Monday, June 30, 2008

LEGAL BRIEF: BCI Coca-Cola Settles with African American Worker for $250,000

The Legal Brief gives everyone an idea of some of the types of cases that EEOC litigates, as well as an idea about the specific race-based issues that other Blacks have faced in the workplace. You will also get an insight into the arguments presented by EEOC and the defenses offered by employers. This information may be helpful to other workers, who may consider filing a complaint or seeking legal counsel.

EEOC Settlement Follows Victory in 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Establishing ‘Subordinate Bias’ Theory

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In May 2008, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the settlement of a race discrimination lawsuit against BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Los Angeles (BCI) for $250,000 on behalf of an African American former worker in Albuquerque, N.M. The resolution follows a favorable ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, which established an important legal doctrine known as “subordinate bias” theory.

The EEOC had charged BCI with committing race discrimination against Stephen B. Peters, a black merchandiser, when a supervisor fired him in 2001 for not working his scheduled day off, even though Peters had called in sick and provided medical documentation. Additionally, the EEOC found that the supervisor made racist remarks about blacks generally.

“This case should remind employers that the EEOC will vigorously pursue and eradicate race discrimination using all the enforcement tools at our disposal,” said District Director Chester Bailey. “While we always seek early resolutions out of court with employers as a first resort, we will not hesitate to litigate when necessary and appropriate.”

The litigation (Civil Action No. 02-1644) was filed by the EEOC in U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico against BCI, doing business as Phoenix Coca-Cola Bottling Company and Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Albuquerque. The court had previously dismissed the case on a summary judgment ruling which was subsequently reversed by the Denver-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

The district court had said that the BCI official who actually terminated Peters was unaware of his race. However, the 10th Circuit found that a jury might reasonably conclude that Peters’ termination was based on his race because there was evidence that one of his supervisors, Cesar Grado, treated African Americans more harshly than other employees. The EEOC asserted that Grado made racial remarks about African Americans.

In a published opinion, 450 F.3rd 476 (10th Cir. 2006), the appeals court observed, “In making the decision to terminate...the human resources official relied exclusively on information provided by Mr. Peters’ immediate supervisor, who not only knew Mr. Peters’ race but allegedly had a history of treating black employees unfavorably and making disparaging racial remarks in the workplace.”

The EEOC’s successful appeal was led by attorneys Lorraine Davis and Susan Oxford of the Office of General Counsel, Appellate Services, at agency headquarters in Washington, D.C. In reversing the lower court’s decision, the appeals court established an important legal doctrine applicable in the 10th Circuit, which includes New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Utah, and Oklahoma. Under this legal doctrine, called the “subordinate bias” theory, an employer may be liable for discrimination when it relies on comments from a biased subordinate supervisor when taking adverse employment action against an employee.

After the 10th Circuit ruling, BCI asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case via a petition for a writ of certiorari. The high court accepted the case, and it was fully briefed and set for oral arguments. However, less than a week before the oral argument, BCI withdrew its appeal with no explanation and, subsequently, settled the case with the EEOC.

In addition to $250,000 for Peters, the EEOC’s two-year consent decree contains significant injunctive relief which applies to BCI and its managing agents at the Albuquerque facility. The injunctive measures require BCI to:

--Carry out policies and practices that promote a work environment free from race discrimination -- including a review of its existing policies on race discrimination and making any necessary changes so that those policies comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act;

--Distribute its policies to current employees and to new employees hired during the duration of the decree;

--Provide its employees with written policy statements regarding reporting and preventing racial bias;

--Post a Notice with a statement that Title VII prohibits race discrimination, and
provide employees EEOC’s contact information; and

--Hold training sessions with managers, supervisors and employees of the Albuquerque facility on Title VII and race discrimination.

The consent decree also prohibits BCI from retaliating against Peters or any witness in this case, and converting the official status of Peters’ firing to a voluntary resignation. Peters commented, “I want to thank everyone at the EEOC offices who worked on my case. I appreciate their support and their efforts on my behalf. I hope this resolution encourages employers to take their responsibilities to protect employees from discrimination seriously.”

EEOC Trial Attorney Veronica Molina-Cunningham, who prosecuted the case, said, “It is rewarding to see justice done in this matter, not only for Mr. Peters but also for other victims of discrimination who will benefit from the important legal doctrine that was established.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available on its web site at

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Gathering Your Documentation: Incidents to Track

This is an important reminder about the types of information you should track, if you are the victim of racial discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation. This is based on a post from early 2007. I think it’s a great bit of information for any new readers and just something that we should all keep in mind.

Types of information to track

□ A copy of your company’s personnel manual or, at the very least, the applicable sections that are germane to your case. If you are saying that your company violated or ignored its own policies and procedures, having a copy of the actual written polices and procedures will go a long way in helping you to prove your point.

□ A copy of your company’s anti-harassment policy. If you have been harassed, you can use this to show how the company did not effectively adhere to nor implement their written policies on this behavior.

□ A copy of any official documentation that shows a change in your employment status. For instance, if you are forced to relocate to an undesirable location or to a department that is not a match for your job skills (which could be construed as a form of punishment) or if you are demoted, receive a pay cut or are stripped of your supervisory role, be sure to keep a copy of any official documentation, including the supporting documents used against you, for your records and for any complaint that you file against your company. Also keep a copy of your responses (written and verbal) to these employment actions.

□ A copy of your job description.

□ A copy of the job description for the next level of work higher than yours or for the job you wanted to be promoted to. For instance, if you are an Account Executive, you should try to get your hands on a job description for a Senior Account Executive. You can use this job description as a comparison tool by highlighting how you were already doing much or some of the work for the job in which you were denied a promotion.

□ A copy of your offer/hire letter. This will show the terms of employment that you were offered and what was agreed to prior to accepting a job with your employer. You can use this letter to show how your job morphed (immediately or over time) into a position that you did not agree to work in. For instance, I have spoken to African Americans who have complained that they were told they’d be doing one job (including supervising staff), yet when they began work, they were in a job that was somewhat or substantially different than the job they applied for and were promised by their new employer.

□ A copy of your timesheets for the period of time covered in your complaint. I have worked for an employer that falsified and manufactured timesheets to try to disprove a case against them that was being investigated by a state agency. The reason they were unsuccessful in getting away with this was that the complainant maintained a copy of all of her timesheets for that period and could show that new timesheets had suddenly “appeared” in her file (with completely different hours recorded and her signature scanned from another document). You may want to maintain a copy of your previous year’s timesheets as added insurance against manipulation by your employer.

□ A copy of your performance reviews. As I always say, your employers want to prove past bad acts on your part. To do this, they may scour your previous performance reviews for any information they can claim shows a pattern of repeat and negative performance or demonstrates that you have a bad attitude. Any comment, no matter how petty, can be twisted into a larger performance problem that you supposedly had. Fabrications can also be added to existing documents and they can be reprinted. Keep copies of your evaluations!

□ A copy of your official leave requests and any documentation that leave was denied, including the basis for denial. Your leave requests can demonstrate time taken due to stress-related ailments or for other medical reasons. Since employers may be likely to attack your time in and out of the office, because your use of leave is an easy target for those who have been abusing your rights, keep a copy of all of your leave requests.

□ A copy of instructions and procedures that relate to your case. If someone is accusing you of incorrectly performing your job or simply not knowing your job, copies of official instructions and procedures can help demonstrate your compliance with the requirements of your job.

□ Memos, emails, and other written correspondence that help prove your case. For instance, false accusations from managers, slanderous emails, being documented for problems caused by others, documentation that serves to show you in a pattern of negative behavior, being told one thing, but another action took place, racially or sexually offensive messages or comments, etc.

□ A copy of new additions to your personnel file. If you’re placed on probation or receive an oral or verbal warning, be sure to keep a copy of this documentation and include any response you prepare in defense of your work performance or character.

□ Promotion charts or announcements. If you are trying to demonstrate disparate treatment and discrimination in the workplace, having a copy of promotion charts or announcements will help illustrate who is receiving promotions at your company and who is being passed over. Many companies will email or post the list of promotions when announcing the good news to the rest of the workforce. Save the email or make a copy of the announcement. If the information is not included, write the grade/level, race, and previous title of each individual, if you have a way of identifying this information.

□ A copy of any “thank you” emails or cards sent to you by supervisors, managers, coworkers, and, more importantly, clients. These days, most people don’t take the time to say thank you. People prefer to complain. The great thing about thank you messages is that they often contain exact quotes about what you did well and, therefore, are not easily refuted by your employers. You should keep a record of any congratulatory messages because they will demonstrate that:

-- you were doing your job and doing it correctly;
-- you work well on a team;
-- you are seen as valuable by team leaders and managers;
-- you work to serve the best interest of your clients; and
-- you did some aspect of your job well enough for someone to take the time to applaud your efforts.

□ A copy of your company’s organizational chart. There may come a time when you need to show the hierarchy in your company as a way to demonstrate the reporting structure and the level of authorities that certain individuals have over supervisors, managers, and other staff.

□ A copy of any charts showing the demographics at your company. If you are attempting to prove racial bias, disparate treatment or discrimination, it would be helpful to have a chart that shows the statistical breakdown of employees. For instance, your company may disseminate a chart that shows each staff person, their grade level, their title, their hire date, etc. This chart can help prove how staff that began employment after you, and were serving in the same or a lower position, were promoted into positions of authority over you or were quickly promoted to the same level as you.

□ A copy of administrative forms that are relevant to your case. This is especially important for whistleblowers who are documenting the inappropriate and illegal behavior of their employers.

□ Voice mail messages. You should be able to discern when a voice message is important. If a voice mail is nasty and offensive, contains racial epithets, sexual innuendo or vulgarities, contradicts other information or correspondence, makes promises that weren’t followed through on, etc., you should keep a record of this voice mail message. Save the message on your work phone and write down, word-for-word, the content of the message (in case it is “accidentally” deleted). Include who the message is from and the date and time it was received. For the ultra-paranoid, tape record the message so you can prove the exact tone in which things were said and the exact content of the message. Play the voice mail message to get people, who can verify/testify that they heard the content of the message. This would not be hearsay because you didn't tell them about the message, they heard it themselves. If you listen to voicemail on the speaker setting, coworkers may overhear the content, especially if someone left a message that included screaming, name-calling, racial epithets and other egregious behavior. These people can confirm the offensive and hostile nature of what you've been forced to endure at the hands of a supervisor, coworker, etc.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Be a "Gossip Girl"

Here’s a tip for dealing with problematic coworkers in the workplace. Turn yourself into a “Gossip Girl” or “Gossip Guy.”

This is something that worked quite well in my workplace, when I started having problems with a coworker and a couple of members of management. This strategy is based on human nature and the reality that most people like to talk. And, many people like to gossip.

I got a lot of valuable information about what was going on with my harassers from people who were simply interested in gossiping about what was said directly to them, what they eavesdropped or what they were told by other staff.

So, I’d have someone come up to me and tell me all about what they heard my supervisor had planned for me or what she was saying to tarnish my reputation. My supervisor was literally bad-mouthing me in the hallways with my coworkers and she was making things up left and right. She was fabricating stories about my attitude, the quality of my work, and she was blaming me for problems she caused. She would talk sh*t about what she was going to do to me or say to me, when she saw me. She was basically giving a performance that was meant to destroy my reputation, embarrass me, and to isolate me from other staff.

She didn’t come back to me with most of the stuff she talked about in the hallways. Yet, I was able to document her slanderous actions and the fact the she was creating a hostile and offensive work environment. I also got a heads-up about some things she planned to surprise me with. I knew this information because I was open to listening to gossip and allowing people to talk their hearts out.

Many times, when you’re a target, you tend to shut yourself off from other staff. There are many reasons for it, such as embarrassment/public humiliation, a hostile and offensive environment, heightened scrutiny and observation, people are acting differently around you (ignoring or avoiding), trying to avoid being set up or giving ammunition (goofing off or excessive talking), etc.

But, as much as possible, you should force yourself to remain in positive contact with as many people as possible. You should use the friends and enemies of your harassers to your advantage. If people know dirt that can help you, such as prior bad acts committed by your manager against other Black workers, you need to know this information.

So, strike up conversations with folks and see where the conversations lead. Never look like you are fishing for dirt. Just steer the conversation in the general direction you want and listen carefully. Many people are more than willing to share what they know. I’ve had good friends and lunch buddies of my supervisor tell me all of her business, including problems she was having on client contracts, lies she told on staff in other departments, etc.

So, I highly recommend being a Gossip Girl. By the way, you want to listen to the gossip. You don’t want to be the one doing the talking and the sharing. You don’t want to end up being blamed for anything negative that may be said about the person. And, you want to be discreet.

Don’t share your horror stories and don’t make stuff up to keep the story going. Just let the person talk. Trust me, even if they know you don’t like someone or are having problems with someone, you’d be amazed at how much cooperation you may get from other staff. People have agendas. They may not like the person, may want their job, may want them fired, etc. They may have an active interest in gossiping the truth about someone.

Now, here’s the catch. You have to try to confirm what you’ve heard. Without confirmation, it’s just gossip. But, once you hear certain information, it may lead you to other people who may know what the reality is. Always keep track of what you’ve found out and try to find out if it is accurate. The last thing you want to do is to get caught pedaling false information.

I’ve had a lot of luck fact-checking gossip to verify it. However, not everything can be verified because there may not be any old-head staff around who can remember something that is not recent history.

Fact-checking also let me know if some of the stuff I heard was off-base. In those cases, I was able to document the real information or corrections to the story that was told and use it to my advantage. Sometimes a story wasn’t as bad with the new information and sometimes it was worse! It was really helpful to know my supervisor’s kryptonite!

So, get to gossiping. You never know what you might find out that can help your case.

Nader: Obama Trying to be “Non-threatening,” “Talks White” and appeals to “White Guilt”

I absolutely had to share this. Ralph Nader did an interview with the Rocky Mountain News and he said some of the following:

"There's only one thing different about Barack Obama when it comes to being a Democratic presidential candidate. He's half African-American," Nader said. "Whether that will make any difference, I don't know. I haven't heard him have a strong crackdown on economic exploitation in the ghettos. Payday loans, predatory lending, asbestos, lead. What's keeping him from doing that? Is it because he wants to talk white? He doesn't want to appear like Jesse Jackson? We'll see all that play out in the next few months and if he gets elected afterwards."

Asked to clarify whether he thought Obama does try to "talk white," Nader said: "Of course.

"I mean, first of all, the number one thing that a black American politician aspiring to the presidency should be is to candidly describe the plight of the poor, especially in the inner cities and the rural areas, and have a very detailed platform about how the poor is going to be defended by the law, is going to be protected by the law, and is going to be liberated by the law," Nader said. "Haven't heard a thing."

"He wants to show that he is not a threatening . . . another politically threatening African-American politician," Nader said. "He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up."

I’d love to hear any comments on what Nader had to say. Do you agree or disagree?

Source:, by M.E. Sprengelmeyer, Nader: Obama Talking White

IN THE NEWS: McCain Camp Uses Terror Fear Tactics

In a recent Forbes Magazine article, top McCain strategist Charlie Black said that a terrorist attack on American soil would be a "big advantage" for their campaign.

McCain distanced himself from Black's remarks, but in the past, McCain has also indicated that acts of terrorism would politically benefit his campaign.


Charlie Black said that a terrorist attack on American soil would be a "big advantage" for the McCain campaign:

"The assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December was an 'unfortunate event,' says Black. 'But his knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who's ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us.' As would, Black concedes with startling candor after we raise the issue, another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. 'Certainly it would be a big advantage to him,' says Black." [Fortune, 6/23/08]

John McCain condemned Black's statements, yet McCain has made similar claims himself in the past.

According to CNN's Dana Bash, in the wake of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, John McCain personally indicated that the terrorist act would benefit him politically. Watch the video:

And as the blog Think Progress points out, John McCain was also quoted in the AP, days before the 2004 election, saying that a just-released tape from Osama bin Laden would be "very helpful" to George W. Bush:

"'I think it's very helpful to President Bush,' said McCain, R-Ariz., while stumping in Stamford for U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays. It focuses America's attention on the war on terrorism. I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but I think it does have an effect.'" [AP 10/30/04]

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Put Things in Perspective

One of the issues many African American workers deal with are coworkers, supervisors, managers, etc., who blow small problems or issues out of proportion—sometimes intentionally.

It’s very troubling, when people blow things out of proportion, particularly innocent mistakes that are atypical and do not represent a problem that should cause concern or needs to be monitored.

Someone will take an innocent mistake or human error and make it seem as if something diabolical has happened. They may also use an honest mistake to claim that a person is incompetent. Even a minor mistake can be blown out of proportion and used as the rationale to strip someone of certain assignments or responsibilities.

For instance, a White Vice President once accused me of intentionally leaving a White, male’s promotion off of the monthly promotion announcement list I prepared. After stating that I’d inadvertently left the name off the list and taking responsibility for the oversight, I asked why I was being accused of making the mistake intentionally. The White Vice President responded, “You’ve been doing these lists for two years and you never left anyone off.” I explained that this was why the mistake was an inadvertent omission. But, I was told. “It just seems suspicious to me.”

In my case, a human error was turned into a cause for suspicion. Think about it…what would my motive be for leaving this man’s promotion off the list? He was a stranger to me. Even if he wasn’t, what did I have to gain from the omission? The accusation was just plain stupid, but that didn’t stop the VP from telling others that I intentionally omitted the person from the promotion list! This minor problem was noted in my performance review, 6 months later!

When dealing with false accusations, especially those based on exaggeration of facts (or outright fabrications that are added to a situation in order to escalate an issue), you should definitely make sure to protect your reputation and make sure that the accusation doesn’t come back to haunt you. As I’ve stated, you could hear about an innocent mistake on a mid-year or year-end performance evaluation, even if it wasn’t a costly error.

So, you should address the issue with the person that is doing the exaggerating or misrepresentation. You can talk to them about the issue or you can email them first and ask for a time to discuss what happened and to clarify things. Make it clear that what they believe or are saying is not consistent with your perspective. You don’t have to point fingers. You can simply state the facts as you know them to be.

If you didn't do anything wrong, use facts, copies of procedures/instructions, emails or other written evidence, and/or witnesses to defend yourself.

If you really made an error, then explain how it happened and that it was inadvertent. It’s important to get that clarified, so that you can use your conversation and/or documentation to fight back against any accusations that you are incompetent. It’s fine to apologize for an honest mistake, but don’t let an honest mistake be portrayed as a problem of competence—if it is not.

If you require extra training on something or need clarification of procedures, ask for it. See if a coworker can discreetly assist you in some areas. Try to work through as many issues on your own as possible. If there are procedures you can read or reread, get cracking to improve your knowledge. If there are tutorials in a software program or an online service you work in, use the tutorials. You can come to work early, leave late, train on your lunch break, etc. The onus is on you to get up to speed on your job skills, if you know you are lacking. Be proactive in seeking whatever assistance you need. Don’t sit there knowing that you are unsure about certain parts of your job. Get help. Sometimes that means asking for official training courses, workshops, etc.

If the issue is that you were trained improperly, don’t let someone’s faulty instructions cause you problems at work. Most of us have been trained by someone, who was retiring or resigning (even forced out) or by someone that is the type of person that will intentionally leave out instructions because they don’t want someone doing something as good as they do it or did it. Some people will intentionally sabotage others and some people are just bad at preparing or relaying instructions.

Regardless of the cause, if you were improperly trained and/or given bad instructions, then bring that up and document it because that is a legitimate reason for a problem to surface. It’s fine to explain that you are doing things based on training and/or instructions you were given. Show a copy of those procedures and explain how the procedures were the source of the problem. Ask for a copy of the correct procedures and stick to those. Don’t let someone else’s issue be blown out of proportion and turned into your problem.

Just remember to document any accusations that could be used against you later to claim that you are incompetent and that might be used to justify employment actions against you, such as verbal or written warnings, probation, suspension, termination, etc.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

White Workers Should Not Complain That They Are Being Forced Into Political Correctness

I was speaking to someone, who mentioned a conversation she had with a White, male coworker. He was complaining about political correctness and saying that he thought some people used it as a crutch to play the victim because they were overly sensitive and wanted to control everyone by being part of the so-called “word police.”

Here’s my take on political correctness (especially at work)…

You can’t say what the f*ck you want to say!

Period! This goes for the workplace or anywhere else. There are consequences for running your mouth a certain way and offending people, such as getting your a** kicked, getting written up at work, hiding from your neighbors (so you don’t get your a** kicked), losing respect from people you were friendly with, losing your job, etc.

Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but everyone doesn’t have the right to go around saying the most offensive things to any and everyone and then getting upset, when the person tells them off, confronts them about their language or makes a formal complaint about what they’ve said.

We live in a country, where Blacks were called “ni**er,” “boy,” “coon,” “spade,” and anything under the sun by Whites. This was in and out of the workplace. So, now, that people can’t be as fast and footloose as they want with demeaning language, racial innuendo, and flat out bad manners, they want to complain that people are policing them and violating their right to insult others.

This whole political correctness thing came out of the fact that Blacks, gays, women, the physically and mentally challenged, etc. were all being very vocal about what they would and would not tolerate regarding language and labels. Everyone was fed up! It was part of an attempt to censor those, who obviously cannot censor themselves.

You should not have to be told that you can’t say certain things to or in front of certain people. If you had any fair portion of a decent upbringing, you wouldn’t even have to be told that you have to watch your mouth. We all know people say all sorts of things in private conversations. But, once you leave your home and, particularly in the workplace (representing someone else and receiving money for your skills), you do not have a right to show every inch of your ignorance.

Blacks and others are tired of hearing people defend bigots and other miscreants with arguments that we so-called misunderstood what they said or meant or that we are taking it the wrong way or that they didn’t know any better or that they didn’t mean it that way, etc. Everyone in the workplace needs to stop defending people who repeatedly say things that would fall into the category of being politically incorrect.

If you say it more than once, regardless of how you may change the words up a bit, then you meant it. It’s not about political correctness. It’s not about so-called joking around. Watch your mouth!

As far as management in the workplace, everyone must be held to the same standard. I guarantee you that a Black person being politically incorrect and calling a White coworker or manager a “cracka” or “ofay” or something else would quickly escalate into the Black person being written up, suspended, terminated, etc. So, we need to see that kind of vigilance in dealing with foul and offensive language on both sides.

If someone finds it hard to work 4, 8 or however many hours they work per day without saying something that isn’t politically correct, that person has a real problem! They are sick. It should not take any effort to be respectful of everyone around you. If you are having issues, that is on you and has nothing to do with anyone being sensitive, hypersensitive or ultrasensitive.

It takes a lot of nerve to get angry because you’re used to saying what the f*ck you want and now you can’t do it. Just be glad you got away with it for as long as you did and call it a day. Get your stuff together and behave like a decent human being. Give everyone the respect they deserve and that you would demand and you will never have to worry about being politically correct. You will never cross that line!!!

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Poll: Some Whites Think Obama Would “Do Too Much” for African-Americans as President

An ABC/Washington Post poll conducted June 12-15 indicates that roughly three in ten Americans express “less racially sensitive views,” such as having some feelings of prejudice or generally believing that African-Americans in their communities do not experience discrimination. Sen. John McCain holds a 26-point advantage over Obama with this group of voters.

Of the 32 percent of white voters who admit experiencing feelings of racial prejudice, 31 percent think Obama would “do too much” for African-Americans if he is elected president.

The Blogger wonders what exactly “too much” is.

I wonder if these same Whites feel that White Presidents “do too much” for White Americans? I’m sure they wouldn’t believe that. They probably don’t think enough is done for Whites.

Interesting that so many Whites admit to having fears that Blacks might get some measure of equality or, at the very least, that someone might listen to their concerns or needs. Its' kind of bold to admit that you like a huge segment of the American population to be ignored and that you want it to remain that way.



Friday, June 20, 2008

Button Asks: If Obama is President…Will We Still Call It The White House?

There's a new post below. First, here’s a link to an article on the Huffington Post about an incident being reported on TV and in print. The Texas GOP allowed a vendor to sell a button (black with white lettering) asking: “If Obama is President…will we still call it the White House?”

EEOC: Race-Biased Decision-making Not Always Conscious, But...

According to the EEOC, racially biased decision-making and treatment may not always conscious. As a result, Title VII (Civil Rights Act) covers not only decisions driven by racial animosity, but also decisions infected by stereotyped thinking or other forms of less conscious bias.

For example, although a “personality conflict” can be a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for an employment decision, the personality conflict must not be rooted in any employer racial bias toward the employee.

Using a defense such as a personality conflict isn’t out of the ordinary for an employer. In my case, my employer referred to a personality conflict as a “social/personal issue between coworkers.” They tried to say that the outright racist motivations of my supervisor and director amounted to a problem between women because we were all female. They attempted to sell the issue as a dispute between women with strong personalities. Sounds pretty reasonable, right? But, it was a lie and a pretext, which was meant to give a race-neutral answer to a race-based problem in the workplace.

It was my job to show that this pretext was a lie and a misrepresentation of the facts by pointing out why the root of the problem had nothing to do with personalities at all. I did this by showing the amount of planning that went into my employer’s actions, pointing out how my supervisor and director couldn’t have engaged in certain actions without the support of management, showing how other coworkers were treated with similar situations, and by providing documentation of conversations and emails from management regarding my situation. My employer had violated its own policies, when dealing with my situation and handled my issues in a manner that showed an excessive amount of negative attention was being paid to me and that there was substantial overreaction by those involved. The intent of the actions was clear and it had nothing to do with a personality clash.

Do not let your employer off the hook by allowing them to say that they or one of their agents or a coworkers didn’t intend to use racial biases against you or that they didn’t know better because they are new to management, etc. We, as employees, are expected to be accountable for our actions. Our employers are held to a higher burden by Federal statutes.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

IN THE NEWS: Obama Sock Monkey Doll Going Back on Sale

Below is a link to a Salt Lake City Tribune article about the controversial Barack Obama sock puppet. The sock puppet is a plush MONKEY with a suit and hair. A Utah couple created the sock puppet, but said they have great affection towards it and did not mean for the monkey to offend anyone or refer to racial stereotypes. The link is at:

This Denver Post article has a picture of the monkey:

Getting back to the workplace, there’s a post below on forced resignation.

Forced Resignation/Constructive Termination

Sometimes we say that we know someone that’s been “run out of their job.” But, the legal terminology we should use is that the person was a possible victim of “constructive termination.” So, I want to take a quick look at the two types of termination, actual and constructive.

Actual Termination

When you are actually fired by your employer, you are notified in writing or verbally that they don’t want to see your Black a** no more! Yes, let me be real on that.

Constructive Termination

Constructive termination is when an employee resigns because their company or one or more of their representatives, such as a supervisor, director, etc., is intentionally creating a situation where the employee’s work environment is so hostile and intolerable that there is no way the person can stand to show up on the job anymore. And, the employer would have known that the person would have been compelled to resign based on what was going on at work. In those cases, it can be argued that the worker was a victim of constructive termination. In other words, they were forced to resign because it was the only reasonable choice, considering the circumstances.

To give you an example of constructive termination, I’ll describe what happened to a friend of mine, a manager. She was stripped of her staff, she was asked to clean the company’s three kitchens, she was forced to shred paper for days at a time and to break apart meeting folders, she was asked to wear a head scarf to serve clients food, she was given extremely menial tasks, and she was being demoted—at the time she resigned. She is now seeking legal remedy based on constructive termination among other violations of her rights. So, use the proper terminology. If you were run out of your job, say that you were the victim of constructive termination and prove your case!

FYI: Isolated acts of hostility or misconduct wouldn’t justify the accusation against an employer that there was constructive termination, but a continuous pattern of intolerable behavior would certainly support an employee’s claim that they were forced to leave their job.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


NEW YORK – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently announced the settlement of a harassment and retaliation lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act against Tavern on the Green, a landmark restaurant located in Central Park in New York City, for $2.2 million and significant remedial relief.

The EEOC charged in the case that Tavern on the Green engaged in severe and pervasive sexual, racial, and national origin harassment of female, black, and Hispanic employees. The sexual harassment included graphic comments and demands for various sex acts, as well as groping of women’s buttocks and breasts. The racial and national origin harassment included epithets toward black and Hispanic employees and ridiculing Hispanics for their accents. The restaurant also retaliated against employees for refusing to consent to and/or objecting to the harassment, according to the EEOC.

The consent decree resolving the suit was submitted for approval to U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The EEOC sued Tavern on the Green on Sept. 24, 2007 (Civil Action No. 07-CV-8256) after conducting an administrative investigation and first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court.

“We are pleased that this settlement will provide appropriate relief for the individuals who have been harmed,” said EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Kam S.Wong of the New York District Office. “We are likewise glad that this employer is taking proactive measures to ensure a discrimination-free workplace in the future by addressing the problems that led to the lawsuit.”

As part of the consent decree, a claim fund of $2.2 million will be allocated to victims of the harassment and/or retaliation. Additionally, the restaurant will establish a telephone hotline which employees may use to raise any discrimination complaints, distribute a revised policy against discrimination and retaliation, and provide training to all employees against discrimination and retaliation.

EEOC New York District Director Spencer H. Lewis said, “This case should remind employers to take seriously allegations of harassment and retaliation, especially where managers in positions of authority are involved in the misconduct.”

On Feb. 28, 2007, EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp launched the Commission's E-RACE Initiative (Eradicating Racism and Colorism from Employment), a national outreach, education, and enforcement campaign focusing on new and emerging race and color issues in the 21st century workplace. Further information about the E-RACE Initiative is available on the EEOC’s web site at

According to its web site,, the restaurant is “one of New York’s most dazzling dining experiences…Built to house sheep in 1870, the building now known as Tavern on the Green became a restaurant in 1934…and is currently the highest-grossing independently-owned restaurant in the United States with annual revenues in excess of $34 million and over half a million visitors a year.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at


Monday, June 16, 2008


Here’s a link to a May 28th Los Angeles Times article on recent Supreme Court decisions, which strengthen anti-discrimination laws. An excerpt from the article, by David G. Savage, reads:

In a pair of decisions, the court concluded that claims of retaliation were covered by long-standing civil rights laws, even though this kind of discrimination was not mentioned specifically in the statutes. The expansion of employee rights stands in contrast to a series of pro-business rulings by the high court last year that limited the rights of workers.

In the first decision, the court said the nation's oldest civil rights law, passed just after the Civil War, not only gave blacks the same rights as whites to make contracts, but it protected them from being fired for voicing complaints about the mistreatment of other black employees.

In the second decision, the court said older federal employees who were punished after complaining of age bias could sue the government for retaliation. Government lawyers had argued that these workers were protected by the civil service system and had no right to sue.

Check out the full article at: (cut and paste the link),0,2113090.story

Friday, June 13, 2008

IN THE NEWS: There is No Video of Michelle Obama Saying "Whitey" at Trinity Church

Democratic Presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, has launched a new web site to fight Internet rumors against him (and his wife/family). The site, Fight the Smears, is found online at

You can check out any rumors that have been circulating online and will find Obama’s response regarding the reality of the situation.

You can also sign up for an Obama Action Wire. If you sign up, you will get an email, when an Internet rumor is first circulated and you can send email to your friends, family, coworkers, etc. with the truth about the false allegation.

If you are a Democrat, it’s important that you help spread the truth about the Democratic nominee. This election and nomination are too important to sit back and do nothing.


Register to Vote

If you aren't already registered to vote, make sure you go ahead and get that process started ASAP.

You can go to a site like Rock the Vote at or you can check the board of elections web site for your state to get a voter registration application.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Get Your Free Obama '08 Bumper Sticker

I'm an Obama supporter, so I have to pass this on.

Moveon.Org is offering a free Obama ’08 bumper sticker on their web site. The web address is You can cut and paste the link into your browser or click on it from the links section.

Black or Bi-Racial: What Do You Think?

A CNN reporter, Jason Carroll, posed a question to CNN online readers asking about Sen. Barack Obama’s racial identity. He says he received heated responses regarding whether or not Obama is Black or bi-racial.

Some Blacks and bi-racial people think that Obama is not Black. They say he is bi-racial, which is different. Obama refers to himself as Black because he says that’s what people see, when they look at him. It’s the same comment made by actress Halle Berry.

Anyway, it’s a shame that people are not focusing on Obama’s policies and ideas for the country because they are fixated on continuous discussions about his race and color. But, when we think of this country’s history, race and color are always going to be issues. Blacks even deal with these issues as a collective group.

It’s always been about field Negro vs. house Negro, light skin vs. dark skin, “good hair” vs. “nappy hair,” broad nose vs. straight nose, light eyes vs. brown eyes, and any number of other superficial characteristics that can be used to divide our people up and to make some Blacks feel superior to other Blacks based on these shallow standards of identifying beauty, intelligence, acceptability, etc.

Even in the workplace, racial identity, race, and color are sometimes issues. I’ve worked in offices where Blacks with lighter complexions talked honestly about being treated better by White staff than Blacks with darker skin. I’m sure others have worked in places where the reverse may have been true. So, it’s really no surprise that the discussion of whether Obama is Black enough, literally, has come up.

Let’s get a dialogue going. So, the questions to you are:

Do you think Sen. Obama is Black or bi-racial?

How do you think Whites view Obama (Black vs. bi-racial)?

Does it matter to you/are you interested in labels (for historical sense, etc.)?

Is this a productive political conversation? If so, why?

Are you offended by questions about racial identity (bi-racial vs. Black)?

I’d like to hear your answers as well as about your experiences with racial identity and color in your personal and/or professional life

This is The Black Factor. This is the perfect place to talk about this issue, which is not going anywhere. More and more people are mixed and will be of mixed races in the future. So, let’s discuss it.

Post a comment and I’ll include some of the responses in an upcoming post to continue the discussion!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Unwelcome Conduct and Severe/Pervasive Abuse

I remember receiving a handout from a former employer, which provided this notation about workplace harassment: “Whether or not harassment took place should be viewed from the perspective of the victim and not the accused.”

In line with that, the EEOC says: There are two requirements for race-based conduct to trigger potential liability for unlawful harassment: (1) the conduct must be unwelcome; and (2) the conduct must be sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the terms and conditions of employment in the mind of the victim and from the perspective of a reasonable person in the victim’s position. At this point, the harassing conduct “offends Title VII’s broad rule of workplace equality.”

So, let's define these 2 requirements a bit more...

Unwelcome Conduct – In cases of harassment, the conduct must be unwelcome in the sense that the alleged victim did not solicit or incite the conduct and regarded it as undesirable or offensive. When the conduct involves mistreatment or is racially derogatory in nature, unwelcomeness usually is not an issue, even when the alleged harasser and victim are of the same race. Sometimes employers argue that the conduct in question was not unwelcome because it was playful banter, and the alleged victim was an active participant. The facts in such cases require careful scrutiny to determine whether the alleged victim was, in fact, a willing participant.

Severe or Pervasive Abuse - To violate Title VII, racially abusive conduct does not have to be so egregious that it causes economic or psychological injury. Harassment must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis, by looking at all the circumstances and the context. Relevant factors in evaluating whether racial harassment creates a sufficiently hostile work environment may include any of the following (no single factor is determinative):

The frequency of the discriminatory conduct;

The severity of the conduct;

Whether the conduct was physically threatening or humiliating;

Whether it unreasonably interfered with the employee’s work performance; and

The context in which the harassment occurred, as well as any other relevant factor.

The more severe the harassment, the less pervasive it needs to be, and vice versa.

Accordingly, unless the harassment is quite severe, a single incident or isolated incidents of offensive racial conduct or remarks generally do not create an abusive working environment. But a single, extremely serious incident of harassment may be sufficient to constitute a Title VII violation, especially if the harassment is physical.

Examples of the types of single incidents that can create a hostile work environment based on race include: an actual or depicted noose or burning cross (or any other manifestation of an actual or threatened racially motivated physical assault), a favorable reference to the Ku Klux Klan, an unambiguous racial epithet such as the “N-word,” and a racial comparison to an animal.

Racial comments or other acts that are not sufficiently severe standing alone may become actionable when repeated, although there is no threshold magic number of harassing incidents giving rise to liability.


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Monday, June 09, 2008

Continually Consider How To Prove Your Case

When you are contemplating filing a race-based complaint, internally or externally, think about how you will overcome the lies that your employer probably has already told about you.

An employer can make up any excuse to justify employment actions against an employee. These excuses don’t have to be proven unless the employee complains about the action. So, the employer can go ahead and accuse you of fabricated performance deficiencies and use those false allegations to deny you a promotion, for example. Unless you say, “I’m being denied advancement for reasons that are without merit…,” no one will ever examine the allegations against you. Why would they?

Unless you work for an extremely small company, HR staff may know your name, they probably remember what department you’re assigned to, they may remember your title, but they don’t know your specific contributions to the company—during any given day, month or year. So, don’t think someone in HR will get suspicious, if you are suddenly accused of very negative behavior at work, which is completely out of character for you.

When I worked in HR, not one HR staff person read the performance evaluations that were filtered through our office for filing. We simply got a copy, ensured that the employee signed that they read and understood the review, ensured that the supervisor signed the review, and placed the review in the employee’s personnel file. That was it! We never read it to see if anything was fishy or inconsistent or contradictory or just plain unacceptable at face value.

So, it’s up to you to challenge false allegations that a coworker or supervisor, etc. is making about you.

If you decide to challenge a false claim, the first thing you need to consider is how you are going to refute supervisor/employer lies. Let’s use the example that you are falsely accused of performance deficiencies. To combat that lie, you could:

--Show copies of previous performance evaluations that contradict what was said;
--Produce copies of emails that contradict new negative allegations against you; and
--Show thank you cards form clients and coworkers; etc.

You could also check the personnel manual in order to prove that your supervisor, employer, etc. violated the company’s written policies and procedures. Your employer would then be forced to justify why they did not follow the pre-existing guidelines they established. This goes a long way in showing an agenda against an employee and shows clear intent, not an accident, in executing an employment action!!

If you are placed on probation, for example, based on false allegations, go to the personnel manual. What does the manual say about handling management issues? If the manual says that an employee should first be given 1) an oral warning; 2) a written warning; 3) be placed on probation, your employer would have to answer why they jumped to step #3 of their own process. They have to justify why what you did was so egregious they violated their own policy, especially if you don’t have a history of having any performance issues.

Other things you could do include:

--Getting witness corroboration to support your version of events. Ask coworkers to write statements for you or to speak to HR reps on your behalf. Getting support in writing is best!

--Tape recording meetings to get verbal threats, racial epithets, etc. on tape.

--Keeping a log of all race-based incidents, incidents of harassment, etc. with specifics details on who did what and when!

--Requesting an internal investigation to place the burden on the company to stop or reverse the fraudulent employment action. Get the HR department on record, should you need to go to a lawyer or outside investigatory agency!

--Keep a log of all the lies your employer tells and write specific quotes (include the date and time of conversations, etc.). Put yourself in a position to have fantastic recall of who said what and when!

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Keep Track of Your Leave

If you are under attack at work and/or if you have filed a complaint or grievance regarding workplace discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, you should maintain copies of your timesheets. It’s important to keep copies of your timesheets, each week, as opposed to having to go back and retrieve them. You don’t want your employer to have the opportunity to manipulate your timesheet before you’ve obtained a copy for your records. So, each week, make a copy of your timesheet before you submit it. If your employer asks you to make changes to your timesheet or makes changes to a timesheet, with or without your knowledge, you will always have a copy of the original version.

No matter what, you should always be prepared for attacks against your credibility or for fraudulent arguments that are simply based on the content of your timesheets.

I’ve worked for an employer that falsified and manufactured timesheets to try to disprove a case against them that was being investigated by a state government agency. The reason this employer was unsuccessful in getting away with their submission of falsified documents was because the employee maintained a copy of all of her timesheets for that period and could show that new timesheets had suddenly “appeared” in her file (with completely different hours recorded). It would have been beyond her capacity to doctor an exact copy of the corporate timesheets, but much easier for her employers to do so. Keep this example in mind, when it comes to your own timesheets.

Keeping your timesheets will prove the amount of leave you used, if any, as a result of stress-related ailments due to harassment, discrimination or other illegal activities committed by your employer. You can use these timesheets to request a restoration of your sick leave used while you were being harassed and tormented at work. Timesheets will also show your general sick and vacation leave used, in case there is some later dispute about your attendance at work.

Keep in mind, when employers are being investigated or questioned, they want to show negative past behavior on your part. Leave is one area for employer’s to attack and is often one of the first targets they will hit. If you are being targeted at work, the torment is designed to cause you to lose your focus, make errors, force you to resign, and to cause any other side effects that will play into your employer's hands. Your employer wants to drive you to drinking and to the verge of a nervous breakdown, but will question your sick leave during these attacks. Your employer will also attack legitimate reasons for being out of the office.

In my case, on the first day of an attack by my supervisor, my supervisor falsely stated that everyone questioned my hours in and out of the office and everyone wondered where I was. She told me, “We want you to come to work.” And, she said it as if I had been out of the office on a routine basis. The only absences I had from the office were pre-approved and involved work-related travel (out of state) and client meetings that took place off site. Yet, my supervisor was declaring that no one knew where I was, what I was working on, and wondered when I got anything done—because I was supposedly chronically out the office.
I have a copy of all my timesheets to prove that this statement was an obvious and intentional lie. But, it didn’t change the fact that my employer gave it the good old fashioned college try in order to justify their unjustified attacks against me. That’s why I am passing this warning on to you. Don’t let your employer have the only copy of your timesheets. It could come back to haunt you.

You may want to maintain a copy of your previous year’s timesheets as added insurance against manipulation by your employer. If your employer feels the need to create long-term problems with your employment, they may go well into the past to show so-called performance/attendance issues on your part.

Remember, even your legitimate use of sick leave and vacation leave may come under attack from your employer. When requesting advance leave, make sure your time off is approved, forms are signed by the proper authority, coworkers are notified of your schedule, your assignments are covered during your time out of the office, and that you have a copy of your signed and approved leave form in your personal file.

Remember, if you record your hours on an electronic timesheet, you should print your timesheets and place them in a file folder for safe keeping.

Final thought: If you’re under attack at work, always get a note from your doctor, if you’re out sick.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Same Race Discrimination

I have new people coming to the site all the time. So, I sometimes like to reprint certain posts. Here’s one I’d like to share again regarding same race discrimination. I think it’s a problem that is easily overlooked and that can be confusing, since it's reasonable to question how the law looks upon the issue. Here’s the post on the subject:

I received a question, recently, that asked me if Federal law applies to cases of discrimination (harassment/retaliation) where the person doing the discriminating is of the same race as the person being discriminated against. It’s a very good question. I wanted to briefly share the answer, which is a resounding…


If a person’s rights are being infringed upon, it doesn’t matter what race the perpetrator represents.

And, yes, in case you’re wondering, there are Black people who will target each other simply because of race and/or color. We all come from different backgrounds and have different perspectives. Black people are no more homogenous than any other race. A light-skinned manager might commit color discrimination by targeting the only dark-skinned Black worker in her department because she has an inherent dislike for dark-skinned Blacks—a feeling she has vocalized by saying that dark-skinned Blacks are stupid, lazy, ghetto, embarrassing, etc. and making similar comments to her Black subordinate. Or, the opposite may be true with a dark-skinned manager harassing a light-skinned subordinate for being prissy, arrogant, a White wanna-be, etc.

In both examples, if the managers are impacting their subordinate’s ability to do his/her job (stripping them of assignments, transferring them to hard-to-reach locations, constant bullying, making threats against their jobs, bumping into them in the hallways, staring them down, refusing to answer phone messages or emails, etc.) these managers would likely be guilty of harassment because they’ve created a hostile work environment for the workers and have made it difficult or impossible for them to perform their duties. It doesn’t matter that the individuals involved are of the same race.

What matters is whether the complainant has received a significant and negative change in the conditions of his/her employment, which makes it hard to carry out the requirements of the job.

So, don’t feel that you have to tolerate mistreatment from a Black manager, coworker, etc. anymore than you would have to tolerate mistreatment from a White manager, coworker, etc. Treat infringements upon your rights in the same way!

Discrimination, harassment, and retaliation are not just Black and White issues. We can mistreat each other and break Federal laws. Additionally, we can be subjected to abuse from other so-called minorities.

Remember, the same Federal prohibitions against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation apply to everyone.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Inherent Credibility

If you have found yourself in a situation where you have filed an internal or external grievance against your employer for a racially-based problem at work, here's something to consider...

Are various aspects of your employer's defense reasonable? Are various aspects of your employer's allegations against you plausible? It sounds simplistic, but credibility is a big deal.

Really read through complaints made about you by your employer and ask yourself if a third party (read: a lawyer or investigator) will find inherent plausibility in your employer's arguments. Is what your employers are saying about you sound on its face?

Here's what I mean. In an effort to retaliate against me, for an issue I won't go into here, my employer accused me of being disliked by all of my coworkers. Yes, I mean every last one of them! However, just 9 months earlier, my employer gave me a written evaluation that stated I was a joy to work with, was pleasant, was well-liked, etc. So, instead of it being my word against my employer's word, my final year-end review showed there was no inherent plausibility to my employer's argument that every action taken against me had to do with the fact that I was intensely disliked and, therefore, was disruptive on my projects.

You need to read every sentence of important emails and documents and highlight what arguments/defenses are clearly implausible. This will help prove your case, may show that your employer is engaged in a cover-up to hide the true motives behind their actions, and can be the key to establishing your credibility with any third party that becomes involved in your case.

Show how your case is plausible and truthful, while showing how your employer's defense and arguments are completely without basis and unreasonable.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

My thought of the day...On Racists

Dealing with racists is like dealing with roaches. For every roach you see, there are 15 more you don't!

White vs. Black/Women vs. Men in Politics and the Workplace

This post is kind of my stream of consciousness on White women, race, politics, and the workplace.

On Friday, I created a blog called No Black Vote in ’08 ( This blog was inspired by the numerous White women I’d heard complaining on TV and in print that they will not vote for Sen. Barack Obama in November because he beat Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. Now, I understand that some people are always going to be sore losers. But, it’s more the tone of what I was hearing and the undercurrent of racial resentment towards Sen. Obama, who some White women feel has ROBBED Sen. Clinton of something by beating her fair and square for the nomination.

It is that racial resentment, being disguised as general feminism, which has sparked my personal outrage. It has been said, by some White women, that Sen. Obama’s candidacy was infuriating to them—from the beginning—because it made Sen. Clinton’s candidacy “less special.” In other words, having a woman (White) run for President wasn’t as special with a man (Black) running for President. There’s been a growing resentment towards Sen. Obama and a sense of competition for the crown of “who has it harder…a woman or a Black person.” Many White women/feminists believe that White women have it harder than a Black person. Carrying that logic forward, it’s interesting that White women never acknowledge that or applaud Black women for surviving and having it harder than they do (again, by their logic). You see, Black women are often subjected to intersectional discrimination based on gender AND race. But, White women don’t care to talk about that.

Sen. Clinton has said, and many of her supporters believe, that sexism is a greater issue than racism because it is easier to engage in gender discrimination/misogyny than to discriminate or launch attacks based on race.

Well, someone ought to tell the White women I’ve worked with about that!

IN MY EXPERIENCE (notice the capitalization)…IN MY EXPERIENCE, with very rare exception, every race-based incident that I was involved in, witnessed or was told about involved a White woman getting into some race-based problem with a Black person. Of course, I am speaking about my experience in an office/corporate environment. More often than not, a White woman ended up in a race-based dispute with a Black woman! If a dispute started on race-neutral grounds, it could still morph into a race-based problem just based on the basis instinct everyone has to stick with, support, defend, and to protect their own kind.

This is not to say that White women are always to blame. However, I think (BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE) that this is an issue worth noting. I would love to see statistics on this. But, in an office environment, I have seen White women and Black women repeatedly getting into these often escalating race-based problems at work.

What listening to Sen. Clinton’s White, female supporters and surrogates reminds me of is the venom that often comes out in the workplace, when White women and Black women get into it.

Hearing White women resort to these overly emotional arguments, using threats and intimdation in arguing for their position, working to get a group together to denounce, ostracize or attack a person, and vowing to launch their complaints with higher authorities, is similar to what I’ve seen and heard in the workplace.

IN MY EXPERIENCE, White women, who run into issues with Black women, will go out of their way to complain to a Black woman’s supervisor and/or Director and/or Human Resources and/or other higher-ups at a company. This was done not so much to get a resolution to a problem, but to get the Black woman in trouble (written up, etc.). There is rarely any move to work things out between the two parties. There is often simply a rush to escalate events and to get others to side against the Black person.

IN MY EXPERIENCE, the White woman has often portrayed herself as a victim, has cried and used other emotional ploys to gain sympathy from other staff and management, sought attention based on her so-called victimization, and became vengeful—very eager to settle a score. I HAVE SEEN THIS MANY TIMES ON DIFFERENT LEVELS!

This is why what I am seeing and hearing on TV and in print is resonating so strongly WITH ME! I have seen what a White woman’s determination to settle a score with a Black person, who she feels has wronged her, has led to. This could be a very serious problem for Sen. Obama, if these women are as determined to do him in as the women I’ve worked with have been determined to do in whoever was in their cross-hairs. I’ve been in those cross-hairs…

This is why there continue to be so many problems. Preexisting racial tensions and sometimes gender clashes play such a big role in how people interact with each other in the workplace and in life, in general. I will admit that I am sometimes suspicious of certain White women, who remind me of negative experiences I’ve had. So, these preexisting problems just poison the atmosphere in the workplace, in politics, and in general interactions.

Very few people want to talk honestly about race because that means everyone has to own up to their bulls*it! People tend to want to blame others and hold others accountable, but never want to reflect on how they contribute to a problem or even benefit from certain circumstances. That is whether you are talking white vs. white, black vs. black, husband vs. wife, etc. It’s easier to complain about and point fingers at other people.

I’ll end with this, for all the White women determined to bring down Barack Obama:

White women need to remember that strives by Black people to ensure the equal rights of African Americans and, therefore, all Americans, have served to benefit them greatly. Women have benefited greatly from the strives of Blacks! They should rethink these sour grapes and conduct themselves like loyal Democrats—if that’s what they have previously claimed they are. When it comes to protesting and boycotting and undermining—two can play that game! If Sen. Obama is intentionally railroaded, sabotaged, whatever word you want to use, by White women…you can forget about this Black woman just going ahead and supporting the Democratic party. I have been a loyal Democrat, since I was 18 years old. I vote in mid-term elections and other elections, not just for President. Not voting goes against my core beliefs. But, sometimes you have to attack from your source of strength. I think people need to understand that White women, blue-collar voters, etc. aren’t the only ones with POWER in the Democratic Party. Whether we vote or not, Blacks can use our LARGE AND LOYAL Democratic vote to ensure equity and unity from other so-called loyal Democrats!

Two can play that game! Don’t think you can continue to take the Black vote for granted or to marginalize our contributions to the success of the Democratic Party. Everybody needs to get in line behind our nominee! Period!

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