Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'm sorry ... but not enough to tell you outright.

What happens when you read a book about a 1924 riot between the KKK and students from Notre Dame University?

If you're a janitor and student at IUPU, you get accused of racial harassment.
But Sampson says his union official likened the book to bringing pornography to work...
Huh? Pornography? Nice to see your union sticking up for you. I can only speculate as to why they didn't. Maybe you should have been a Boston firefighter. Then you could have brought porn to work, got high and pleasured yourself to the porn in your break room and they'd still argue that you deserve a pay raise to compensate for drug testing and sexual harassment training...but we're not talking about Boston idiots...we're talking about Indiana idiots.
...and the school's affirmative action officer in November told Sampson his conduct constituted racial harassment.

"You used extremely poor judgment by insisting on openly reading the book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject in the presence of your black co-workers," Lillian Charleston wrote in a letter to Sampson.
My jaw kinda' dropped when I read that. What an ignorant, Pavlovian reaction to a "brand name". Don't try to read the title in context. In this case, just focus on the "KKK" part and figure it must be a racist book. Funny, it's not. It appears to be about the other thing that rips this country limb from limb - religion. Maybe these knee-jerkers could have read the title of the book. Maybe someone could have asked him, "Hey, what's that book about?" Naah. Too hard. Why try to understand what he's doing?

Soooooo, once the various university staffers realize what the book was about, and that it was in their own library, what should they do? Well, they apologize. Sorta'.
"I can candidly say that we regret this situation took place," Bantz wrote.

The affirmative action officer's apology is no better. You sniveling cowards. You absolutely bear responsibility for focusing the educational and racial climate of that place, and after YOUR UNINFORMED KNEE-JERK sends it into convulsions, you express regret that this vague "situation" happened.

How about, "I am terribly sorry for how we reacted and questioned your motives for reading this book. You did nothing inappropriate. We hope you accept our apology. We will take great effort to ensure that all people associated with this institution understand and are committed to educational freedom and the fair treatment of all." Or something like that. I dunno', you supposedly got an education to get where you are. Apparently nobody taught you to question, investigate or understand before you make a decision.

Maybe someone did, but you've put yourselves on such thin eggshells for fear of upsetting someone that you've compromised that quality. Maybe you're reacting to a logo. You see the golden arches, you know there are yummy french fries inside the bag. You see "KKK" on a book, you know there's a bigot reading it.

Whatever it is, you've compromised your office. Don't worry, I'm sure you won't get fired or anything.


Dr. Momentum said...

By their actions they have shamed themselves, invited their organization to share in that shame, and made it more difficult for those who legitimately fight racism everywhere.

Epic Fail.

Stickthulhu said...

Yeah, pretty much. I was pretty steamed when I read this.

No organization wants to have an adverse "climate" with respect to racism, sexism, etc etc, and while you can be passionate about maintaining a positive climate, the last thing I think you should be doing is taking a "zealot" approach. Come to think of it, it's even come back to bite me once or twice.

We can only hope that they have learned from the mistake, and will take a more measured approach in the future.