Thursday, November 03, 2005

My bias senses are tingling...

i've been working here for almost five years. in that five years, there have been almost twenty vacancies throughout our lab, and about ten within my particular department. of all of those vacancies, only one other black person has been hired, bringing the total number to three out of almost one hundred fifty folks.

most recently, we've had a succession of vacancies as many have left for more lucrative positions elsewhere (hey, it might pay well, but it still places us at the low end of the payscale in comparison to corporate america). i try so hard not to bring race into the issue here, but it becomes difficult when i continue to witness the pattern of exclusion occuring. out of the five most recent vacancies, there have been five white folk hired. out of those five, one is a guy and the other are are female. of those females, all of them, every last one of them, are blond-haired, blue-eyed beauties.

now there are a number of reasons why this could be occuring. of course there is the obvious reason: the industrial hygenist field is predominantly made up of rosy-cheeked blondes with phat asses and a quick, flirtatious grin. the other reason could be that the idea of a job having the term "hygiene" in it deters black folks because we assume it has something to do with washing a construction worker's ass. another reason could be that seven-syllable job titles are simply too complicated for black folks to speak out loud, let alone perform. i think this one has merit, as jobs predominated by black folks are generally three syllables or less: "garbage man", "janitor", "fry cook", "cashier", "maid", "prostitute", "crack-head", "drug dealer". hell, the only job i can think of with more syllables and a high number of black folks is "welfare recipient".

well i'm glad i've gotten that straightened out. for a minute there i was beginning to think there was a conscious effort to exclude black folks from around here. and really, do i want to give up my golden token status? up until now during office discussions i've been asked to represent all black folks everywhere. martin luther king had nothing on me. he only spoke for american black folk. with the astute addition of my dredlocks, i now speak for black folks all around the world. i get to exert my powers on a pretty consistent basis, too. for example, last week i was asked to offer my omnipotent opinion to my caucasian betters.

"so how do african-americans feel about rosa parks?" i was asked by jim, the politically correct, ram pickup driving guy from nebraska.

"oh, we sho did luv dat gurl," i responded, making a point to keep my head lowered so as not to make eye contact with my superior.

"she was a real hero in your community, huh?" stated bob matter-of-factly, as he fingered the miniature confederate flag on a nearby table.

"uh," i hesitated, searching for a way to respond. "mizz parks was a gawd-feering wuman, alltho dere wuz times when she got meybe a little high an' mighty fur hersef." i finished, confident my tone painted me as non-threatening and a touch obtuse. i shuffled my feet a little for good measure.

"well," bob started indulgently, "perhaps just a little bit."

i continued to stare at the carpet, noting the "k" pattern repeating itself throughout the threads.

"you may go now," commanded jim.

i inwardly sighed a breath of relief before bowing and retreating quickly to my office.

like i said, martin luther king has NOTHING on me. my power knows no bounds.