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Racist social events/situations in America

I'll use this post to share various events I come across in my research in the social sciences. I am tired of apologist negroes who do not read, yet tell me I overexaggerate blacks as victims. I'll give them some things to read since they are lazy and do not want to make the effort to be informed. My favor to them.......

No African Americans Allowed: White Patient's Racism Rules at Pa. Hospital
By Riccardo A. Davis
© 2003
October 09, 2003

African-American workers at Abington Memorial Hospital were outraged last month when they were told not to enter the room of a white patient.

Supervisors at the nationally recognized hospital told its African-American health-care professionals, as well as food-service and housekeeping staff, not to enter the patient's room or interact with the family.

Abington administrators said they broke hospital policy to avoid a potentially "volatile situation" by adhering to the request of the patient's husband, that only white employees enter his wife's room on the maternity ward.

"We were wrong," said Meg McGoldrick, a vice president at Abington Memorial Hospital. "We should have followed our policy. The whole incident has greatly upset many of our employees who perceived that we were acquiescing to the family's wishes.''

Despite the hospital's policy that states "care will be provided on a nondiscriminatory basis," it seems as though patients are allowed to discriminate.

Catholic Health Care West's medical ethicist, Carol Bayley, said Abington Hospital failed in its responsibility to its employees and the community to accommodate a patient's racial preference.

"This was a fundamental disrespect of these professionals' skills and their fundamental dignities ... a hospital needs to stand against this undercurrent of racism in our society."

The Philadelphia office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said that prohibiting African-American employees from carrying out the full scope of their duties is reprehensible.

"I don't see why and how a hospital could justify accommodating a request that the professionals attending to a patient be of a particular background," said Barry Morrison, director of the Philadelphia chapter of the ADL. "Certainly, it's demoralizing for the people who work there."

The American Hospital Association (AHA) acknowledged there have been several similar instances its staff knows about and that there are no hard-and-fast industry guidelines for hospitals to follow when such a request is made.

With nearly 5,000 hospitals as members, the Chicago-based AHA is the largest hospital association in the United States. It wouldn't offer hospitals a suggestion as to how to address that situation.

"It's subjective," said Rick Wade, senior vice president at the AHA. "I'm sure the person who made the decision at Abington thought they were doing the right thing."

Goldrick said supervisors at Abington Memorial were acting with good intentions and sought to deflect any confrontation between its African-American staff and the white family. There was no incident reported during the woman's stay.

Since then, Abington Memorial Hospital President Richard L. Jones sent a letter to all its employees and volunteers apologizing for the situation, which he termed "morally reprehensible."

In addition to creating a diversity task force at the 508-bed hospital, which is located in Abington and services patients from Philadelphia and the surrounding primarily white suburbs in Bucks and Montgomery counties, it has hired consultants, and the hospital is revising its anti-discrimination policy.

Earlier this year, the AHA bestowed upon Abington Memorial Hospital the "Quest for Quality" award for raising awareness of the need for an organizational commitment to patient safety and quality.

Wade said hospitals are constantly evaluating how to provide the best treatment for their patients, while protecting and maintaining the dignity of its employees. He said that a hospital's constant patient turnover sometimes subjected workers to society's underbelly.

Perhaps Abington could have been more protective of their employees, Wade said. "Patients come and go, [but] the most important thing at a hospital is the work-force," he said.

Hospitals That Meet Patient's Racist Demands Face Bias Suits
By Riccardo A. Davis


© 2003
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October 10, 2003
Legal, moral and ethical consequences prohibit hospitals from turning away patients based on race.

There are no such consequences to patients who demand doctors, nurses or workers of only a specific race administer health care while seeking treatment. But the hospitals that adhere to those demands could face discrimination lawsuits from their employees.

Lawyers and hospital-industry executives, referring to the recent case in Pennsylvania's Abington Hospital, where a white patient's husband demanded that African-American staffers not enter her room, (See also: No African Americans Allowed: White Patient's Racism Rules at Pa. Hospital) said it's a very delicate balancing act during a health crisis. Regardless, when an employer denies a person or group of people their full employment opportunity based on the racial bias of its customer, it is in violation of their civil rights.

"It's a classic case," said Cyrus Mehri, partner at Mehri & Skalet, a law firm specializing in class-action and employment-discrimination. The Washington, D.C.-based firm represented plaintiffs in the Texaco and Coca-Cola class-action lawsuits.

In a statement after the September incident, Abington Memorial President Richard L. Jones said: "Employees will be assigned to patient services without regard to the race, creed, color, national origin or religion of either the patient or employee. We value each and every member of our staff as caring and competent professionals."

"They had a choice to make and they chose the racist over their own employees," said Mehri. "They made the wrong call."

A hospital administrator should have counseled the biased person that it is the hospital's mission to provide patients with the highest quality care possible, regardless of the health-care professionals' race, said Madonna McGwin, attorney in the corporate-diversity practice at Washington, D.C.-based Holland & Knight.

"It is an unfortunate reality that there are people who are uneducated in the benefits of a diverse staff ... I would hope any employer would have confidence in the professionalism and competence of their staff to allow them to interact with such clients or patients," she said.

While there have been requests by racist patients of hospitals to bar certain races from administering health care, it's more common to hear that male doctors be forbidden to practice obstetrics on Muslim women, for religious reasons.

There are instances when society must accept discrimination based on such factors as the sex or race in the selection of a patient's primary-care physician. However, once, a patient enters the doors of a hospital, there are those who say, "you don't get to chose."

In September, African-American workers at Abington Memorial Hospital were outraged when supervisors on the maternity ward, told them not to enter the room of a white patient. The patient's husband had asked that no African-American health-care professionals, food-service or housekeeping staff interact with the family.

This month, Abington Memorial's president and administrators apologized when it broke from its anti-discrimination policy to accommodate the family's wishes.

"They signed a consent form for treatment, not that they wanted only white people treating the patient," said George Miller, president and chief executive officer at Provena St. Mary's Hospital in Kankakee, Ill. "Nothing on that consent form says that providing a white health-care professional meant the patient is receiving a higher level of treatment. The hospital has an obligation to give that patient the highest level of care."

Miller, a veteran hospital administrator, has been at Provena for the past two years. Previously, while serving as chief executive officer of administration at Christus Memorial Hospital in Jasper, Texas, he encountered a similar situation.

A couple of months after the June 1998 dragging murder of African-American James Byrd Jr., the then-accused murder suspect (he was later convicted) James William King, who was white, had a girlfriend who was pregnant. She was admitted to Christus Memorial experiencing premature labor.

Upon meeting the head of obstetrics and gynecology, Effie Land, who is African American, the white mother of King's white girlfriend sought assurances from higher-ups that her daughter would receive "proper" care.

Land said, "I can let you speak with the CEO."

"When I walked through the door," Miller, who is African American, said, "her jaw dropped. She was very surprised."

Miller said he assured her that they would take care of her daughter as they would anybody else.

"We treat everybody with dignity and respect," Miller said he told her.

In another instance, Nashville heart surgeon Michael Petracek, who is white, apologized a couple of years ago for asking an African American to step out of the operating room while he performed surgery on a woman who asked that no African American be present.

He said he obliged because her husband wouldn't have allowed the surgery, which was needed to save her life.

"In a life-threatening situation, you would have to abide by the patient's request," said Dr. Herbert Rakatansky, chair of the American Medical Association's Council on Ethical and Judical Affairs, in a trade journal.

If the situation arises under non life-threatening circumstances, hospital administrators said they should advise the patient that they would provide them with the highest quality care available, regardless of the employees' race, and if they continued to have a racial issue, help with arrangements to transport the patient to another health-care facility. "At the end of the day," McGwin said, "the employer should believe that their diverse staff will have a positive interaction with the patient who requested the hospital discriminate."
Did The Decision to Carry Ghettopoly Put Urban Outfitters in Jeopardy?
By Angela D. Johnson


© 2003
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October 13, 2003

Last week, after protests from civil-rights organizations, including the Anti-Defamation League and local chapters of the NAACP, retailer Urban Outfitters agreed to discontinue carrying Ghettopoly, an unauthorized Monopoly-style board game glorifying drug dealing, prostitution and other negative aspects of inner-city life.

The Philadelphia-based retailer made no public announcement of this decision; however, a search for the product on the company's Web site summons a pop-up window with the following message: "Due to customer concerns, Urban Outfitters no longer sells the board game 'Ghettopoly.' "

Ghettopoly is described as a "stolen-property fencing board game." Instead of traditional Monopoly pieces, Ghettopoly game piece include an Uzi submachine gun, a 40-ounce bottle of malt liquor, a marijuana leaf and a pimp. Players (or "playas" as the game calls them) who buy all the stolen property in the same color pattern can purchase crack houses from the loan shark. Four crack houses on each of property in the same color pattern can be converted to housing projects. Instead of "Get of Out Jail Free" cards there are "Hustle" and "Ghetto Stash" cards.

Urban Outfitters responded to the public backlash, but what does the decision to carry a product like Ghettopoly in the first place say about Urban Outfitters' top brass? Urban Outfitters did not return calls to DiversityInc or any other media, but financial analysts were willing to assess the company's decision and the potential impact on its future.

"It speaks very ill of company management," said Kurt Barnard, president of Barnard's Retail Trend Report. "Clearly, (the game) is likely to offend a lot of people and that clearly is not the desired end .... It's hardly the kind of image any retailer would want to present to their customers."

Urban Outfitters was introduced as The Free People store in 1970. Targeting student-age consumers, the company sold used clothes, jeans, ethnic apparel and housewares. The store's name was changed to Urban Outfitters in 1976. In 1992, the company opened its first Anthropologie store, which became a chain of more than 30 stores. The company went public in 1993.

Little information about Urban Outfitters management is available on its corporate site; however, a list of corporate officers shows that the top executives are all men. Philadelphia Weekly reported that Urban Outfitters Co-Founder and President Richard Hayne is a supporter of controversial Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., contributing $13,150 to the senator and his Political Action Committee. Santorum came under fire earlier this year for his anti-gay statements.

Morningstar Stock Analyst Heather Brilliant has not met Urban Outfitters' executives; but she said it's not an unreasonable assumption to think there is little diversity at the top.

Was the decision to carry Ghettopoly enough to damage Urban Outfitters financially?

"What you carry in your stores certainly influences a consumer's perception of your brand," said Gale Daikoku, research director at GartnerG2, a research service of Gartner, Inc., a research and advisory firm based in Stamford, Conn. "In this case, the possible impact is whether the consumer was taken aback by your decision to carry the product."

Daikoku said when consumers are offended by a product, a company's "brand loyalty goes away. That ultimately affects your bottom line."

A shift in consumer favor could be a major blow to Urban Outfitters, which has been performing quite well financially. In the last fiscal year, net income increased 82.7 percent, according to business Web site In August, the company announced a 51 percent increase on second quarter earnings and a two-for-one split of its common stock. At close of the market Friday Urban Outfitters stock was valued at 31.32.

Retail analysts attribute the company's success, in part, to the eclectic mix of products it offers young consumers. In addition to urban-influenced clothing lines, such as Triple 5 Soul and Diesel, the company, which has 54 retail outlets in the United States, Canada and Europe, carries kitschy items, such as SpongeBob Square Pants Uno cards, a Jesus action figure, a Hello Kitty Etch-A-Sketch purse, and a kit of 25 drinking games.

The latest episode is not the first time Urban Outfitters has sold an offensive product. In 2001, the retailer received flack for stocking a men's T-shirt that depicted a kneeling naked cowgirl with her body parts labeled like cuts of beef. In 1998, Asian-American consumers expressed outraged at a "Chinese Man" Halloween costume that included thick black-rimmed eyeglasses, a ponytail, a Fu Manchu-style mustache and cap.

"They're trying to create a buzz about the company," said Brilliant. "I think the company doesn't mind the negative press because of the publicity. I don't think that companies like this see this as a misstep."

Ignorance may be bliss, but for corporate America it also can be expensive. Historic examples of the financial impact of multicultural missteps include Denny's, which was sued for racial bias in the early 1990s. The company spent a decade financing advertising campaigns and community relations activities to fix the damage. In 2001, Toyota released an ad depicting a RAV 4 sport utility vehicle as a gold tooth adornment worn by an African-American man. The Rev. Jesse Jackson launched a protest that eventually cost the company $7.8 billion. Early this year, Pepsi agreed to make a multi-million donation to the Ludacris Foundation, after dropping the rapper from an endorsement contract and facing a backlash.

Urban Outfitter competitor Abercrombie & Fitch came under fire last year for selling T-shirts with offensive statements about Asian Americans.

Daikoku described the Urban Outfitters incident as "one example of something that happens every day in retail. When the buyers make their decisions, it's related to what they think fits in their mix of products."

Brilliant said, "I don't think they're trying to be offensive.... The fact that they pulled the game is a sign that they don't really mean to offend anybody."

Barnard doesn't believe Urban Outfitters' misstep in an indication of incompetent management.

"Financial and merchandising savvy are somewhat separate from social views," he said.

Black Director Fired: Major Studio Faces Hollywood's First Race-Bias Suit
By Linda Bean


© 2003
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October 02, 2003

Universal Studios was accused Wednesday of race-based discrimination in what may be the first lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against a major Hollywood studio.

The lawsuit alleges that a white producer at Universal, a unit of Vivendi-Universal, fired Frank Davis, an African-American first-assistant director and 23-year-veteran of the industry, to replace him with a white assistant director.

"It surprised me," Davis said. "It was pretty blatant ... pretty out there and in your face." At the time, Davis was working for John Singleton, the well-known African-American director behind "Boyz 'N the Hood," "Rosewood," and "Shaft."

Davis's other credits include "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," "Seven," "Rising Sun" and "Courage Under Fire." Davis, who has not worked since he lost his job a year ago, "has put his livelihood on the line by filing a formal complaint," said Greg McClinton, a trial attorney in the Los Angeles office of the EEOC.

"It is very unusual for anyone in the industry to file a complaint because they are concerned they will be blackballed," McClinton said. "You let that genie out of the bottle ... and you will never work again."

The EEOC has no record of a similar lawsuit ever filed, said Noelle Brennan, an acting regional attorney for the EEOC. Universal Studios refused to comment.

Davis said others cautioned him about the career impact of a lawsuit

"But I was raised going to church," he said. "I'm scared of God, but I'm not scared about this. I had to make a decision as to whether I was going to continue to let [discrimination] happen or do something about it."

According to the complaint, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Universal claimed it fired Davis for "performance issues."

"But we interviewed the majority of individuals on that shoot and no one had anything negative to say about Mr. Davis," McClinton said. "We talked to 10 or 15 people who were part of the decision-making process, who interacted with Mr. Davis every day, and none of them had anything negative to say about him -- including the director."

Davis and Singleton were more than a year into the filming of "2 Fast 2 Furious" when Davis was replaced, despite Singleton's objections, McClinton said.

As the first-assistant director, Davis said, he was responsible for executing the plan that Singleton devised -- a massive coordination effort.

"But there was nothing on this movie that was taking place that I had not been involved in with 'Terminator 2.' That was the largest movie ever made. It was truly demanding," he said.

Movie-making is a business built on relationships, where subjective judgments about artistry and capability aren't easily codified in a human-resource manual.

During his career, Davis said, he focused on building the skills that would silence those who might have questioned his technical ability or experience -- a not-uncommon veil for discrimination.

"I was prepared, so I could always act in an intelligent and safe way," he added.

In industries where job descriptions and performance expectations are, in part subjective, the EEOC looks to "the other factors" in assessing discrimination, Brennan said.

"Here, you had a first-assistant director, the only African American in that position, who had been chosen specifically by the director. As I understand it, the director makes those hiring and firing decisions. For the studio to come in and replace [Davis] with a white guy when there was no evidence that Mr. Davis was performing poorly is suspect," Brennan said.

"The other suspect thing is that, after Mr. Davis was terminated, he went to the Director's Guild. The guild got involved and attempted to remedy what had happened and the studio refused to engage in any kind of dialogue," she added.

Davis and Singleton did lodge a complaint with the Director's Guild of America (DGA), a trade union that represents directors in their negotiations and labor disputes with major studios.

"Our official statement on this is that the DGA does not comment on individual member disputes with employers," said DGA spokesperson Morgan Rumf. "Although we are disappointed that our attempts to remedy this situation were not successful, we cannot comment specifically on the details of this dispute."

According to the DGA, 4.1 percent of its 12,700 members are African American, 4.1 percent are Asian American and 2.5 percent are Latino. Women make up 22.1 percent of the DGA membership.

The studio has a human-resources system and mechanisms in place to address discrimination complaints, McClinton said. "But it is very, very unusual for anyone to notify HR."

"The industry is such that that the people you meet on your way up are the same ones you meet on your way down. A person who worked for you on one shoot may be a studio vice president the next time you see them," McClinton said. "Everyone is beholden to everyone else for their livelihood. No one wants to complain."

The attorney, who has been with the EEOC for three years, said "sexism and racism are alive and well in Hollywood: It is just more sophisticated and more covert," he said.
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