Monday, July 23, 2007

By his deeds

- Shall a man be known

Racism still alive they just be concealing it
But I know they don't want me in the damn club
They even make me show I.D to get inside of Sam's club

Never get me down - Kanye West

Ok, tear last nights draft of this same post up and starts fresh.

I know there are probably more important things that I could be blogging about like how an 11 year old boy minding his own business caught a stray bullet in a gang shootout here in the on Saturday but ......

This one gets to me.

A young black man, U of T honors student, applying for a job with the Provincial government at Queens Park was apparently referred to as 'ghetto dude' by one staff member in an email to another. Only thing was they mistakenly cc'ed him on the email. Whoops!

This is taken from the Star's article last Saturday

That was it. One stark sentence.

"Ghetto dude? It means I'm black. It's very insulting," Reid told the Star yesterday. "It's still pretty shocking to me."

As he sees it, the email explains why he hasn't gotten a followup interview for a job as a media analyst. He applied July 3 but missed a July 10 call from Aileen Siu in the cabinet office.

Although he called her back and sent followup emails, there was no response. Until yesterday's email.

"Based on my resumé I deserved to be called, but I was not worthy of being called back once they heard my mother's voice and my voice," said Reid, 22. "She has a Jamaican accent and it's about the way I talk. There's a nuance."

Now I'm trying to figure out why this label was applied to this obviously educated young man with according to the report a stellar resume. Was he corresponding in ghetto slang replete with knowwhaimeans and knowhaisayings and fa sheezys? Did he arrive for his interview replete with bling and pimp cup? Sorry I'm not too sure what makes one ghetto so I'm making some assumptions here. Or was it just that Evon Reid is a young black man with dreadlocks and a Caribbean accent who happened to live in Malvern?

Now to be honest I'm not at all surprised as most black people can attest that degrees and accomplishments are not really what black folk are judged by. Nope its usually our skin color. Ok too general a statement? Well lets just say that racism is alive and well all over the world even gasp in this so called melting pot of multiculturalism that we call Toronto.

This ghetto dude comment just gives concrete proof, credence as you will, that some of the things that we as black people think regarding racism in this country are true. Not that we needed this to prove it but maybe it will open the eyes of some of the lesser enlightened who claim that we are playing race cards or trying to make everything about race.

And no everything isn't about race but some things clearly are. That's a fact of life that we as black folk acknowledge in our day to day dealings but some others don't seem to understand.

So now maybe when a black person says I didn't get the job because I was black maybe he/she wont be dismissed outright as just using a crutch to explain away their failures but someone will actually think wait a minute this person may actually have a legitimate complaint as at time they do. Not saying 100% of the time that's the truth but there are enough questions about hiring processes and race etc to make one stop and wonder. (Sort of like questionable calls by refs in the NBA and this betting scandal.)

Still regarding this comment one would and should expect better from our provincial government and its representatives (who by the way are all due a good rant by me for the piss poor way they have treated this city over the past few years). What type of impression are they giving of themselves with this type of comment?

Actually what it like most other forms of systemic racism that exists in this society is telling young black folk is that you do not count for much, you will be judged not on your character or achievements or potential, you will be judged solely on looks and race and we think that you are not up to par with the rest of society.

Well f.....orget you too! If I'm Evon right now I'm thinking this comment is somehow a breach of some fundamental charter or statute in this country where persons applying for jobs are not supposed to be judged by race, gender, religion, sexual orientation etc. If I don't get me an interview or a job offer I'm looking for a lawyer. Word!

But on the other hand if you do get that offer you're wondering well did I actually earn this or is this to appease the situation? Thank you provincial government you've just screwed up the psyche of another young brother. Its bad enough you got so many of them in jail but now you're targeting the few educated ones we have left. Great work. And then you sit back and wonder why so many black youth try to find illegal ways to make money and get involved in crime and drugs and shootings and that sort of stuff. Hmmmm.

Ok so like I said at the start there are probably more important things I could speak on but I think we need to talk about this comment. It was degrading to a young man who did nothing for which he should be degraded. It was totally uncalled for.

Yea it may be no Don Imus nappy headed hoes comment but its close. And I believe heads need to roll for this.

I'm sure Aileen Siu, the person who made the comment is regretting making it or rather regretting that she was found out. Did a quick check and saw her email address and work number plastered all over some blogs. I'm sure she ketching hell! And quite frankly she deserves it but I say she needs to be let go.

We may not have the so-called leaders that the African-American community in the US has but at the same time the black community needs to organize and protest this comment somehow. They'll claim we're over-reacting and maybe they'll have some points about other issues we could be protesting but I still say we cant let this comment be swept under the table. Someone needs to step up and say hey she did something wrong, she needs to be reprimanded.

No likkle phone apology from the Premier naa mek it!

Anything less than her firing is an additional slap in our face.

By his deeds shall a man be known not by his skin color or where he's from.

Mind you I'm sure they'll sweep this under the table, find a way to blame hip hop or BET somehow and life will go on as usual with other folks making ghetto dude snide remarks while black folk continue to get discriminated against as is the norm.

A so it a go!

Actually why even bother worrying about this. This is after all the the same society where a black politician two years ago advocated police randomly stopping black men from certain areas just because and where one could buy a couch in n**** brown so attacking the psyche of young black folks ain't nothing new.


SimplEnigma said...

If Reid knows how to handle this, he might never have to job hunt again. Not saying suing makes up for the comment, but it sure as hell would make him even.

Companies understand one thing: the bottom line...hit them where it hurts. They should have to pay out an exorbitant sum, and enjoy a blitz of negative media publicity. Al Sharpton travels...dude may be reactive with a bad perm, but he sure gets the public's attention...

inciquay said...

But does he not want to ever be judged on his merits ever again? To be forever known "as that guy"?

I'd LOVE to see Sharpton come up here and start some shit!

Urban Sista said...

You hit the nail on the head. For all anyone talks about doing better, there are still serious hindrances out there for young Black people. This guy is a shining example of what Black people are when we put our minds to it. Yet, he's lumped in as ghetto because he's Black and he has an accent. I'm tired of shaking my head or being annoyed with this foolishness. As for Aileen Siu, she needs to be fired. Plain and simple.

Dutch Pot said...

I can't believe Miss Sui still has a job?!!! Is she still actually going in to work?!!!! This reminds me of a post I needed to do!!!!!

Njamajama said...

Particularly sobering is Aileen Siu's comment that this was not targeted at Reid, it was just for her circle of friends. In other words, racism is okay amongst friends, as long as there are no "ghetto dudes and dudettes" within earshot to complain. The only way Ms. Siu is sorry is that she's sorry she got caught. And another thing - when I got caught doing something wrong as a kid, my dad made me go over and apologize in person to the one I had wronged. If she doesn't lose her job, the very least she should do is be compelled to apologize in person to Mr. Reid, instead of having Mr. McGuinty do it for her. Betcha that will go way further than any sensitivity training she may be obliged to take.

GC (God's Child) said...

making her apologize isn't really going to help her stop being stupid. It's going to make her double check who she's sending an e-mail to.

Add to that, I can't believe cc-ing the applicant was a mistake. You have to actually type in that field in order to cc someone.
She has problems.

And since being called ghetto is such a big insult, maybe we should stop throwing it around ourselves.

princessdominique said...

I know what you mean, it's crazy how prevalent racism is. I am trying to see what I can do differently. We should all endeavor to do that.

Chief Lymer said...

Bwoy - was hoping it wasn't so bad in Toronto - it was looking like a viable alternative to the highly racist UK. Disappointing - but I agree - people must start to mek noise - keeping quiet must end.

Canadian Bacon said...

Reid is being a little pussy. What the fuck... making a public issue about it.

I'm sure Reid has not called racial references to white people or asians sometime in his life, and I'm sure he hasn't mis-sent an email sometime too.

People gotta let shit go.

Especially people who grew up in NOrth York, Sauga, and Scarboro know that "ghetto" is an every day slang.... it doesn't mean BLACK.

You know I don't recall the public outpouring when asians were being profiled over SARS.

Abeni said...

just last night I had a friend pass me the article. Very unfortunate is what I'd say

Fiyah said...

@Canadian Bacon: Apathy can sometimes be as bad as the problem itself. Things like this need attention.

Stunner said...

Such a grim reminder of how much racism is still alive.