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.