retain qualified women and minorities." The goal was 40% and our GBU was nowhere near that. He did not want to upset the apple cart. This would have been difficult and would have taken a lot of guts. He was a world class wuss and hung me out to dry. And everybody who saw it knew it.

I'm not asking anyone to feel sorry for lil ole Rigel. I have had a fairly blessed life. But the topic of conversation is: What's YOUR Experience With Racism? I simply provided my input. Take it or leave it. Makes no difference to me.

 

DRC
DRC's picture
rigel, even when baptized as

rigel, even when baptized as black and when my black musician friends convinced other black people that I was black, there were some black people who could not get over the color of my skin.  I just forgave them for having experienced pain I could not expect them to ignore.  It is part of being in the midst of the process.  My black friends were more offended by the rejection than I was.

I hope this helps.  Part of equality is accepting that not every victim can become an angel.  We white guys need to own the problem instead of expecting others to see our virtue. 

Laborisgood
Laborisgood's picture
rigel1 wrote: I'm not asking

rigel1 wrote:

I'm not asking anyone to feel sorry for lil ole Rigel. I have had a fairly blessed life. But the topic of conversation is: What's YOUR Experience With Racism? I simply provided my input. Take it or leave it. Makes no difference to me.

Thanks for your input Rigel.  More important than our anecdotal stories, are the conclusions we draw from those experiences.  Your story reminds me of a friend I had when I lived in Oregon.  He made some blanket disparaging remark about black people as a whole and I called him on it (this was long before I started voting for Democrats).  His response was to tell me a story of how a black guy was befriended in college and eventually stole some things from he and other friends in the house they lived in.  That was the gist of his story.  Essentially, his conclusion was that 100% of all the black people he had ever been involved with personally had ill intentions.  He of course grew up in Beaverton and myself in one of the most highly black populated regions in America.  My conclusions from personal experience told me that a vast majority of black people do not have ill intentions and a whole lot of white people do.  We are all human and subject to the foibles of being human.

I suspect my friend would have come across some other racial experience to bolster his conservative ways which are likely more of a byproduct of having wealthy parents.  That's not to say that being wealthy guarantees a conservative ideology anymore than living in Chicago guarantees a positive racial mindset.  I do wonder Rigel, if your conservative ideology has been influenced at all by your experience with Russ.  Has that experience helped you conclude that our laws in America (specifically laws related to race and employment) are flawed and harming white people or did you believe that before the incident with Russ?  I am open to the idea that you don't think our laws are flawed and harming whitey and this Russ incident is just some anecdotal story that really has no meaning whatsoever?

Art
Art's picture
I don't know. None of us were

I don't know. None of us were there at Rigel's workplace. We've had a pretty good exposure to his attitudes toward workers. It's not hard to understand how some might be pretty put-off, and maybe even reactive. Noxious workers often face interpersonal challenges in the workplace. It could be a leap to assume that these conflicts have anything to do with race.

Laborisgood
Laborisgood's picture
I've long come to expect

I've long come to expect Rigel's stories to fit perfectly into his ideological framing.  They are like pages pulled from the Rigel playbook or scripted lines from a Rigel theatrical production.  The stories are always antiseptically void of the little inconsistencies and ambiguity that honest human stories typically contain.  As much as Rigel's stories don't ring true for me, I must accept Rigel's version of the Russ story at face value and ponder the bigger questions:

Did the incident with Russ cause Rigel to become more deeply entrenched in his ideology or was it just another convenient story to help justify his ideology?

Would Rigel like to share with the class any stories of racism that he as experienced where the white person in the story is not the victim and run the risk of undermining his ideology?

Why does Rigel put so much effort into beating his conservative drum in Thomville?

If Rigel really sees himself as the defender of conservatism against the mongrel horde of liberals and expects to win over some of the misguided people here, I think his scorecard reflects a lack of success.  I suppose this is more fun than interacting with fellow conservatives who just parrot back the same crap from the same conservative playbook.  Too much of that will only lead to serious reflection on the piss-poor state of the modern GOP.

Zenzoe
DRC wrote: Part of equality

DRC wrote:

Part of equality is accepting that not every victim can become an angel.  We white guys need to own the problem instead of expecting others to see our virtue.

O brave perception!  And it goes for sexism too, in my opinion. 

Garrett78
Garrett78's picture
When a dominant,

When a dominant, overprivileged group can use its dominant status to inflict harm, you get racism. This is why "reverse racism" is a canard. And why it's clear that people advocating for a "Men's Rights" Day are idiots.

Aside from observing how black and latino youth in my care have been shadowed in various stores, along with incredible disparities between suburban schools and urban schools such as the one I worked at in South Chicago, my experience - my very life experience - has a great deal to do with racism. Racism is not merely an isolated event that occurs at a particular moment in time, involving a victim and a perp. I am a recipient of undue privileges - that are the result of a racist attitude - and have been my entire life. Any white person (even a member of the economic underclass) who denies that is ignorant (willfully so or not).

Racism may be more covert than it once was (though certainly not entirely so, as the loved ones of Trayvon Martin - the victim of a modern-day lynching - would attest), but it has always been institutionalized. For instance, Social Security - an institution - did not apply to minorities or women for quite some time, one of many reasons why - to this day - there is a gigantic wealth gap between white households and persons of color households. Since wealth - keep in mind the difference between wealth and income - has so much to do with inheritance. This is the sort of thing people mean when they talk about the lingering effects of historical injustice.

Zenzoe
Garrett78 wrote: When a

Garrett78 wrote:

When a dominant, overprivileged group can use its dominant status to inflict harm, you get racism.

And sexism.  Not to change the subject, just a reminder.

(For attitudes towards rape to change, society needs to drop its sexual double standard

http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/03/16/for-attitudes-towards-rape-to-change-society-needs-to-drop-its-sexual-double-standard/   )

 

D_NATURED
D_NATURED's picture
Quote:Whenever I come across

Quote:
Whenever I come across a fellow white person's tale of racism, I always insert a white person into the story and re-hash it while considering various alternate scenarios to help minimize the racial aspect of the story.  Often times race has nothing to with an incident between people of different races.

If you minimize racism against white people, that too is racist. We are not genetically predisposed to racism more than other ethnicities and we are not automatically less deserving of fairness because we live as unwilling recipients of an unfair society.

In American society, the presumption that white people are racist is racist, and it is the flip-side of the coin that presumes black people to be inferior for other reasons. It is defining people along racial lines and you could insert as many people into my scenario as you like and those black people who victimized me as a child were still racist. Others weren't and saw the contradiction between their desires for themselves and their treatment of me and said something. They, the hated, stood up to hate and that is what more white people need to do.

Everybody has excuses to treat others like shit. I was surrounded by black people as a child who treated me bad, with the excuse that white people had treated them like shit. My mother was punched in the mouth with brass knuckles, knocked out, and had her purse stolen by a black guy, while a crowd of other black people stood there and watched, when I was about four. If I were racist, I would be one of the only white people I know with a good reason. If I were though, I would have to forget the many good black people I've known. It is for them I keep hope for the rest of us.

White people owning racism is not the answer, as it is a human problem not a white problem, and virtue is a result, not a desire. We all need to be more virtuous and create a result that is less racist by being a voice of reason to those who will listen to us and a physical barrier to those who won't. 

Somebody has to be the first, though, to go against their family and their neighbors. Those individual consciousnesses are the front line in this war.

 

Laborisgood
Laborisgood's picture
I can only speak from my

I can only speak from my white suburban perspective.  You have a unique experience to bring to the table D-Natured, as a white person deeply in the minority.  I'm not unfamiliar with people having come from that unique experience as well.  It's just not my personal experience.  I've always been in the flock of fleeing whiteys and not so much the ones who stayed behind.  Although my mom stuck around the last house much longer than most of her friends.  I agree that racism is not a white thing, it is a human thing.  I have many stories that can be considered racism or just ill experiences between those of different races, but how the people involved ended up in the long rune is the most inportant part of the story.  The people I've known as a whole have progressed more often than not, but there are still a whole lot of really awful racist people out there.

mdhess
mdhess's picture
This isn't my personal

This isn't my personal experience.  I have had my own experience, not with racism but with hate, but this is about a question that occurred to me when I saw this video on the news tonight:  What would the outcome be if the roles were reversed in the situation? If a seventeen year old black boy had shot a 28 year old white man would he still be free from arrest? What do you think?

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50121799n&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CBSNewsVideoISP+(ISP%3A+CBSNews.com)

Laborisgood
Laborisgood's picture
It's hard not to envision

It's hard not to envision reverse roles providing reverse results.  The same people who will be bending over backwards for justification of no incarceration for the white guy in this case would likely try just as hard to justify incarceration for the black kid if the roles were reversed.  Clearly there are details of the case we do not know, I pray that they all come to light and justice will be served.

mstaggerlee
mstaggerlee's picture
Does "religion-ism" count

Does "religion-ism" count here? What follows is a tale of both anti-semitism and near world-class stupidity.  When I was a boy of 11,back around 1965, we were the first Jewish family to buy a house in our neighborhood in New City, the county seat of Rockland County, NY.  Apparently, prior to World War II, Rockland County was known as the region of the Northeastern US where the Bund (the American Nazi Party) held their meetings.

When I was the "new kid on the block", one of the most popular, established kids in the neighborhood was the son of a former Nazi colonel.  Seems that family may not have been terribly happy to have "Juden" in the neighborhood.  Chris (their son closest in age to me)  would not accept me, and I became an instant outcast.

One Sunday evening, as we came home from visiting family down in New York City, I noticed some damage to the garage at Chris's house.  At the school bus stop on Monday, I also noticed that both of Chris's hands were in casts.  Later in the day, I got the story from another neighbor.

Seems that Chris and another kid were trying to build a pipe bomb, from copper tubing and kitchen matches.  The recipe is pretty simple - break the heads off a bunch of the matches and discard the sticks.  Drill a hole in the pipe for the fuse.  Close one end of the pipe, stuff the match-heads in  and close the other end.  Light the fuse, and RUN!

Well, when Chris & his pal built their bomb, after closing the 2nd end of the pipe, they realized that they'd forgotten the fuse hole - Oops!  Now here is where what I like to call the "genius factor" comes into play.  The other kid says to Chris "No problem ... I'll take this hammer & nail, you hold the pipe steady, and I'll drive the nail thru one side of the pipe to make a fuse hole!"  Chris agreed that this seemed like a good idea, and held the pipe steady on the garage floor with both hands, while the other kid tried to hammer the nail thru the side.  Tink, Tink, BOOOOOOM!  The other kid, whom I hadn't yet seen, had bad burns on his face, and eventually lost an eye, and Chris broke both hands, and also had some burns.

On Tuesday, at the bus stop, Chris came up to me, raised his casted hands, & said "If this hadn't happened to me, there'd be quite a big hole in your house, y'know."  My family and I were the intended target of their experiment in (what turned out to be, self-) destruction.

 

Laborisgood
Laborisgood's picture
I consider all prejudice the

I consider all prejudice the same.  We have such a rich history of racism in America that it seems to get it's own special category.  Exclusion for ill purpose is always wrong, isn't it?

D_NATURED
D_NATURED's picture
mstaggerlee wrote: Does

mstaggerlee wrote:

Does "religion-ism" count here? What follows is a tale of both anti-semitism and near world-class stupidity.  When I was a boy of 11,back around 1965, we were the first Jewish family to buy a house in our neighborhood in New City, the county seat of Rockland County, NY.  Apparently, prior to World War II, Rockland County was known as the region of the Northeastern US where the Bund (the American Nazi Party) held their meetings.

When I was the "new kid on the block", one of the most popular, established kids in the neighborhood was the son of a former Nazi colonel.  Seems that family may not have been terribly happy to have "Juden" in the neighborhood.  Chris (their son closest in age to me)  would not accept me, and I became an instant outcast.

One Sunday evening, as we came home from visiting family down in New York City, I noticed some damage to the garage at Chris's house.  At the school bus stop on Monday, I also noticed that both of Chris's hands were in casts.  Later in the day, I got the story from another neighbor.

Seems that Chris and another kid were trying to build a pipe bomb, from copper tubing and kitchen matches.  The recipe is pretty simple - break the heads off a bunch of the matches and discard the sticks.  Drill a hole in the pipe for the fuse.  Close one end of the pipe, stuff the match-heads in  and close the other end.  Light the fuse, and RUN!

Well, when Chris & his pal built their bomb, after closing the 2nd end of the pipe, they realized that they'd forgotten the fuse hole - Oops!  Now here is where what I like to call the "genius factor" comes into play.  The other kid says to Chris "No problem ... I'll take this hammer & nail, you hold the pipe steady, and I'll drive the nail thru one side of the pipe to make a fuse hole!"  Chris agreed that this seemed like a good idea, and held the pipe steady on the garage floor with both hands, while the other kid tried to hammer the nail thru the side.  Tink, Tink, BOOOOOOM!  The other kid, whom I hadn't yet seen, had bad burns on his face, and eventually lost an eye, and Chris broke both hands, and also had some burns.

On Tuesday, at the bus stop, Chris came up to me, raised his casted hands, & said "If this hadn't happened to me, there'd be quite a big hole in your house, y'know."  My family and I were the intended target of their experiment in (what turned out to be, self-) destruction.

 

Too bad Chris didn't do a better job on himself and take the old man with him. On the other hand, it always saddens me to hear of a child who's learned to dispense racial hatred so young. It makes you want to remove them from the home where this horrible disease of their partents is effecting their growth as humans.

Fletcher Christian
Fletcher Christian's picture
Holy Smokes!  I knew that the

Holy Smokes!  I knew that the average person had experienced some form of racial hatred directed towards them or at someone they care about.  On a conscious level I know that it's pervasive but on a subconscious level it still shocks me.  I feel terrible for all of the stories that are being shared.

I think it's good to get it out.  That way when the news of the killing of that child in Florida breaks out, we all can touch base with it and empathize with his friends and loved ones.

"Reverse racism" does happen.  I have only seen it at my workplace.  I haven't seen it on open display in the society at large.  From my experience, it usually goes something like this:  A middle management type won't enforce the rules equally for fear of being called racist.  Example:  If there's a "beard" rule, the black guys can get away without shaving for a day while the white guys can't.  That being said, the BIGGER race related problem is the "glass ceiling" that's systematically in place at most work institutions.

When I brought this topic up, I had NO IDEA what had went on in Florida.  I just listened to the 911 call where you can hear the boy crying for help and then the gunshot going off and... silence.  It hurts.  It cuts so deep.  It hurts my soul.  I can't seem to get it out of my head.  I probably "shouldn't" be able to.

I think back on my incident and what troubles me is that if this guy had killed me, he would've falsified the circumstances to make it appear that I was some sort of monster that had to be put down.  I think of what my wife and my parents would have had to deal with in the aftermath.  Everyone that I work with would've seen it on the news and then they would've said to themselves, "He seemed like such a normal person.  Who knew?"  It's the character assassination that goes along with the actual murder.  

Hey!  If I disagree with some of the fine people on this site, it's just a disagreement.  Most of you guys are smarter than I am, so you'll probably end up changing my mind.  But in the meantime, I don't hate anyone.  I care about my fellow humans and I'm trying to become a more spiritual being.

I know you guys don't hate me either.

The problem with our society is the lack of thought.  Because if more people spent time thinking of others, there would naturally be less violence.

Thanks for sharing your stories, your ideas, your philosophies.  It means a lot.

rigel1
rigel1's picture
Laborisgood wrote: rigel1

Laborisgood wrote:

rigel1 wrote:

I'm not asking anyone to feel sorry for lil ole Rigel. I have had a fairly blessed life. But the topic of conversation is: What's YOUR Experience With Racism? I simply provided my input. Take it or leave it. Makes no difference to me.

Thanks for your input Rigel.  More important than our anecdotal stories, are the conclusions we draw from those experiences.  Your story reminds me of a friend I had when I lived in Oregon.  He made some blanket disparaging remark about black people as a whole and I called him on it

God bless you! It takes guts to stand up to bigotry. People are people. Why do we care what they look like? We should never excuse or blame anyone's actions or opinions on race. It's their brain that caused it not their skin color. I don't focus on race. At all. Hopefully, one day the rest of the world will catch up to me. I hope I live to see the day. Don't you?

Laborisgood
Laborisgood's picture
Fletcher Christian

Fletcher Christian wrote:

"Reverse racism" does happen.  I have only seen it at my workplace.  I haven't seen it on open display in the society at large.  From my experience, it usually goes something like this:  A middle management type won't enforce the rules equally for fear of being called racist.  Example:  If there's a "beard" rule, the black guys can get away without shaving for a day while the white guys can't.  That being said, the BIGGER race related problem is the "glass ceiling" that's systematically in place at most work institutions.

Fletcher:  Thanks for sharing your "reverse racism" experience.  It coming from a black guy helps humanize us all.  I've been working in 40 story high rise construction project lately and it is all union workers.  I'm amazed at how few blacks and women are working there.

Rigel:  In the spirit of sharing our common human experiences about racism, would you be willing to share a personal experience with racism that is not of the "reverse racism" type?  Perhaps you'd rather latch onto the 2 tidbits me and Fletcher just have thrown out there as support of your ideology.

rigel1
rigel1's picture
Laborisgood wrote: Fletcher

Laborisgood wrote:

Fletcher Christian wrote:

"Reverse racism" does happen.  I have only seen it at my workplace.  I haven't seen it on open display in the society at large.  From my experience, it usually goes something like this:  A middle management type won't enforce the rules equally for fear of being called racist.  Example:  If there's a "beard" rule, the black guys can get away without shaving for a day while the white guys can't.  That being said, the BIGGER race related problem is the "glass ceiling" that's systematically in place at most work institutions.

Fletcher:  Thanks for sharing your "reverse racism" experience.  It coming from a black guy helps humanize us all.  I've been working in 40 story high rise construction project lately and it is all union workers.  I'm amazed at how few blacks and women are working there.

Rigel:  In the spirit of sharing our common human experiences about racism, would you be willing to share a personal experience with racism that is not of the "reverse racism" type?  Perhaps you'd rather latch onto the 2 tidbits me and Fletcher just have thrown out there as support of your ideology.

Yes, yes I would.

I was a football player in High School. There was a new kid trying out for the team. He was black, from a poor neighborhood. He was not a popular kid, kind of quiet. During one of our drills, a sort of one on one wrestling match between him and me, I rolled over on him and broke his leg. In the days and weeks following, I would see him from time to time hobbling down the hallways on crutches. I would simply walk on by without a word. Had he been a white kid, popular kid from an affluent neighborhood, I may have stopped and asked how he was doing. I should have told him that I was sorry for what happened and hope he gets better soon. But I ignored him. I was a stupid kid and I still carry the guilt for not doing the right thing.

bullwinkle
I applied for a warehouse

I applied for a warehouse manager position with the Texas Department of Transportation in a rural district. During the interview the district manager told me that I was more qualified for the position , with my education, experience in running a warehouse for a recycling business, extensive forklift experience, etc, but that he was going to have to give the job to either a woman (I knew nothing about) or a Mexican with no experience (he had worked as a paper delivery person). the guy got the job.

That being said, I grew up on a ranch in central Texas and our closest neighbors were a Mexican family that managed the ranch across the road from us. The oldest boy was 16, I was 9, when we met. He came to the US with his family when he was 9, couldn't speak a word of english, but by the time we met he was a sophmore in high school and could speak perfect english with no bilingual instruction. He graduated from high school on schedule. We became life long friends. Our families also became very close. I could not imagine seeing him any differently than my own brother. We were always doing each other favors and helpling each other out. He never kept 'score' on deeds, just said what goes around comes around. Over our 40 year relationship it always did. I lost him to diabetes when he was 56.

I went to a very small school (there was 6 kids in our graduating class) many of the kids were of Mexican decent. Some were from families that owned land like my family and some worked on the ranches in the area.  Everybody treated everybody like we were all family. There was no discrimination at all. This was in the sixties.

Today one of my best friends of 20 years is black and I consider him to be just like my brother.

The point being is that I was raised in an environment where racism was non-existant to the point that the color of one's skin was irrelevant. Racism has to be a learned trait. Children are not born racist they are taught it.

Just my thoughts on this subject. 

politicalview
politicalview's picture
I come from a very different

I come from a very different perspective. I grew up in a small town in northern Ohio. The town population was around 6-7,000. Of that I'm guessing around 15% black. As kids we all hung out together, went to each other's houses, parties, etc. I honestly don't remember my parents ever making any racist comments or jokes. It just didn't happen for me. I watched the violence on TV in the 60s, and at the time, didn't really understand it. Looking back I wonder if my black friends of my childhood shared my perspective. Probably not.

It wasn't until I moved to a larger city to attend college that I started hearing and seeing racist behavior. And while I could see it, I still didn't understand where it was coming from or why it was happening.For me, business has been the main source of racism I've experienced. Much more subtle and below the surface than what has been discussed above.

As a college student I was excited to get a job making decent money to help me pay for school. I was brought into the office, and helped with hiring and training of a small sales outfit. I was shocked my first day when I was told that if a person calling in for a job "sounded black" (whatever that means), I was to tell him to send in a resume. Others were verbally screened and either declined or asked to come in for an interview. I was going to quit the first day, but I got talking to another guy in the office who was also going to quit. We decided to work to correct the problem. We collected data for a couple of months, then quit and turned the data over to the state Attorney General's office, who shut him down.

As I started my career I still was very naive to racism, especially the subtle stuff. In my mid 20s I was supervising a small MIS department for an insurance company. I had two openings, and interviewed about 15 candidates, all of whom I evaluated using a weighted numerical system I had developed. I selected the two best, and submitted their names to HR to make the offers. I was surprised to get a call from an HR grunt, who had asked me if I was sure about one of my candidates. I confirmed, and he said that he had reservations about the one. "Did you notice that his suit was dirty?". I was confused and didn't know what to say at first. I stayed with my selection, and hired both of my candidates. They both were good workers and received promotions quickly.

It wasn't until a few years later when I was at a much larger company, that my eyes were opened. I was discussing racism in the workplace with the HR Director at this company. During the discussion I suddenly realized what had happened previously. I never put together that the candidate with the "dirty suit" was black, and that I was being told not to hire him. When my anger cleared, the HR Director helped me understand the detail of what was going on. We had many more discussions after that, and he helped me recognize the many facets of discrimination in business.

Over the years I've developed strong friendships with people of different races. I really value these friends. We've helped each other in so many ways. And along the way I've learned a lot from their experiences, whether it's growing up in a large city or a rural setting or another country. We don't shy away from any topic or question. I feel very fortunate to have these friends.

Fletcher, your story is both horrible and outrageous. Being originally from a small town, I've seen my share of police who throw their weight around and abuse people simply because they know that they can get away with it, but nothing like your experience. I can't begin to imagine how you must have felt - and still feel - after having to deal with that. I wish there was a way that a person like that could be exposed and punished, and that you could be reassured that it would never happen again.

It's sad that in the 21st century this bullshit is still going on.

 

N-O-R. Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.

Fletcher Christian
Fletcher Christian's picture
I wouldn't say that I'm a

I wouldn't say that I'm a "black guy".  I guess like Babe Ruth, appearances can be deceiving.  There are members of my immediate family who are black.  I guess I'm "black" by association.  It goes both ways.  I've had white folks tell racist jokes in front of me and I've had black folks call me, "nigga".  It's an equally stupid term of endearment.  I find the use of the word to be offensive 99.9% of the time.  There is the rare exception.  When it's "clinically" used and if I'm listening to an old Red Foxx or Richard Pryor record.  Also when it's used to drive home a point.  (Bill Maher did a show on the topic once and I thought Dave Wyndorf from the band, "Monster Magnet" came across as the most intelligent guy on the panel.) 

The cop that put a "goose egg" on my noggin' was out of his mind, and I 'hope', temporarily insane.  I think the ONLY reason that this guy didn't kill me was because their were 2 witnesses.  My friend and the cop's partner.

During the whole time, this guys partner did not say a word.  Not a word.  I'm guessing that he was in as much shock that I was (OK, almost as much shock).

There was another time.  I was working in the yard and a pick up truck stopped in front of the house and yelled out to me, "How's the work going?"  I responded, "It's coming along."  Then 1 of the 2 guys said something to the effect of, "Well, don't do too good of a job.  We don't want the niggers taking over the neighborhood."  I could smell the booze coming from them.  I flipped out.  I guess that I had repressed my anger from the cop incident earlier that year and I picked up my shovel and I started screaming and threatening them.  Finally it settled down... a little, and I said, "Hey!  I didn't park MY car in front of YOUR house and insult YOUR family!"  I still had the shovel in my hand.  They took off. I collected myself and looked around and noticed that my neighbors were all peeping out from behind their curtains.  I felt like crap.  All they heard and saw was me acting like an idiot.  They didn't hear what was said to start the whole thing off.

Everyone talks to my wife and says "Hi!" when she bumps into them.  They hardly say anything to me.  Sometimes we giggle about it.  Oh well, I wish I had that time back.  I would've acted a little more gentlemanly.

Now when someone tells a racist joke around me, I calmly... but firmly state that I do not approve of this behavior and I don't want to hear it again.  It's awkward.  But I make clear that the awkwardness is because of their behavior and not my response to it.

Like the saying goes, "Don't start none, there won't be none." 

Laborisgood
Laborisgood's picture
rigel1 wrote: Laborisgood

rigel1 wrote:

Laborisgood wrote:

Fletcher Christian wrote:

"Reverse racism" does happen.  I have only seen it at my workplace.  I haven't seen it on open display in the society at large.  From my experience, it usually goes something like this:  A middle management type won't enforce the rules equally for fear of being called racist.  Example:  If there's a "beard" rule, the black guys can get away without shaving for a day while the white guys can't.  That being said, the BIGGER race related problem is the "glass ceiling" that's systematically in place at most work institutions.

Fletcher:  Thanks for sharing your "reverse racism" experience.  It coming from a black guy helps humanize us all.  I've been working in 40 story high rise construction project lately and it is all union workers.  I'm amazed at how few blacks and women are working there.

Rigel:  In the spirit of sharing our common human experiences about racism, would you be willing to share a personal experience with racism that is not of the "reverse racism" type?  Perhaps you'd rather latch onto the 2 tidbits me and Fletcher just have thrown out there as support of your ideology.

Yes, yes I would.

I was a football player in High School. There was a new kid trying out for the team. He was black, from a poor neighborhood. He was not a popular kid, kind of quiet. During one of our drills, a sort of one on one wrestling match between him and me, I rolled over on him and broke his leg. In the days and weeks following, I would see him from time to time hobbling down the hallways on crutches. I would simply walk on by without a word. Had he been a white kid, popular kid from an affluent neighborhood, I may have stopped and asked how he was doing. I should have told him that I was sorry for what happened and hope he gets better soon. But I ignored him. I was a stupid kid and I still carry the guilt for not doing the right thing.

Thanks Rigel.  We've all experienced racism of varying degree.  It's hard to avoid racism in America.  A nation of immigrants and laws based on equality and fairness that stole from the natives while enslaving the Africans is bound to have some race issues.  I believe we've made much progress in spite of this horrific incident in Florida.  I pray that it can be a bridge to better race relations in America and not set us back a few decades.  We all need to speak up on this issue and not just ignore it.  I view the death of Trayvon Martin as a gun law issue that has a very ugly racial component as opposed to a snapshot of race relations in America in 2012.

Art
Art's picture
Quote:I applied for a

Quote:
I applied for a warehouse manager position with the Texas Department of Transportation in a rural district. During the interview the district manager told me that I was more qualified for the position , with my education, experience in running a warehouse for a recycling business, extensive forklift experience, etc, but that he was going to have to give the job to either a woman (I knew nothing about) or a Mexican with no experience (he had worked as a paper delivery person). the guy got the job.
Assuming that this is a true story, then the district manager didn't know what he was doing. The way it's supposed to work is that, all else being equal, the minority guy grts the job. Either he was stroking your ego to make you feel better, or he totally mis-applied the law. 

Laborisgood
Laborisgood's picture
Fletcher Christian wrote: I

Fletcher Christian wrote:

I wouldn't say that I'm a "black guy".

Like the saying goes, "Don't start none, there won't be none." 

We're all brothers one way or another, Fletcher.

bullwinkle
Art, it is a true story. He

Art, it is a true story. He had to hire a minority by state law. In Texas a minority owned business (including those owned by women) can get a state contract bid with up to a 10% higher bid. I know. As a banker I had a customer in the paving business, he put the business in his wife's name to be able to bid higher on jobs for the state.

bullwinkle
Art, then I guess he

Art, then I guess he mis-applied the law. Because that is what he told me. My step-grandfather was retired from the TxDoT and knew the district manager and he told him about me and couldn't believe I did not get the job with the experience I had.

DRC
DRC's picture
Bull, I wish employers were

Bull, I wish employers were without bias.  I wish women earned what men do.  I wish it were not necessary to have laws to make fairness happen, and I wish that those laws did not have unintended consequences such as your anecdote.  But, I also don't think that "White guys" like me are better than "they" are, and even when more qualified by experience I could get when they could not, it does not guaranatee that I will do a better job for the employer than they will. 

One of the factors in hiring that gets short shrift is the motivation.  A lot of experienced workers are in a rut or burned out while some who have not had the chance are highly motivated, learn quickly, and do a better job.  This is not about you.  It is just a point about how hiring from resumes has a downside. 

The ability to put the company in his wife's name is a flaw in the law as well.  If we had a real common interest politically in getting fairness and equality into real life, we might be able to draft better legislation.

Anyway, the point is not to say that your story is wrong, only to allow for some other factors.  When we have equality in the workplace, won't it be nice.

bullwinkle
Oh, DRC I wasn't too upset

Oh, DRC I wasn't too upset about not getting the job. Shortly after that I was offered a position as a branch manager for a bank in a nearby town. I got written up by the bank examiners for not having enough minority loans in a town of 850 with NO minorities! How about that? lol

EDIT

My first banking job, I was promoted to a vice president and loan officer. I had a black businessman that sold cars on the side. I would make his customers (99% of which were black) loans to buy his cars. The directors would question me on the number of loans I made to blacks and how I got them to pay so good. I never told them that all i had to do was call Smitty if they were late and they would be in the bank and make their payment in 30 minutes. Those were the good ole days. Smitty still has his barbque restaurant even though he is in his 80's. He and I are still good friends after 30 years.

Laborisgood
Laborisgood's picture
bullwinkle wrote: Art, then I

bullwinkle wrote:

Art, then I guess he mis-applied the law. Because that is what he told me. My step-grandfather was retired from the TxDoT and knew the district manager and he told him about me and couldn't believe I did not get the job with the experience I had.

Was the pay scale negotiable?  If the other choices could be paid less than you based on your experience, maybe he saw you as overqualified (i.e. too expensive).

Was there a minority employee % quota that had to be adhered to?  If so, he shouldn't be wasting his time interviewing people he knows he can't hire.

Maybe "mis-applied the law" is a nice way to say he wasn't being honest with you.  At the very least it's inappropriate and unprofessional (and possibly illegal) to tell a prospective employee you're not hiring them because you have to "hire a woman or a Mexican of lesser experience."  The laws are the laws and they can be debated on their merits, but ignorance of the law or using racism or sexism as a shield to hide behind is a whole different story.

 

 

DRC
DRC's picture
Like I said, it will be nice

Like I said, it will be nice when people can know people and management will not be trying to use paper, stats and formulas instead of knowing something.  It will also be nice when people who know people know people and not stereotypes. 

bullwinkle
I am pretty sure it was on a

I am pretty sure it was on a pay grade established by the State for that job level and not negotiable. It was not an issue for me. The district manager was probably being honest with me because he was a white red-neck type of guy in a small rural town. White red-neck....does that make sense? 

DRC
DRC's picture
2 and 2 = 4.  Yuh.  It was

2 and 2 = 4.  Yuh.  It was also what would make most White Men feel better about not getting the job.

Laborisgood
Laborisgood's picture
Hiring and firing ain't much

Hiring and firing ain't much fun.  It's a very important function for a successful business, but sometimes it puts you in uncomfortable situations that can only be softened with a little finesse.  Let's just say the red neck guy was finessing you Bullwinkle.

bullwinkle
I realized that. I had 14

I realized that. I had 14 employees at the bank I managed, all but 2 were women. The president of all the banks and I diagreed on how employees should be treated. He wanted to ruled with an iron fist and make everybody fear for their job and that would make them work harder. I have the exact opposite style of management- that is why I quit.

I currently have no employees in my business, just me and my 83 year old father, who will not retire.

 

DRC
DRC's picture
You sound like my kind of

You sound like my kind of manager, bull.  I have always said that the people doing the job who get the support of their "boss" will work their asses off while those who get the hard-ass whip will sell him out at the first opportunity.  If I can deliver a constituency of interest to middle management to solve the anxieties inherent in that middle, I give them something to take upstairs that works.

I worked for a guy who kept pushing all the anxieties he received from above down onto us, and when I showed him that we would take care of the problems if he would share them with us instead, he became a decent boss and did a lot better with his bosses.  I think it is common sense, but as we know, that does not make it "common."  Stanford Business School taught the top down turf and badge insecurity system I loathed.  It is why labor is seen as an offense to their egos instead of the people who get the work done.

You are such a progressive!

Fletcher Christian
Fletcher Christian's picture
In Chicago, the "Duff" family

In Chicago, the "Duff" family is a rather known outfit.

They got caught up in a scandal with Mayor Daley where they said that their family business was run by a black woman so that they got 1st shot at city contracts.  Shady... man!  Nothing ever stuck to that guy...  (The old man Duff went to jail, I was talking about Daley.)

I have a personal story about one of the Duff sons, but I will only tell it on a one on one basis... Outside of the cop putting one on me, it's the most afraid I've ever been of another person.

All types of people "act" crazy and scream and yell... but when this guy did it, it was different.  He meant it.

Yeah... I have to have plausible deniability when I tell this story... so I think I'll shut up now.  Mmkay.

I got a story about Daley I can tell!  My buddy accidentally "floored" him at a White Sox game!  No shit.  My buddy's a big guy and he was running out of the bathroom and BAM!  Smack dab into the Mayor!  We apologized, and apologized and apologized!  I apologized and I didn't even bump into him!

He was totally cool about it.  I also thought it was cool that he went to the game by himself.  Nobody else was with him.  He's a true south side fan.  All of that hype in the media wasn't hype... he's a real Sox fan, even though the Cubs are more popular.

I guess there's really something to the cult of personality.  I personally like the guy... even though he's shady.

Garrett78
Garrett78's picture
I think a lot of folks are

I think a lot of folks are misapplying the term "racism."

And I also have to say the ignorance regarding white privilege is overwhelming. For a white person to say they didn't experience or see racism until a certain point in time is a white person who really needs some Tim Wise or Peggy McIntosh or Eduardo Bonilla-Silva or Cornel West. I know there are plenty of YouTube videos of Tim Wise and he also has a website, as I know some lack the time or inclination to read books.

politicalview
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  Fletcher Christian wrote -

 

Fletcher Christian wrote - "Now when someone tells a racist joke around me, I calmly... but firmly state that I do not approve of this behavior and I don't want to hear it again. It's awkward. But I make clear that the awkwardness is because of their behavior and not my response to it."

If more people did this, perhaps these jokes would die out over time. I had a consulting gig (my business) at a bank with a good friend of mine. They had a cafeteria where we would go for lunch almost every day. Each day, we would discuss the typical political topics of the day, and that would invariably lead our conversation into how things were viewed in the local black community. Often a bank employee originally from Inda would sit with us, and he'd share his views and help me understand the Indian culture. I learned  a lot during these conversations. One day we noticed that people sitting around us (mostly white) could hear our conversation and were very uncomfortable - probably because they were topics that people didn't normally openly discuss. We decided to wake people up a bit, and every now and then we would artificially debate, crank up the heat and the volume, and let everyone share. It was fun for us, and after a while, when we were having a normal discussion, we found that others would join in.

 

Bullwingle wrote - "The president of all the banks and I diagreed on how employees should be treated. He wanted to ruled with an iron fist and make everybody fear for their job and that would make them work harder. I have the exact opposite style of management- that is why I quit."

I had a very similar situation happen. I reported to the CIO who treated everyone like they were expendable. He couldn't be convinced otherwise, and eventually got tired of my trying.

I've always had my best success as a manager when I've been able to hire my own staff. I try to get as diverse a group as I possibly can. My position is that I already know what I think. I don't need people around who agree with me. I need people who see things differently and disagree. From there we are able to examine many more possibilities and avoid a lot of potential problems. It's stupid to take a hard stance, force people to do things your way and waste time and money only to find out that you failed because of one small thing you didn't consider.

There's a lot of value in having a diverse group of people working with you.

N-O-R. Not One Republican, 2012. Pass it on.