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Pet Sins December 2000

Race card used against Euro-American supervisor

I am a white man from the South. Some years ago, my father was in a supervisory position. He had a black man reporting to him. When the black man first started on the job, my father, with good intentions, told him, "There are other people in this institution who may make things difficult for you because of race. You might want to be a little more aware.

Later, the black employee was let go because he didn't do his job well. He then played the race card and sued the employer. He quoted my father's words to show that my father had racist motivations in firing him.

Clearly my father had not meant anything like that, and the judge certainly saw no evidence of racism. The case was dismissed. I have no problem at all with people making complaints or suing when they have been genuinely subjected to discrimination. But there are some people who KNOW that this is not the case in their situation, and yet they play the race card simply because it is a powerful tool. I don't think this is honest, and I think people who play the race card when they know the problem is not racial are doing injustice to the people who have real complaints. The credibility of true complainants may be damaged if too many people take advantage of the race card in false situations.