Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The New Cover for Racism

This entry was written by guest blogger Percy Marchand, an entrepreneur and a member of the next generation of New Orleans' leaders.

The new cover for racism is trying to make bringing up "race" or "racism" as a part of anything be racist/reverse discrimination/etc. I don't know why people believe the racism that has been institutionalized just up and disappeared.

I realized the extent of racism twice when I ran for office...the first and most important question I got from every white and black leader I met with was the question of demographics (how many white voters/ how many blacks specifically). The unwritten rule is that overwhelmingly whites vote white and blacks vote for the best candidate. Yes there are plenty of whites who vote for the best candidate (whether black or white) and plenty of blacks who vote "black", but the statistics show that it is much easier for a white candidate to get the black vote than a black candidate to get a significant white vote. You may be one of those who don't fit that rule, but majority is what majority is.

It just so happens that when a Black leader messes up - it's noted and noted and noted and noted and he or she is continuously ridiculed. When leaders who happen to be white make missteps, they are 1 day stories and excused --- "well it's not as bad as...";"everyone is human...";etc.etc. Do some statistics on the number of black leaders vs. the number of white leaders who have been indicted and convicted. I already have and the majority are not Black (African-American or whatever term you want to use) - yet the stigma is that all these Black leaders are ruining our city.

It's amazing when most of our city's elected officials happened to be white none of these questions were being asked. When an overwhelming number of black leaders were elected and some (rightly or wrongly) continued doing the same thing their predecessors were doing it became the ethical witch hunt. Now that whites are gaining more positions back - the fight for their privacy and lack of transparency begins (even though they are the same ones who demanded strong ethics and transparency).

With that said, I don't think Midura or Head are "racists". The problem isn't race issues for them; it is their inability to act professionally. Ask any person who works for a professional corporation about their company emails/computer files...they are the property of the company and policies dictate that they be used solely for company this case the company consists of the citizens of New Orleans. It is inexcusable that these personal/political/ inappropriate emails were sent over city email via city computers that are owned by the citizens of New Orleans.

The other problems with Head and Midura (as evidenced in the emails) are their motives and methods of operations. The tone and words they use behind the scenes and at meetings are inappropriate. They do not speak to those being questioned with respect or with any attempt to understand or reach amicable solutions...they question/raise points to make those they are addressing look stupid/powerless (twisting balls) while attempting to make themselves look like infallible popes.

Also, let's not get into the whole "well they did it first thing" i.e. Veronica White. If VW acts inappropriately, be the professional/grown up you should be and respond appropriately...don't stoop to whatever level you claim they are on - if you do, it just makes you the only one definitely guilty of being disrespectful/lowly as you have consciously made a distinct decision to do so.

If you think Jerome Smith or Tracie Washington are out to get the battle by ignoring the petty games you claim they are playing ... if you are doing what you are supposed to - there is nothing outsiders can do unless you give them that power.

Lots of people say they were embarrassed by Nagin's Chocolate City comment; I was embarrassed to see my council lady blowing kisses and taunting constituents. I sent an email to her regarding this and still haven't gotten a response. Maybe if I were talking about how she made Tracie Washington look like she slapped her on the back of the neck . . . I would have received a response.

The reality is that all sides have done their share...the sad thing is we are wrapped in all this garbage instead of rebuilding our city. This isn't about black or white - that's sheep's clothing on the wolf...this is about power and comfort. The people in power are scared to lose it, especially to anyone with whom they aren't comfortable...the people without power want to gain it and only share it with those they are comfortable with. You can figure out who's who.

The other sad thing is that our leaders are who our leaders are, but we haven't accepted this. When's the last time a recall worked for any side? What is the point of trying to highlight our leaders' incompetency rather than trying to build them up? What is the point of our leaders thinking that anytime someone voices concerns that they have to jump defensive as if the world is out to get them?

Why would anyone help us rebuild if we're constantly sending out the message that all of our leaders are incompetent crooks?

If this is the "new" New Orleans . . . it won't last much longer.

Percy Marchand