In Too Many Ways, Real NEO Is Unreal For "Coloreds"

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Sun, 03/15/2009 - 08:09.

Racist sign in Cleveland Ohio

A buddy of mine – I'll call him DC - just had a rough couple of weeks. One of DC's friends had his house invaded by gunmen... another friend went ballistic and killed five family members, and himself... and DC was denied a job because he is “colored”. This last problem is the most serious, because it causes the first two, a million times over each year in America, and seems all too commonplace here in real NEO.

DC says he lives each day to be as happy as possible, and he says he is successful about 70% of the time.

He is an excellent chef and restaurant manager with a good record and strong history of top performance in many fine food establishments. He is a veteran, and a father, with limited formal education but more street smarts about Cleveland and this world than anyone I know – I keep encouraging him to become a citizen journalist.

One of DC's children is just graduating from the Cleveland School of the Arts and DC couldn't be more proud of the scholarship offers pouring in for his son to be an actor than could have been LeBron James' mom when Fred Nance came knocking.

But damn if DC ain't black.

DC is colorblind – he grew up in Glenville but was bussed to a mixed school on the West Side - he seems glad to have always had a mixed group of friends – I consider him one of my closest friends.

DC needs a job, so he is dressing his best – which is sharp – and taking his impressive resume anywhere around town that advertises restaurant manager and assistant manager positions.

DC recently saw one such opening advertised for a national chain outlet in University Heights... he arrived 45 minutes before interviews began, to be first in line.

DC told me the District Manager (DM) soon came over and told DC they expected a crowd and were only taking applications and general information - no long interviews... they would call candidates back for interviews later.

DC filled out an application and expressed his interest in the position, and headed for home... the next candidate approached the DM.

Once outside, DC realized he forgot his special pen inside, so he went back to retrieve it. As he walked up behind the DM, DC politely waited for him to finish what he was saying to the next candidate, who was white.

DC heard the DM say something like “I don't know why coloreds would apply for a job here – this isn't a colored establishment”. DC said the white candidate saw that DC heard this, and signaled to the District Manager that someone was behind him.

The DM looked around and said something like “DC, I was just saying I was going to call you back.”

DC smiled and walked out... he had passed up another interview for that.

It never occurred to DC to file a complaint – sue – which was the first thought in my mind, when I heard of all this... Evelyn's first thought, when I told her the story.

For DC, that was a typical life event, making his life rough, making it hard for DC to take care of his family and himself, making it hard to wake up and be happy everyday, which is all DC really wants.

Based on the sheer number of such incidents of racial exclusion and discrimination that occur in DCs life each year, it is safe to say the immensity of this problem and the cost to “coloreds” and society is staggering.

Discrimination and disinvestment by white people combine to cause the perfect economic whirlpool – in general terms, if 65%+ of the regional population effectively refuses to hire and buy “colored” then the entire “Colored” economy must depend on their 35% of the total population's spending capacity, which is weakened because the majority of the population boycotts “coloreds”.

What %age of your annual spending dollars goes to the "Colored" economy?

DC pointed out University Heights is a pretty mixed area and it seems hard to believe a business there doesn't want colored dollars.

DC observed coloreds did sweep the floors and wipe the tables where he was denied management employment, so the discrimination policy only seems to apply for the masters.

Considering the discrimination came from a District Manager of a national chain of restaurants, it is safe to assume all “coloreds” applying to all restaurants in the manager's district are denied fair employment opportunity... except to sweep the floors. Did the DM learn this from a regional manager - national manager - is this in the corporate manual?

What do you think DC should do?

DC is not planning to do anything, except keep plugging away at finding a restaurant that will hire a black manager.

But not everyone in DC's station in life has his refined personal and work skills – DC is employable, even under these worst conditions, but it is tough for him... and tougher for so many others.

With so many cards stacked against so many people, it is not surprising many desperate people rob  – risk killing – snap - kill.

DC points out that African Americans can handle hard times and crises far better than any other group of people because they have been through it all - have all known many people going through hard times and crises - so they know how to get by, be happy, and stay a community.

But can we stop the violence when there are core national establishments distributed throughout our neighborhoods that don't hire “coloreds”?

Do you think DC should contact authorities or a lawyer about this?

Do you know anyone with a restaurant that would like to hire a well qualified black manager or assistant manager that is so decent he will not sue or kill someone who discriminates against him for being “colored”? Please let me know, and I'll send you his resume!

SysackSignSale650.JPG153.26 KB

Unfortunate reality

  The sign you have displayed above can be found in Old Brooklyn, where unfortunately bigotry is alive and well...with a lot of folks...not all, but a lot of folks...

We can solve this problem today, with a real African American

The owner of this sign is a local businessman with a sign business and a billboard that is not rented out enough, so he blogs on it when it is empty - and he has a very odd way of communicating that is fascinating but disturbing... he is an outsider artist.

I have memories of this billboard going way back in the years... here's a posting on REALNEO from a few years back... anyone know how long he's been doing this...?

Anyways... why don't Old Brooklyn Bloggers get together and raise funds to rent the billboard from Sysack and use it to promote good things... like blogging (REALNEO should pay for a plug) - get the community together to fund a better identity for your neighborhood... and put some cash in a local businessman's pocket in the process.

Let's have a card-carrying African American cut the deal so we get the full 15% discount.

The greatest beneficiaries will be the kids going to the library across the street, so use this to promote good things to them.

Disrupt IT