What a week to remember in my life. So many ups and downs for diversity, inclusion and equality this week some encouraging and some disheartening. The events were as diverse as diversity is touching sexual orientations, races, age (College students), and disabilities that I decided to share them.
I. Paula Deen: The queen of the food network is being slowly dethroned. Many sponsors have severed the relationships with her many giants like Walmart, Food Network, Target, Caesars Entertainment and now her publishers.
It all started with Deen’s deposition: “The transcript of her deposition said that she acknowledged using the N-word, thinking about throwing a plantation-themed wedding and said she finds racist, anti-Semitic and jokes about other groups amusing. She went on to say: “I can’t, myself, determine what offends another person.” Then it all went downhill from there.
It is not THE word she used, It is the BEHAVIOR and ATTITUDE she exhibited. She has no clue on what discrimination or what can be construed as racism. She might not have meant insulting anyone, if her apology had shown some authentic redemption to address the past; she would have been on the right track for healing the wounds. Her apology was stated as: “Your color of your skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me …” Really?
I had discussions with others about this, some feel that Deen didn’t deserve everything that is happening, she did a mistake but whom is without sin; and that as a society we are going overboard with over sensitivity
Someone even said that she is teased all the time because of her accent but she has a choice to let it go, she believed that Paula Deen is just serving as a scapegoat
A scapegoat? To what? To who? IF I get teased because of my accent or my ethnicity I do not just let it go, I do believe that silence is a form of violence, silence means I agree with what is happening and I will not stand for anything that is wrong
The major mistake Deen made was that she created a hostile work environment. There is a reason why there are laws in place to fight discriminatory practices that can make an uncomfortable work environment.
II. Three major decisions by the US Supreme Court
- Regarding affirmative action and college admissions on June 24th. The Supreme Court allowed affirmative action to survive in college admissions but imposed a tough legal standard, ruling that schools must prove there are “no workable race-neutral alternatives” to achieve diversity on campus.
- The Voting rights act: The Supreme Court on June 25th effectively struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by a 5-to-4 vote, freeing nine states, mostly in the South, to change their election laws without advance federal approval.
- On June 26th the Supreme Court went on a double whammy and struck down the 1996 law blocking federal recognition of gay marriage, allowing gay marriage to resume in California by declining to decide a separate case. The court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denied federal benefits to gay couples who are legally married in their states, including Social Security survivor benefits, immigration rights and family leave. Then on a surprise move the 9th circuit court allowed gay marriage to resume in CA effective immediately on June 28
III. Goodwill and how they exploit people with disabilities: Goodwill pays some of its disabled employees less than minimum wage sometimes between 70 cents and $5.00/ hour under a provision called “The special wage certificate program” , when some of its executive team makes more than $1 million
IV. New Yorker cover: The cover for next week’s New Yorker, titled “Moment of Joy” depicts Bert and Ernie (of Sesame Street fame) embracing as they watch news of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage.
The cover stirred a lot of controversies some for and some against, though for a few years the relationship between Bert and Ernie has been questioned
It will take time for dust to settle on all of these events so we can get the full scope of what happened and how it will affect our lives and the lives of those involved
As long as there is a dialogue going on there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel. So now I would really like to hear your opinion which of those you agree with and which you don’t.
Diversity starts at home,
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