Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Race progress, race tensions --
a mixed bag of interesting stuff

New York Times graphic

The New York Times has a good piece today about a Black middle manager's racial discrimination lawsuit against GE. The filing of the suit shows how the same company can look progressive or rotten about race, depending on how you look at its data. The gradual development of a Black middle class in this racist culture has created a demand for consultants who explicate "diversity" to corporate clients, so we get this:

"Even if some people break through, you may have a multitude of frustrated people facing cultural barriers, not getting stretch assignments, and whose managers say, 'we're still not sure they've proven themselves'," said Frederick A. Miller, chief executive of the Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group. … Mr. Miller contended that blacks remain underrepresented in upper echelons. "African Americans are running out of patience with what they perceive as different rules for blacks and whites on the fast track," he said.

On another front, Dave Zirin nails the management of the San Francisco 49ers for its racist, sexist "media training video." He quotes the great college basketball coach John Thompson on his DC radio show:

"I would have walked out of that video on general principles not only because of the so-called humor but more because the organization is showing through that video what they think of me as a man - especially as a Black man - saying that the only way they can get through to me, the only way they can get me to listen, is by playing to jokes, playing to bigotry and stupidity. [That organization] is saying everything about the way they think about me and my intelligence by showing this.... Any player who now is defending this garbage is also defending their own treatment as something less than a fully developed man."

See the video here for yourself if you've been in a cave the last week.

Meanwhile the San Francisco Chronicle has a good article on academic and pastor Michael Eric Dyson who has just written a book, Is Bill Cosby Right? Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind? Dyson has got it in for middle class Blacks, like Cosby, who trash poor Blacks. The article is a fair summary of the controversy with input from local teacher Linda Spriggs who works with at-risk kids in alternative education programs in the San Francisco public schools:

"People like us mostly don't go there. We don't want to associate with them. We don't go back and pick up somebody."

There's nothing for white folks to feel complacent about in all this. The historic US sin of branding some humans less valuable than others, rooted always in white supremacy, has us all, however well-meaning, dancing about in endless permutations of racial meanings.

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