Monday, January 12, 2009

It's Just That Easy...

Here's proof of how easy it is for a race-based issue to crop up at work--as the story was relayed to me by two different individuals (both Black, for the record)...

A group of Black guys were sitting in the break room talking about rap artists and singing some songs. A Hispanic guy comes in and inserts himself into what's going on by announcing that he can't stand rap music because he finds rappers to be ignorant, stupid, and that they don't ever say anything that makes sense.

So, the response from the Black guys was "Who asked you? You ain't even a part of this conversation." They continued their conversation and the Hispanic guy keeps talking. By the time the back and forth finishes, the Hispanic guy has announced to a room--primarily filled with Blacks folks--that he doesn't like Black people and that's why he doesn't like rap. He thinks that most Black people are just like rappers, ignorant and not making any sense. He adds that the employers are "lucky" he even "lowers himself" to work with Black people because we are "beneath" him.

This escalated things, especially with one Black guy. This guy gets into the Hispanic guy's face and is like, "Are you crazy?" When it ends, the Black guy taps the Hispanic guy on his chest and says something like, "You need think about what you saying to people."

The Hispanic guy goes to management and says that the Black guy was engaged in a racist conversation and that the Black guy hit him--hard! Even though not a single witness confirmed that version of the story, the Black guy got fired ON THE SPOT! He was fired, not for defending Black people or confronting the guy, but allegedly for being violent!

It was just that easy!

So, now you've got a Black employee thinking about getting a lawyer for a wrongful termination suit. And, you've got a Hispanic employee, who can't look anybody Black in the eyes right now.

So, there are simmering racial tensions based on one person not being able to suppress his racial biases. However, he still has his job.

It's just that easy for employers to make a hasty decision that makes it look like they condone racial animosity in the workplace. While they would likely arue it was the so-called physical aspect of the exchange between the workers that led to the termination, they would be hard pressed to answer why the Hispanic worker was not suspended or terminated for spewing racial venom and offending a room filled with Black workers.

Anyway, I'd like to know what's the most ridiculous incident that happened at your workplace (past or present) that led to a race-based argument or racial tensions on the job? Post a comment!


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