Monday, May 19, 2008


So this pass weekend I had a relative visit, he was here for business but we hung out a bit too. On Sunday, I pick him up from his the hotel after his check out, he plops down in my car and begins to tell me about his morning farewell meeting...

The morning meeting was full of fluffed power point presentations, the last one was by far the most memorable. My cousin proceeds to tell me that he was actually featured...check this. So this executive in the org, with whom my cousin had never met, gives a presentation, as part of this feature, he focuses on celebrity look-a-likes in the company.....I know you know what's coming.

He compares one of my cousin's coworkers to Joe Pesci...ok not so bad, and he compares my cousin, whom again he has never met.....or spoken with, on any level, to .......THE PREDATOR. Now mind you my cousin is one of two black guys in the company that has dreads....I suppose that's where he was going, to make matters WORST, he zooms in...yes ZOOMS in on my cousin's teeth, and zooms in on the predators teeth to poke further fun. The entire time my cousin is dumbfounded....hurt, and confused. He said he had absolutely no idea what to do, the room was full of awkward, nervous laughter. So now my cousin turns to me for advice, and honestly I can think of situations in Corporate America, where I've encountered ambiguous comments that made me uncomfortable, but this, this is different. I told him to think long and hard. I think if that were me, I would have to speak with HR....and find out next steps. What that guy did was wrong, but at the same time, he's an upper executive in the company, who can has way more leverage than my cousin. So he's in a catch 22, he likes the job, but was upset with the comparative analysis. I feel like it was dead wrong, but this guy is obviously stupid, and he won't change, some people just have no idea about what could possibly be perceived as racial discrimination, or just plain ole offensive behavior.

I think as a black person we are just different from any other race in terms of what we deal with on a daily basis, I will say that I think "middle eastern" people are being exposed for the first time (not counting the historical cast system in their own society) in America to how we might feel. We have in the past been compared to monkeys,apes, black face clowns with big red lips, the Aunt Jemima pics,I could go on and on, but that's something that the rest of the world should be mindful of, I know that some folks will read this and think oh no biggie, b/c they don't know how it feels. What say you, how would you handle this ....



Anonymous Kevin said...

This Executive needs to be taught a lesson! What he did was completely inappropriate. The Employee should talk to a lawyer and then let HR know his next steps. Corporations don't really seem to care about much unless it hits their pocketbook, so I think he should get their attention financially through a civil suit.

May 19, 2008 at 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am SO dissappointed to hear this because I know your cousin and he is an exceptionally gifted and deep individual. Not to mention drop dead gorgeous.
For some corporate hoodrat to defile him because he doesn't understand diverstiy is just ignorant and he exercised piss poor ass judgement all the way around. He should definately call it to HR's attention...TODAY!! and if awarded a letter of apology from said hoodrat.
This incident is just an example of many that has disuaded me from wanting to persue longterm endeavors in corperate ameriKKKa,


May 19, 2008 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger Keelah said...

Race aside, that was just plain offensive! Anyone in their right mind would be upset over being compared to predator. I think I would have risked being seen as a cry baby and let him know that I was offended by that comparison and hopefully, If I was having a quick mind day, offered him some better more attractive comparisons. Like Will Smith, Djimon Honsou?

May 20, 2008 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger BlackButterfly said...

He decided to take the highroad...and requested a letter of apology go out to the entire organization, he is also requiring that they take diversity training...but can you really teach people how to be respectful.....I have to admit, I am proud of him for taking the "high road", I mean at the end of the day it's about rising above.....

June 7, 2008 at 11:54 PM  

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