I received this e-mail letter yesterday. I reproduce it here without comment.
Dear Dr. Nemko,
I appreciate your articles and maybe you'll find my story worth telling.
After working on a job for two years with no problems, a month after my wife's death, the regional manager (a black man) said I was going to be "let go" for breaking some small rules.
I didn't understand why he wanted to get rid of me and why he wouldn't lay me off instead of fire me. I found out why when I went to get unemployment--they denied me because they said I was fired--that way the employer doesn't have to pay.
I didn't have the energy or the money to fight it because I was still trying to catch up on bills from the hospital and funeral. Since then I have been eking by with a very part-time job ($50/month), food stamps, and the help of some very good friends.
Since all this has happened, I have had three lawsuits for unpaid credit cards (most were my wife's), my vehicle was repo'ed (and they are still trying to get me to pay it off!) and have been trying to find a job so I can get back on my feet. In the area I live in, Mexicans are working in plants and sending money by the thousands of dollars back "home". They are willing to work for less than minimum wage and are often paid under the table.
I have paid taxes, voted in elections, been a proper American, yet these situations are causing me to be unemployable. I soon will have to move out of my home of 15 years into a housing project apartment because I can't afford to live here anymore. I deeply believe that reverse discrimination is rampant but I can't do anything about it.
There are times I feel like I have become emasculated by the government. And the people that know me treat me as someone who is deserving of pity. I don't want pity, I want my life back!
(The author of this letter asked that I not use his name but state it as "DLJ from Georgia.")