Friday, September 30, 2005

And While We're Talking About Race...

Two items have come to my attention in the past couple of hours, and I find it essential to comment on both of them, as they speak volumes about the hypocrisy surrounding the so-called race problem in America.

On Thursday, Tennessee State Legislator Stacey Campfield was denied entry into the state’s Black Caucus because he was white. According to Rep. Campfield’s own website, he and the leader of the Caucus, Johnny Shaw, had the follwing exchange:

“Back in the spring, I had asked the leader of the black caucus, Johnny Shaw, for a copy of the bylaws. Johnny said he wanted to see a copy of the Republican Caucus bylaws first. I agreed and had a copy sent to him in less than 10 minutes.

When my assistant returned from dropping them off, she notified me that Shaw did not want to give me a copy of the bylaws. I called Johnny Shaw back and he said unless I had a court order or attorney general's opinion, he was not going to give me anything.I later asked him again for a copy and was again rebuffed. I asked why I couldn't have a copy and asked what he didn't want me to see.

Johnny said he didn't have to give me anything and asked why I wanted the copy. “Do you want to be a member?” he said. I said “I don't know. Are you asking me to join?” Johnny said “No! You can't be a member.”I asked “why?”

He answered “because you are white.”

Interesting. The Black Caucus, a state-funded organization, has denied a State Representative a copy of their bylaws and membership into their organization simply because he’s white. I could have sworn America had some rules prohibiting refusal into a public establishment and other discriminatory practices based solely on race. In fact I think it’s a little something called the:

CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964

TITLE II--INJUNCTIVE RELIEF AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN PLACES OF PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION

SEC. 201 All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

Or maybe I just dreamed that up one night.

Meanwhile, in Boston, seven black police officers who have been found guilty of drug abuse, and subsequently fired from their jobs, are suing the police department. Why? Because they claim that the drug test, which relies on analyzing hair samples, is racially biased. According to the disgraced officers’ attorney, Rheba Rutkowski:

“African-American hair is different from white hair because, among other things, it is coarser and thicker. In fact, those properties make it far more likely to yield a false positive on a hair test than white hair.”

Now, I’m not a scientist, anthropologist or hot-shot attorney. But I’m pretty sure there’s no way that curly hair contains a genetic marker that would induce a false positive for cocaine use. In fact, my assumption is validated by Bill Thistle, Senior Vice President of Psychemedics Corp, the company that conducts the drug tests for the Boston Police Department. Mr. Thistle said that the company has had no complaints from any of its hundreds of clients and that the idea that "drugs can get into your hair because of your race is a ridiculous concept."

The test in question is a mandatory, annual procedure given a month before each police officer’s birthday. If officers fail the test, they can agree to enter a drug rehabilitation program and are then subject to random urine tests. Several of the plaintiffs refused to participate in a rehab program.

Ah. Therein lies the rub, Watson. The officers aren’t suing because they are truly innocent, or victims of a white conspiracy, but because they don’t agree with the consequence of their actions. In fact, their own lawyer admits that, in addition to ludicrously high monetary damages, she wants “the practice to stop.” Which practice would that be, Ms. Rutkowski? That of black police officers using cocaine, or refusing to take responsibility for their actions?

Luckily, I have the perfect solution to both problems, a solution that neither side could logically refute, given the attitude of people like Black Caucus leader Johnny Shaw:

The Boston Police Department should start refusing to hire any more black police officers. If one state-funded organization doesn’t have to abide by the Constitution of the United States, why should another?

That was an easy one – let’s try for something a little more difficult.

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