Saturday, December 23, 2006


Black workers must often fight stereotypical assumptions that we are stupid or that we received an inferior education than White coworkers. The assumption of stupidity is tied to the false notion that African Americans are generally uneducated, do not pay attention in school or have received an inferior public school education in “the ghetto.”

It is irrelevant if an African American worker has a degree, including an advanced degree. The perception is that, even if Black workers went to school, we likely just squeaked by in getting an education. You know the stereotypes:

--We didn’t go to classes;
--We slept through classes;
--We partied excessively;
--We drank excessively;
--We were sex obsessed; and
--We probably had a low grade point average.

The other workplace issue is that White coworkers will sometimes make a quiet mockery out of where an African American coworker attended school. Community colleges and African American institutions of higher learning are fair game for ignorant White coworkers. For instance, it’s not uncommon to hear a comment such as, “Oh, you went to Howard. I thought you said you went to Harvard.” Or, a White coworker might ask, “Where is that college? I’ve never heard of it. Was that a two-year program?”

The dumbest White person at any job, degreed or not, will always find the gall to feel vastly superior to a far more intelligent African American coworker, even one with a degree. A White coworker, who remembers the time they slept with a professor for a grade or paid for someone else to write a paper for them or take a test for them, will still question the educational background of a person of color. People are a trip, y’all!

This is just one of many issues faced by African Americans in the workplace. Has your education been questioned at work? If so, tell us about it. Post a comment or send an email to

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


According to a recent EEOC complaint, White supervisors (at a Long Island, NY Cablevision location) hung a 15-foot noose in their warehouse in order to threaten and intimidate black workers. The employers at 180 connect, a cable subcontractor, claim to be “shocked” by the allegations. However, they probably weren’t as “shocked” as the Black workers who came face-to-face with a workable noose that was ready for lynching.


If someone on your job is mistreating you AND WON’T STOP, speak to your supervisor and request a meeting between you, your supervisor, your harasser, and their supervisor. Although you don’t want to give the impression that you can’t resolve your own problems, you don’t want to work somewhere that gives you tension headaches or where you walk half-way around the earth to avoid passing someone’s desk. There comes a time when you may need someone to mediate in order to resolve a volatile and sensitive situation. But, before you speak to your supervisor about the issue, demonstrate that you’ve tried to come up with solutions on your own. This is where copies of offensive or nasty email and voicemail messages, hard copy documentation, recordings, and a log can come in handy to support your position. But, remember not to show your full hand. Only provide the least supporting evidence needed to effectively prove your point. Always hold something back, if possible. That way, if a trumped up case is built against you, you will still have a powerful arsenal of evidence that your employers are not aware of. Having this evidence can be vital in discrediting false charges that may be brought against you by your employer. If the problem continues, after you’ve met with both supervisors and your harasser, contact Human Resources. Don’t let harassment or other mistreatment continue!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Following Up On An Internal Investigation

If you’ve filed an internal complaint at your company claiming racially-based mistreatment, you want to stay on top of any investigation that your employer tells you it is conducting. Some employers will take their time conducting investigations into such matters, but you should speak with your employer regarding the timing of the investigation because it’s best for them to speak to witnesses and other coworkers, when information and events are still fresh in everyone’s head.

If you don’t hear back from your company’s lead investigator during the time frame outlined in corporate procedures or in some other time frame that you’ve agreed upon, you should formally follow-up with your employer to get a status update on the investigation. Make this request in writing. If you ever have to request an investigation, don’t ever follow-up with people by phone and, if you do, follow-up with an email stating everything discussed and agreed upon on the call.

If after the investigation, there is a finding that no harassment, discrimination or retaliation took place and you are convinced that one or all of these offenses took place, you should begin the appeals process at your company per the guidelines outlined in the company’s manual.

Only you can answer the question of whether or not you are strong enough to pursue a racially-based workplace issue and whether or not the issue warrants additional review and investigation.

If you are still unsatisfied with the findings of the in-house investigation, look into alternative methods to deal with your issues, such as filing a complaint with the EEOC or your state’s Office of Human Rights, which is part of the Human Relations Commission. If you file a complaint with the Office of Human Rights, your case will be jointly filed with the EEOC and you will also receive an EEOC case number.

To summarize, when you’re requesting an investigation you should:

--Request the investigation in writing;
--Save multiple hard copies of the request, including supporting documentation;
--Know the procedures that govern the investigation;
--Know the expected timing of the investigation;
--Present evidence strategically;
--Present a witness list;
--File an appeal, if you don’t agree with the decision;
--Find alternative resources, if your situation warrants it (e.g., outside/external investigation, legal counsel, etc.); and
--Keep your mouth shut during the investigation—remember that you are surrounded by liars and opportunists in the workplace.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Track Similar Incidences of Misconduct

CREATE A SIMILAR INCIDENCES LOG – If you are being subjected to racially-based mistreatment, you should do your best to find out if your harasser or tormentor has had similar encounters with other minority employees. If a pattern of negative behavior exists, you should demonstrate that this PATTERN OF PRIOR BAD ACTS has not been adequately addressed by your employer.

For instance, if your employer has received numerous complaints from a variety of minority employers about racially-based harassment by a particular supervisor, you should definitely make note of this pattern on your log. Find out as much specific information as you can and highlight all of the similarities with your case. Be sure to note what action, if any, was taken by your employer based on a problem pattern of behavior. The fact that your employer may have chosen to ignore racially-based complaints could bolster your case and demonstrate that your employer has a tolerance for racial bullying, discrimination, harassment or retaliation.

A Word About Moving On

If you are looking for another job, you should:

--Keep your job search to yourself—don’t set yourself up to become the topic of office gossip;

--Look for job opportunities that exceed those available with your current employer (e.g., financial and emotional reward, opportunity to advance, education/training, etc.);

--Compile a list of strong references;

--Get detailed letters of reference from trusted coworkers and supervisors;

--Be honest on your resume;

--Sell yourself and your accomplishments without bragging. Make sure to mention your work on projects which may be similar to work being done at your prospective employer’s company;

--Dress appropriately and professionally for your job interview;

--Consider temp agencies; and

--Depending on your circumstances (e.g., you are leaving your job because of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation) you may want to look into filing a complaint with EEOC or your state’s Office of Human Rights.


--Bash your current or former employers on job interviews;

--If you had work-related problems at work, don't mention that you are involved in any work-related lawsuits or use your supervisor as a reference or contact person for your employment verifications (use HR, which knows that false and negative/malicious job references (blacklisting) is be illegal);

--Go to interviews unprepared. You should know what the company you’re interviewing with is involved in and find ways to incorporate your knowledge about the company into your discussions with the interviewer;

--Lie about your skills; or

--Be sarcastic or rude with the interviewer.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

NYPD Radio Transmissions Don't Mention a "4th Man"!

An analysis of police radio transmissions, on the night Sean Bell was murdered and his two friends were shot by NY police officers, has shown that there was not a single report of a “4th man” being on the scene or fleeing the scene.

As reported today by Juan Gonzalez, in the NY Daily News, there was “No warning that someone might be armed, dangerous, and on the loose…There was no dragnet for the elusive 4th man…and there was no ‘escaped perp’ alert radioed to officers.”

This completely jacks up the fabricated story presented by police officers who SWEAR they saw a 4th man in a beige coat attempting to enter Sean Bell’s vehicle before any shots were fired AND fleeing the scene as gunfire erupted. This 4th man is alleged, by police, to have the gun that only serves to justify 50 bullets fired at 3 unarmed Black men.

The NY Daily News also reports that none of the backup officers were wearing NYPD raid jackets and that none of the vehicles had portable police flashing lights that would show they were police vehicles.

The credibility of the cops on the scene, and the NYPD’s behavior after the incident, are screaming of a cover-up. Let’s not let this story fade from the news until there is justice for Sean Bell and his friends. If the police vehicles didn't have lights and the police weren't wearing raid jackets, maybe (just maybe) the police never VERBALLY identified themselves that night!

Source:, Juan Gonzalez, No dragnet for ‘4th Man’, 12/12/06

Always Maintain a Witness Log

Corroboration is a big part of having someone believe your version of events at work. So, if you must file a complaint of race-based misconduct, keep a log of anyone who witnessed some of the allegations in your case. Keep in mind that a "witness" may not have seen an incident, but they may have heard a conversation. For instance, you may have had your phone on the speaker setting, when a supervisor called you and screamed a racial epithet. No matter what the nature of the incident was, be sure to record as many specifics as possible to make it hard/impossible for your employers and the perpetrator to pretend they don’t know what you’re talking about. You should record what happened, who said what (especially any comments or reactions made by the witness), and be specific about what exactly can be substantiated by anyone on your witness list.

Any investigator will want to know who your witnesses are and why they should speak to them. Make sure the reasons for speaking to your witnesses are compelling. Your witnesses should have something important to contribute that can verify your point of view regarding events at your job.

For instance, if your witness has told you about slanderous comments being made to other managers by your supervisor in order to discredit your work, you should list the specifics comments your witness can attribute to your supervisor. You should also list, for this example, the title/authority level of the person your supervisor was talking to. If your witness can confirm that your supervisor was speaking to this authority figure in order to change the status of your employment (e.g., trying to have you fired, demoted, etc.), make sure to list this because it constitutes a tangible employment action.

If your witness also plays a role in the incident, be sure to list their level of participation and what effect their participation had on the event. For instance, if a witness not only saw or heard someone harassing you, but also spoke to the perpetrator, Human Resources, or management about the incident, be sure to list that your witness also reported an incident of harassment, where you were the victim.

You also may have witnesses who saw harassment taking place and got involved—on the side of the perpetrator. This is a much trickier witness to deal with because they saw harassment (as the example), but have a vested interest in misrepresenting what they saw based on their own involvement. They will likely deny seeing or hearing anything and might embellish or lie about events on behalf of the perpetrator.

Still, list the full extent of their involvement and see if an internal and/or external investigation into the facts can resolve what happened. Don’t forget, you are keeping a log to track behavior over time, since the law is forgiving of isolated incidences. The patterns, your documentation, witnesses, and other evidence will help uncover who played what role, at what point, for what purpose, and what impact it all had on your career.

Keep any emails or memos where you have reported misconduct and add those documents to your reporting log. File them away to maintain a record of events.

New York Cops Abuse Blacks More Often

NOTE: This post isn’t work-related, but is relevant to the “black factor.”

The Associate Legal Director for the New York Civil Liberties Union, Christopher Dunn, has come up with the latest “well duh!” piece of analysis. Mr. Dunn reviewed recent statistics, in New York, that showed African Americans counted for 60% of the victims of PROVEN police misconduct. The review also showed that in cases where the NYPD disciplined its officers this year, two-thirds of those cops received THE MILDEST reprimand available.

Source:, Alison Gendar, Cops Abuse Blacks More Often: Study, 12/12/06)

I bet that last bit of analysis is perfectly consistent with the types of “reprimands” doled out in corporate America. When there are internal investigations, employees and managers are rarely found guilty of anything serious. And, when misconduct can’t be denied, a slap on the wrist is usually the punishment. In my case, I reported misconduct by a White supervisor and was told, “Don’t worry. We talked to her. We can’t tell you what was said, but it was serious!” Yeah, right!

Monday, December 11, 2006


People throw around labels about Blacks playing “race cards,” but they just don’t get that so many African Americans don’t and won’t report racially-based issues at work because they don’t want to make waves/trouble that would incur the wrath of a White person on the job. Or, perhaps, they don’t want to incur the wrath of the company, as a whole.

In my work experience, I’ve learned that most Black folks don’t want to make a formal complaint about someone who’s White. Despite not making formal complaints about mistreatment, African Americans will complain to other minority family, friends, and coworkers because we know they will understand our predicament at work. So, we complain to those who are like us and, then, we do nothing!

Doing nothing about an issue isn’t inaction. It’s the exact opposite! Specifically, when we do nothing about mistreatment from White coworkers or supervisors, it’s an active way for us to ensure that:

--We don’t have to fear a negative reaction against us from our supervisor, manager, Human Resources staff, etc. based on our grievance;

--We don’t look like a cry-baby or whiner;

--We don’t look like we’re “playing the race card”;

--We don’t make ourselves more of a target;

--We don’t piss off whoever is already tormenting us;

--We don’t end up having our tormentor forming a group alliance against us that is even more vicious than the attacks coming from a lone perpetrator;

--We don’t look like a troublemaker, like we have a chip on our shoulder, are hypersensitive, are angry, are defensive or that we have no respect for authority, (by reporting a White coworker);

--We don’t hurt our chances to get a fair performance evaluation and salary increase (connected to the troublemaker issue); and that

--We don’t end up in trouble because someone in authority believes that we, and not our tormentor, are the real problem.

So, inaction is a major tool for African Americans at work. For Blacks, the expectation that we will be ignored or marginalized or that we will suffer retaliation at the hands of Whites did not die after the so-called end of the Civil Rights Movement. The fear of retaliation is a strong driving force behind African American inaction, even today. I’ve felt the pressures and have heard coworkers say that a person shouldn’t, “start the White people up!”

So, I know why there is often marked hesitation at the very idea of reporting a White person in the workplace. I have heard all of the reasons listed above as the justification not to do anything about mistreatment, even illegal mistreatment, at work. I’ve had these reasons creep into my own psyche.

Unfortunately, it’s a rational fear to have. Blacks know this fear is legitimate because we’ve seen what happens to outspoken African Americans at work. We’ve heard the name-calling and have seen how this type of Black person has become a target at work, has been isolated, has received poor performance evaluations and salary increases (justified by allegations they have a “bad attitude”), and has been passed over for opportunities. These “types” of African Americans may even have been laid off for false reasons (lack of work) or fired for false reasons (insubordination). Point blank, it’s often safer to stay quiet because it can be career suicide to be labeled as the “militant” at your job.

But, the reality is…they can’t lynch you! If that’s what it takes to get the courage to report mistreatment, then remind yourself of that every day. This is not the day of physical lynchings! Yes, people on your job can make life difficult for you, but that’s a burden and challenge our ancestors faced, head on, every day. The fight for equal rights is a fight that still needs to be fought.

We can make a difference. But, we can’t change a damn thing if we suffer in silence!


If you’ve reached the point where you feel it’s necessary to file a complaint or grievance regarding racially based discrimination, harassment, retaliation or bullying at your workplace, it’s important that you compile your evidence in a logical fashion that makes it easy for a 3rd party to understand your complaint. As you compile your evidence, please remember that you should never make assumptions about what someone will and won’t understand. Don’t assume that an investigator or an attorney will be able to look at an email or memo and quickly be able to ascertain why this information is relevant and critical to your case.

REMEMBER: When you initially speak to an investigator or an attorney, they know nothing about your complaint and they may even be clueless about your company, your industry or even the nature of your job. This is especially true if you are in a job that many people may not be familiar with or if you are in a job that has a rather complicated sounding title. So, you should focus on simplifying the information you are presenting to 3rd parties by providing clear explanations for why the evidence is being submitted, why it’s important/what it means, and how it ties in to your evidence, as a whole.

One way to do this is to label each piece of evidence with a brief statement about the relevance of the item and why the document is important. I recommend typing up an explanation of your evidence using the label making function of your computer software program. Then, simply print the information on a peel and stick label that can physically be attached to the front or back of your evidence.

Large shipping labels provide a substantial amount of space to make your notations. Be sure to include your name, case number (if you’ve been assigned one), and to number/catalogue each item being presented, in case your evidence becomes separated from your overall complaint.

As much as possible, include your evidence in chronological/date order, unless you feel there is another way of compiling your evidence that makes more sense. For example, you may decide that you want to group emails together, memos and other documentation in another section, etc. If your evidence is broken into sections, label your evidence appropriately.

For example, Item #1, Section A – Harassing Email or Item #1, Section B – Threats to My Job Security, Item #1 or Section C – Tangible Employment Actions (Proof of Demotion Without Basis, Proof of Being Denied a Promotion for a Discriminatory Motives, etc. ). Here’s an example of what the text might look like on a label:

Jenna Doe – Case Number 12-345A: Item #1, Section A –Harassing Email – Dated January 1, 2005, 10:35 am – Sent from Jane Doe, Immediate Supervisor.

Description –This is an email from my supervisor, which is offensive, contains false allegations, and was sent to a group of managers who assign staff to project work. The purpose of the email was to falsely criticize my job performance and create problems for me in finding work assignments. After this email was sent, I was denied work on a project that had been promised to me by another manager and I was told that the allegations in the email would prevent me from being promoted at the end of the year. I was threatened with termination, if I did not improve my work.

NOTE: ALWAYS INCLUDE THE IMPACT AND RELEVANCE OF ACTIONS IN YOUR DESCRIPTION (the secion in bold, above). Shrink your font, if you need to, but make sure the print is not excessively small.



--Give your employer any ammunition to use against you

--Report to work late or leave early

--Miss deadlines

--Be unprofessional

--Forget to double-check your work, etc.

--Take the bait (e.g., people will try to antagonize you to get an angry response that can be used against you later)

--Forget to document everything

--Keep your evidence at work where it can be found and destroyed

--Believe you can confide in all of your “trusted” coworkers/pals (people have agendas)


Sorry for not making regular posts, lately. I'm planning 3 Christmas events and I've been doing some light traveling/entertaining of out-of-town friends. I'll post as regularly as I can, but will definitely be full force for the New Year! Thanks for understanding!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


After talking to African Americans managers, I found out that one of the main problems they often encounter is having White and other non-African American subordinates who intensely dislike taking orders and instructions from a Black person. These managers know that The Black Factor is the issue because these employees can be observed giving full or more complete cooperation to White managers on the job. If a White manager gives them an assignment, they smile, ask any questions, and do the work. The converse is often true when these types of people get an assignment from an African American. For instance, they may complain about the work, insist the work is beneath them or inappropriate for them, may try to pawn the work off on someone else, may go to other white managers in attempts to get out of the work, may intentionally slack off on the quality of the work, may miss deadlines due to lack of respect, etc.

Managing people can be a headache for anyone. Most people simply do not like their supervisors because many people just don’t like being told what to do and do not like being monitored. However, when you throw in race as a factor that is important for subordinates, you can see how an already stressful job, supervising, can become unnecessarily burdensome. Point blank, many non-Black (and even some Black workers) resent reporting to (read: having to submit to the authority and management of) a Black person. The Black manager may be educated, intelligent, honest, likeable, etc., but the non-Black subordinate may still feel they have gotten “the shaft” by being a part of this person’s reporting structure. As a result of the Black Factor, some of the issues African American managers have to deal with are:

-- White and non-African American subordinates will receive directions and then will still go ahead and do what they want;

-- White and non-African American subordinates will pretend they didn’t understand directions, even when it comes to performing work that is a routine part of their job;

-- White and non-African American subordinates will give attitude to African American managers;

-- White and non-African American subordinates will question every request. (e.g., why can’t so and so do it?);

-- White and non-African American subordinates will ask them how to perform a task, will get an answer, and will then go to a White manager and ask the same question. They will then follow the White manager’s instructions instead of their own manager’s instructions; and

-- White and non-African American subordinates will regularly go over their African American supervisor’s head to complain about mistreatment and dealing with a “bad attitude,” particularly if their supervisor is an African American woman.

What’s interesting about the race dynamic at work is that race-based stereotyping and name-calling is not confined to just Black low and junior-level workers, but is also used against Black mid-level managers and to executives. Therefore, a Black manager or executive is just as likely, as a Black secretary, to be called “angry,” “defensive,” “rude,” “mean,” “snooty,” “brash,” “disrespectful,” and/or “hateful.” In fact, depending on the race-tolerance of their subordinates, a Black manager may be more likely to be the target of racially-based profiling in the workplace. The workers may feel the need to lash out, possibly with the hopes of being reassigned another (read: White) manager or to make a situation so untenable that they will be transferred to another unit.

Have you had any issues, as a Black manager? Have you witnessed any Black managers having race-related issues with their staff? Tell us about it. Post a comment of send an email to


In life, there are times when anyone may be accidentally overlooked. But, for far too many Black employees, what happens in the workplace is not a matter of being accidentally overlooked, but of being INTENTIONALLY IGNORED! In the workplace, the Black Factor seems to provide some employees with a cloak of invisibility that causes them to be deliberately ignored, marginalized, and professionally stifled.

As a result, many Black workers have to endure the hardship of working with managers and coworkers that never even entertain the idea that we should be considered for certain assignments and projects or be involved in any work planning activities.

For some employees with decision-making authority, Black workers simply do not exist—except to serve as labor. So, if they have a menial/low-level assignment, this sort of decision-maker can call off the name of nearly every Black worker that qualifies to do that level of work. However, if the work is junior to high-level in nature, conveniently the names of White workers may be all that rolls off their tongues.

I remember working with a Black low-level staff person that was going to school for computer technology/programming. He was less than one year away from getting his B.A. A project came up that involved computer technology. In our department, no one had that experience because we specialized in health-related work. Believe it or not, as the team was being built, at no point was this Black person’s education/background brought into the conversation. So, I brought him up and recommended he join the team because he would be able to provide more insight into the specifics of the project. After stating my case for him, I was told, “You know, I didn’t even think about him.”

Well, why not? Everyone was always talking about his schedule because they knew he changed his work hours to accommodate school. So, the issue certainly wasn’t that people forgot that he was studying. And, this worker always talked about computer programming. So, it’s not likely anyone forgot his specialty area. The fact of the matter is this man was just irrelevant to these folks. He was just a low-level Black employee, therefore, it was automatically assumed he couldn’t substantially contribute to the project—even though he knew more on the subject that anyone else involved.

How did the situation get resolved? The Black man was brought in to take notes on our phone calls and do rudimentary work, such as looking up phone numbers for computer technology experts that we wanted to interview. He had great ideas, but only felt comfortable sharing them with me because he said no one else would listen to him or even consider his idea because of the source—him!! As a result, I had to be the carrier pigeon for his ideas, taking his suggestions to the group as he sat across the room pretending it wasn’t his idea.

The ideas were still shot down. But, that didn’t surprise either of us. I was a higher level, but I was just as Black as he was!

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Shared Investigatory Tactics of the NYPD and Corporate America

I’m currently involved in an external investigation against a former employer (for race-based discrimination and retaliation), I’ve participated in an external investigation against a former employer (for race-based retaliation), and I’ve been privy to a lot of information from Black coworkers, over my professional career, regarding race-based complaints at work. Already, in the shooting of 3 unarmed Black men by the NYPD, I see way too many patterns with the way the NYPD is conducting their “investigation” of the incident and the way corporate America “investigates” allegations of discrimination/racism or racially-based harassment or retaliation. For instance:

-- The NYPD is begging for “patience” and cautioning everyone “not to rush to judgment.”

In corporate America, that’s the same thing I’ve heard employers implore Black workers to do (who had filed complaints or grievances citing racially-based mistreatment). There is always the assumption that an issue is really, really complex and that the Blacks involved are taking actions and making statements based purely on emotions and not facts. We’re never smart enough to know when a duck is a duck—even when it’s quacking! Black workers always need to be “patient,” while the White managers and Human Resources sort things out for us.

-- The NYPD is beginning character assassination on the victims of the shooting. The criminal records of the 3 men have been released and are listed in the newspapers, in every article that is written about the shootings. The point is…even if something was done wrong (excessive force, racial profiling, etc.), the NYPD is positioning itself with the unspoken argument that “the ni*gers had it coming to them!”

In corporate America, character assassination is standard, when Blacks make allegations of racially-based/illegal mistreatment at work. If an incident with a Black worker didn’t start with racially-based character assassination, then character assassination will be rampant throughout any investigation into what took place. Black workers will be accused of any and everything to justify even illegal behavior on the part of an employer. So, after making a complaint of racism, a Black worker may be accused of having a really, really bad attitude with White coworkers and managers or of being insubordinate, etc. The point is, maybe the company was a bit heavy-handed, but “the ni*ger had it coming to him/her!”

-- The NYPD is conducting dragnet operations, scrounging for a mysterious “4th man” who allegedly fled the scene (on foot) and “probably had the gun.” The police have been conducting raids and breaking down people’s doors in the projects where the victims lived. One Black man was arrested for not paying a $25 fine for loitering. Once at the police station, he was never asked to pay the fine. He was asked what he discussed with one of the survivors of the shooting, when he visited the man at a hospital. A Black woman was playing with her 7-month old child, when police kicked in her bedroom door, handcuffed her (face-down on the floor) and took her to the police station alleging that her apartment was a “drug den.” The woman was told to “tell us what we want to hear or you could go to jail for 5 years.” They wanted to hear that the 3 men were drug dealers, that there was a 4th man, and that the men were armed on that fateful night.

In corporate America, agents of the company will round up Black employees and will grill them for inside information on a Black employee that has filed a complaint. Or, they will round up Black employees and will turn them against the African American employee, using the other Black employees as false witnesses against the person making the complaints. I’ve seen this happen to a Black employee, first hand. A Black manager had her subordinates receive surprise pay increases and other perks. In return, some of them filed false statements against a manager that had never done anything against them. The divide and conquer method is a definite go-to action for anyone trying to suppress their own wrongdoing.

-- The NYPD is saying the case is “not about race.” They say that 2 officers involved in the shooting were Black and one was Hispanic, so no racism was possible. Well, who cares? The 2 Black officers arrived on the scene and believed they were being fired on because bullets were coming in their direction, from the car of the victims. They had no way to know that the bullets were going in one door and out the other, from a fellow cop. One Black cop fired one bullet, the other fired 3. That’s how they are trained. You fire 2-3 rounds and then you stop to reassess the situation. Their involvement in the shooting does not change any racial profiling or stereotyping committed by the first cop, who was Hispanic. And, the cop that fired 31 shots (stopping to reload and firing the bullet in the chamber) was Syrian-Lebanese.

In corporate America, employers often try to drag as many minorities into a situation as possible, so they too can say that an incident was “not about race.” So, a Black manager may be brought in oversee part of an investigation into racism or racially-based harassment, to make it appear that everything is on the up-and-up. Or, a Black manager will be brought in to mediate a situation, but they are really acting as an agent of the company—against the Black person who filed the complaint. Or it will be said that other Black workers were involved in a similar incident and “they didn’t make any complaints.” Employers will try to use Black workers against each other or to bolster their own image/case by saying that other Blacks were somehow involved in an incident. Therefore, race is supposed to be a non-issue.

These are the first 4 similarities that struck me off the top of my head. It just makes you wonder if these people are born with genetic blueprints for fighting allegations of racism. They all read and work from the same script. They pretend to be listening to complaints, all while setting up the outcome right from the very start—in their favor. There’s never a neutral investigation, when race is involved.

That’s why Blacks have to be persistent, in every venue where we must fight racism. Whether in our communities or in the workplace, we must be vigilant and determined to put an end to the madness. Otherwise, evil trumps the truth and no one is held accountable for the destruction of lives.

Black and White Perspectives on an NYPD Shooting

The NYPD shooting of 3 unarmed Black men, in Queens, New York, has received national attention because one of the men, Sean Bell, was murdered by the police officers just hours before he was scheduled to marry his high school sweetheart.

Since the shooting, last week, New York has erupted and split—largely along racial lines. White and other New Yorkers are saying things like “let’s be patient before making a judgment” and “why were the men engaging in illicit behavior, such as going to a strip club in a drug neighborhood?” and “the cops had a right to be suspicious” and, of course, there’s a chorus chanting that Blacks and Black community leaders are doing nothing except engaging in “race-baiting.”

On the flip side, the Black community and leadership are wondering how police could shoot at unarmed men 50 times, question why such a “tragic accident” never seems to happen in White communities, and assert that the “tragic accident” was a result of the NYPD racially profiling the Black men.

White New Yorkers—and many in the media—keep trying to spin the story so that the 3 unarmed men are at fault for the shooting incident. Every day we hear more and more about the “lengthy rap sheet” that the 3 men allegedly had. These things are said as if they change the fact that none of the men had a gun and none of the men, therefore, pulled a weapon or fired a gun at the police officers.

Many “average” White New Yorkers don’t seem to be asking the right questions. Instead of wondering what 3 men at a bachelor party were doing at a strip club, they should be wondering:

-- Why did an undercover police officer blow his own cover, by following the men closely (on foot) and then jumping in front of their vehicle with his gun drawn? Why didn’t he call for plainclothes police officers to move in and question/apprehend the 3 men, as is standard police procedure? Why did the officer decide to go commando, playing lone ranger with the lives of 3 unarmed citizens?

-- Why did a prostitution sting (a non-violent crime investigation) end up with 3 shooting victims, including one man murdered?

-- Did the fact that the NYPD were ONE ARREST away from shutting down this strip club cause cops to be overzealous in finding a person to arrest that night? It was 4 a.m., so were they just ready to call it a night and bring the investigation of the club to an end?

-- When exactly did the officer announce he was an NYPD detective? Did he approach the men’s vehicle, on a dark morning, with a gun drawn—assuming they could see his badge, if his badge was showing? Did he appear to be a “thug,” who was about to shoot them, instead of a police officer?

-- Did the men have their windows rolled down on the car? Could they hear anything said by the officer, if he said anything? Was their radio playing?

There are many other questions that surround that evening. Unfortunately, many White New Yorkers want to give police the benefit of the doubt because the victims were 3 “hoods” with prior criminal records. But, the cops didn’t know they had records when they open-fired. Still, it’s enough to make many White New Yorkers think “those Black guys may have had it coming to them!”


If you file an internal investigation, alleging racially-based misconduct on your job, it’s important that you know who is involved in the investigation and that you are watchful for people who may have a conflict of interest. You want to make sure the investigators are going to be fair and impartial. Yes, the company might dictate their responses to your complaint. But, that doesn’t mean you should set up circumstances in your employer’s favor. Therefore, it’s okay to question whether certain people can be objective and to express your concerns in writing—before any investigation begins.

For instance, if you are having a problem with a coworker in your department, you would be right to be concerned if one of the investigators is your mutual boss/executive manager who is buddies with or favors your coworker. You would be right in believing that this individual’s input could taint the investigation in your coworker’s favor. You should find out what kind of input this person will be asked to provide and voice your concerns if the input would be prejudicial.

Do not make it easy for people to execute a campaign against you. If you think a person will take the opportunity to discredit your case, put your concerns in writing and sit down with Human Resources to see if there is a way to have this person remove themselves from the investigation. If Human Resources insists this person participate in the process, make sure a copy of your written protest against their participation remains in the investigatory record. This might be necessary documentation for an appeal. In other words, don’t let them pretend you didn’t voice concerns about personal biases early in the process. Make sure you document any complaints, that you track who you complained to, and that you have a list of their responses.
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