Monday, November 24, 2008

Is It Just Business?

Yesterday, the issue of non-existent "favoritism" and complaints about people making the work environment "too stressful" by enforcing preexisting rules was brought up by a couple of workers. Some workers have even mumbled or said that they felt like they were on a "plantation." As one of the supervisors, I had to remind them that nothing being said to them was personal. And, I also reminded them that we were working at a business.

On the train ride home, last night, I decided to write a brief reminder that sometimes we have to look at our actions and attitudes and decide if we are in the wrong or if we are being personally attacked or scapegoated based on race or other factors.

To do this requires some serious honesty because it requires each of us to be reflect on our behavior, professionalism, work ethic, the quality of our work, etc.

I would never mistreat any worker and I wouldn't attack anyone based on personal biases. I've been there, so I wouldn't subject anyone to that. Besides, it's not in my nature to conduct myself in that manner. However, I understand (and have lived) that many people have no quarrel with engaging in the abuse of workers.

But, the problem for Blacks is that we do have some people who cry wolf, when they really haven't been doing what they are supposed to be doing. And, those folks make it harder for Blacks facing serious and legitimate race-based issues at work to fight against a system which makes it hard to prove you've become a target.

If you are called out by a supervisor for making stupid errors on your projects or for other reasons, at some point you have to ask yourself if they are right and if you need to make some adjustments to how you perform your duties.

None of us should say someone is targeting us for race-based reasons, when it just might be a business reason and a legitimate behavior that should be addressed.

All Blacks get accused of playing the race card, when a few Blacks play the race-card to cover their tracks and to divert attention from the fact that they've just been cashing a check, while slacking off in their duties. We all suffer and are accused of knowingly playing the victim because we don't want to admit our faults. That's part of the stereotyping we face as a people.

I felt compelled to give a reality check that it's not okay to cry wolf and that sometimes criticism really is legitimate and has nothing to do with being a pretext to hide racial or other biases.

I'll continue this train of thought tomorrow.


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