Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Poignant Letter from An Alleged Victim of Discrimination

Because I've written in opposition to reverse discrimination, I get a number of letters from white men who feel they've been victims of it, asking me for advice.

I'm choosing to print this one because of its poignant last line.

(Note: Yesterday, when I sent the author the link to this blog post, he asked me to make some changes. So if you read this letter yesterday and see changes today, that's why.)

Dear Dr. Nemko,

I have been discriminated against many times.

For example, after five interviews, I beat out 1,200 applicants for a department head position in the San Diego County School District. I quit my previous job, giving up my pension and health benefits. Then, before reporting to work, I was called and told I couldn't be hired. I later found out that the person who ended up with the job is a Black woman. I discovered later that in the district's applicant scoring system, even with the affirmative action bonus points applied, not one African American had made it to the top 300!

Another example. At age 14, I became an apprentice to an optical fabricator. I developed a process to production-fabricate a military optic. The government "encouraged" my boss to do an AA hire so instead of me, he hired one whose salary was paid by the government. The boss had to go through three of them because none of them could understand how I created what I did.

This hurts the most: I was hired as an enumerator by the 2000 Census and got the top rank evaluation but when I applied to be an enumerator for the 2010 census, the interviewer, a Latina, asked, "Your last name is Crockett. Did your family fight against the Mexicans at the Alamo?" I was not hired.

Have you any ideas how I might make a discrimination claim? So far every referral has ended with a minority voice mail and the person either does not return my call, asks for a fortune up front, or even told me--and I know this can't be true--that white males can't be discriminated against because they're in power.

Forgive the poor writing. I was crying while writing this.

Rick Crockett


Jeffrie said...

I had to fight back a few tears myself.

I must say that as a black woman in America, I have faced discrimination as well. Probably most of us have to some degree. But I have never experienced, nor hope to experience, anything as bad as this man.

Whether or not he is able to file a discrimination claim, I hope he finds an employer who really appreciates him for what he has to offer.

I've never understood why appearance is so valued. A company may look "diverse" because they have minorities working there, but if you can't get the work done, what's the point? Extra credit for looking like you're competent? I'd rather give my business to competent people of any color or gender (including white males) than anybody who is simply concerned with gender & skin color.

Marty Nemko said...

Jeffrie, there are many reasons that an employer might give so much weight to diversity in hiring:
1. liberal guilt
2. fear of the government. Especially if the company gets any government contracts, there's usually a requirement that they report the percentages of each racial/ethnic group in each employment category. Don't meet the goals, reprisals can be taken.
3. In addition to those sticks, government often gives carrots to minority-centric firms, especially in awarding of government contracts.
4. A belief (incorrect in my view) that a workforce that "looks like America" will do a better job. When an easy-to-measure characteristic like racial and ethnic diversity is a significant criterion, less substantive criteria such as merit decline in influence.

What should overwhelmingly be the hiring criteria intelligence drive, personality, and for technical work, the skills.
5. In the case of large companies, pressure from various minority advocacy groups--the Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, whatever the current-generation version of their organizations are, and the media, which is a true believer in the criticality of diversity.

Anonymous said...

This letter sounds a little suspect. The writer was "crying while writing this"? Smacks of a little melodrama, don't you think, Marty? And the stories themselves are a little melodramatic, a little one-sided and good-vs-evil-ly, and thus, I might suggest, suspect. I could be wrong, but I am suspicious.

Do you happen to have any first hand knowledge of this writer, Marty? Or did you simply uncritically accept this letter.

(And please spare us any hyperbole about race hiring, if that's possible).

Marty Nemko said...

I do not know the writer. Re the crying, I might explain that he actually wrote this in two letters, and in the second explained that he was crying as he wrote it because he's so frustrated because he has to find the money to take care of his sick mother and just can't find a job. It was in a second letter, so I decided not to add it.

WorkingLateAtOPIC said...

This is awful -- and not isolated. I've heard similar stories from several white men. Racial discrimination in all its forms is wrong. People must be judged on their merits. Society suffers when they are not.


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