I just learned of someone who lost her job over a remark that was deemed to be racially insensitive. She is a hard worker, a highly educated upper level manager and long term employee who has devoted huge blocks of her own time and money to this supposedly Christian employer. Her case was not investigated. She was fired on the spot with no severance pay and no insurance and was immediately locked out of her office and her computer. The remark she made had no racial intentions, but it was perceived that way by one employee. Her company said they could not weather an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission case, regardless of her guilt or innocence.
Why take one person’s word over another with no investigation? Why be more concerned about apparences than you are about justice? What has happened to us as a people? Why is there advocacy for some victims and not others? How about talking to the two employees, admonishing them as necessary, and focus on reconciliation, rather than killing gnat with an anvil?
I really love the person who lost her job. So, I am emotionally involved. Let me take a breath.
I have always been the more tolerant one in my relational circles and certainly would uphold equal rights for all people with special considerations for those may be at a disadvantage. At one point in my life most of my friends were black or Hispanic. But something has happened in our nation that has enabled a miscarriage of justice in the name of justice. This method of “dealing with” racial injustice, simply fuels and inflames it.
President Obama and his Beer Summit over the incident in Boston, involving Professor Henry Gates and Police Sergeant James Crowley and his speech after the Rev. Wright sermons made the you tube circuit and are beautiful examples of reasonable discussion about volatile issues. In contrast, some prevailing governmental and employer practices seem to be squelching the discussion and enraging the hatred.
I remember about 20 years ago when I was the only white person in the room full of African-American pastors and I was able to help their ministerial association get past some roadblocks. Once I got past the shock that my white pastor friends were all Republicans and my African-American pastor friends were all Democrats, I developed great friendships. We determined that the solutions were all relational. When one person gets to know another the superficialities fade and we learn that we are all people.
Common sense seems to be taking a holiday. The governmental approach to these issues seems to have serious limitations and misapplications. The fact is that most things in life come down to relationships and it seems like there are so many things in our culture that are crafted to keep one person from talking to another person.
Originally posted August 25, 2010.