It’s that time of year, again, my friends. The time when Corporate America feels compelled to trot out the Potemkin displays of racial harmony, subject us White Boys to 4th-grade-reading-level lectures on the importance of Diversity, send us to the re-education camps where we can be exposed to the ranting and the raving of the truly unhinged as they get their opportunity – as they do every year – to be openly rude and racist, while I must bite my tongue, nod my head in mock sympathy, and pretend as if we really give a crap.
Yes, this is the dance we must do every year in Corporate America, all for the sake of saving a few bucks on frivolous lawsuits. Don’t think for a second that anyone in the boardroom takes the idea of Black History Month seriously. It’s simply another cost of doing business.
Never mind what people like me -- Middle Managers whose only concern is to put in a day’s work for a day’s pay, avoiding the ulcers, without having to deal with someone else’s mental diarrhea – really think about the swirling stupidity surrounding Black History Month (BHM). We don’t count; we’re just the strainers, and we get it from both sides, Labor and Management. That’s our job.
But what I really object to is the new, corporate trend to combine BHM with the concentrated bullshit that is Diversity Training, which only serves to make something that was once only slightly annoying into a sheer living hell. In case you have never been in a Diversity training session, I’ll describe it for you this way:
It’s a program of deliberate psychological torture. It’s aim is to break down any sense of individuality that you might have, and erase any personal feelings you possess, and replace them with a collective mindset and some other emotion. Irrational guilt, if you’re white, unfettered anger, if you’re not. It’s all done within a setting which most shallow-mouth-breathing non-thinkers would think of as "therapeutic", and the main goal is to give "the Other" the impression that someone is taking their concerns and complaints seriously.
It has been my experience (this will now have been the fifth such fake Diversity Training week I’ve attended against my will) that "The Other’s" concerns and complaints are largely bullshit. They are the natural flow of crap one would expect from people given the opportunity to speak their minds free of consequence, and the resulting stupidity is not all that surprising. Mostly, the day is taken up with petty complainants emboldened by the fact that they have been encouraged to say literally anything, reciting a litany of "Why don’t I get…?" on everything from raises to promotions to special privileges.
If there's ever three minutes of true Kumbayah in the entire exercise, it's a lot.
In all the time I have been involved in these little Diversity Projects, I have yet to see anyone make a case that they truly care about Diversity. It’s always "What’s in it for me?". I guess that’s just human nature.
As if I, Middle Manager Dude, have the power to defy time and space, and wave a magic wand and fix your personal pet peeves? Like I’m even motivated to do so? It’s only more personal trouble than its typically worth, and I have my own paycheck to worry about. In case no one ever told you, I will: "I only work here, tell someone who a) cares, and b) can do something about it…."
Of course, to be "innovative" and "cutting edge" in my present-employer’s Commitment to Diversity this year, the Powers That Be decided to treat everyone to a movie, and to make a "fun" event out of it. So, off 130 employees went to the local movie theatre, to be feted with a private screening of the new Cuba Gooding, Jr. excretion "Red Tails".
Some consultant probably got paid a shitload of money for this turd of an idea.
We’ve all heard this story before, because it’s the same story all the time. I remember when it was called "Glory" and had Morgan Freeman and Denzel in it (is there anything that doesn’t have Morgan Freeman and Denzel in it?). I remember seeing it the other eleven times some docu-drama was made about the Tuskegee Airmen, the most memorable one starring Benjamin O. Davis, Lawrence Fishbourne, and Theo Huxtable. It was on the History Channel some fifteen years ago.
Anyway, one gets the impression that unless there’s a bad movie in which Cuba Gooding gets called the n-word and then puts in a piss-poor performance, then it didn’t really happen (see: Men of Honor). After the movie there were drinks and finger foods made available back at the office conference room, and the Black Folks gravitated to one side of the room, the Whites to the other, and there was a palpable hostility in the room. Great team-building exercise, Guys!
Talk about patronizing and divisive? The entire regime is patronizing and divisive. I think I probably feel less sympathy and less connection with my staff after these sorts of events than I did before they occurred, and find myself wishing against all hope that someone will finally get it and stop wasting time and money on this crap.
Instead of bringing people together and fostering understanding, it only serves to keep picking at the (mental) scabs left by a history of racial injustice. And it’s racist, in it’s own way, too.
Those of you who have read my blog or my rantings here know that I am a history buff. I love anything historical, warts and all, and devour history the way most people will tear into a T-bone with all the fixings. I would rather spend most days engrossed in something historical than in getting laid. History, to me, is a like a fascinating story with a ton of subplots that never comes to an end.
My first objection to BHM is the term itself. It implies that there are separate histories within America, one Black and the Other for Everyone Else. This is, of course, patently ridiculous. History does not take place in a vacuum, some hermetically-sealed bubble, that doesn’t touch upon other aspects of life that are adjacent to it. The History of Black America is, therefore, American History. I find this attempt to separate historical events and figures along racial lines rather disturbing in this context.
My second objection is the patronizing swamp that BHM marinates in. It implies that without a special month set aside, African-Americans would not study history. A ridiculous notion when one stops to think about all the African-Americans I’ve seen in libraries and museums, not to mention the scores of people I’ve had actual historical discussions with.
The final objection is the tone in which any discussion of History takes on at this time of year. The same theme underlies every display, television program, and discussion group; some Brother got shafted by The Man, and the racial buggering continues. The examples trotted out to make this point are typically well-worn and threadbare, and in the great tapestry of History, aren’t all that Historical or important, at all. Who cares if Jackie Robinson was the first black man in the Major Leagues? What are his real accomplishments set against those of, say, Otis Boykin, someone who has ushered in the modern world and who often goes totally forgotten?
As an aside, I find it slightly racist that BHM takes place in February, the shortest month of the year. The implication is that African-Americans contributed the least, therefore, the month set aside must reflect this idea. I’m quite certain the guilty White Libtards who helped foster BHM into existence had this in mind when they started the project. After all, Liberals are all about duality and symbolism; fawning paternalism on the one hand, and a back-handed insult on the other. Most Liberal-engineered programs have this oh-so-easy-to-see quality about them.But, I digress….
I guess BHM builds morale and inspires some, but the Underlying Theme of most BHM arrangements – of unrectified injustice and hatred – is one that has far outlived it’s usefulness in all but a political sense. If African-Americans can be kept in a state of just-below-boil, and occasionally thrown a bone, the Libtards believe, then they are that much easier to control and manipulate by the legions of politicians and racial hucksters that prey upon them. BHM and the Diversity Racket accomplishes both of these goals rather handily.
It’s the 21st Century. And while I do not advocate that people forget the past, and that the history of this nation – including it’s sins – should go uncriticized. But maybe it’s about time that a more uplifting, relevant sort of BHM becomes the norm, rather than the exception? For goodness’ sakes, perhaps one that isn’t undertaken in a feeble sham of a commitment to "Diversity" and "Civil Rights" intended to keep the lawyers at bay, and seething hatreds alive?
If we're going to talk history, then let's do so, honestly. If you’re going to use history as a weapon to stir up all sorts of hatreds and disunity, then you’ve committed a mortal sin, in my book. History is sacred; it shouldn’t be political, or used as a dodge to avoid a lawsuit.
Then again, I guess anything that inspires people to expand their horizons is better than nothing at all, and maybe one of these days we’ll work the kinks out of this Black History thing, stop with the purposeful division of people through the Diversity Racket, and we’ll all play nicely together in the sandbox. But I’m not holding my breath, because I’ve got other troubles on the horizon.
Like answering a question about privleges and opportunities raised by the one dude on staff who apparently doesn’t own a watch, and who would be late for his own funeral, badgering me about a promotion he isn’t remotely qualified for. And calling me nasty names in front of a Diversity Instructor and a room full of other people, going totally unrebuked by the very people who are supposed to be committed to diversity, harmony and inclusiveness in the first place! Then again, he’s all hopped upon free booze and a George Lucas disaster which makes a mockery of the real story of some rather brave men who’s accomplishments deserved better treatment.
I remember Eddie Murphy talking about a similar thing happening to Italians after "Rocky" movies. So, I guess this proves that all people at least have an equal capacity for being stupid, doesn’t it?
In any case, I think I'll never see another Cuba Gooding movie as long as I live: the experience is now securely connected to unpleasant memories in all regards; I was 'required" to go see a movie I didn't want to see in the first place, as part of a contrivance which I do not agree with (i.e. Diversity Exercises), verbally abused by a drunk with a fifth-grade vocabulary and a sorry excuse for a work ethic, and ordered to take part in a so-called "togetherness awareness" exercise which left much to be desired on both counts.
In any case, if you're a clear-thinking individual I will say this to you: I wish you a Happy Black History Month, and hope that you are able to partake of the wonders of History, free of prejudices and ulterior motives, as an exercise in self-awareness and self-improvement. We'd all be better off to be more objective and less emotional, I think.
For more mentally-constipated stupidity, please come visit me at The Lunatic's Asylum.