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The Golden Rail of Diversity

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

18 days without drinking. Of course it’s a work night so even when I was drinking I wouldn’t drink the evening before work. It’s just too hard to function. I don't know why I keep saying and keep emphasizing I don't drink on work nights, it’s like I’m trying to convince myself that 18 days is not great achievement, that it’s no big deal but it equates to at least 3 weekends where I haven’t gotten drunk and that is an achievement. It’s the weekends and my off nights that I can truly claim success by going to bed sober and not waking up with a hangover.


I did have another anxiety attack last night. It was a real bad one and I am out of the Xanax because my doctor only gave me 20 pills to get me through the month. Sometimes I have multiple attacks in a day or the attacks are so severe and sudden I taken two pills in order to get through the attack or attacks, again, it just depends on the severity of the attack. I definitely need to see my doctor to get my prescription modified to account for these instances. I can't keep going like this; I just reached a point of ridiculousness. I don’t want to get to the point where I sit in a chair like my husband just waiting for the next feeling of discomfort so I can mentally analyze it to the point of panic and take Xanax until I don’t feel anything. I might as well go back to drinking.


I get a lot of anxiety from my job. There a lady I work with, she is African-American and she causes me a lot of anxiety. As a person she is very nice, I even refer to her as a “beautiful soul”, but as a co-worker she is a cutthroat, a backstabber who has been described as “ambitious”. She doesn’t care who you are or what the topic, at work nothing is off limits in her attacks and accusations. She and I can have a lovely conversation about non-work subjects but as soon as we start talking work she is like Jekyll and Hyde. She is perfect, no one else can do anything unless she has offered her input and she always seems to have the opposite point of view.


One of my co-workers says she can do no wrong and often quotes that she is “riding the Golden Rail of diversity”. Does saying this make a person racist? Does being aware that a person of color can appear to have advantages at work because of their diversity? I know that he has to work extra hard because being a female and African-American and she is very aware that under the Trump regime life is only going to get harder for minorities. I don’t want to think I’m racist but sometime I agree with my co-worker, a Trump supporter, who often comments on minorities and their advantages, never mind that he is an immigrant himself, a Russian Jew. He his very opinionated with it comes to other races, whether the be black, asian, or middle-eastern, for that matter he has a lot of opinions on gays and lesbians and don’t even get him on the subject of transgendered people.


I think it's a very clever quote “riding the Golden Rail of diversity” and I like it but to say that somebody has opportunities or advantages because of their diversity can imply that one is a racist. Remember a lot of diverse persons end up in a train crash on that “Golden Rail” and I say that because they have a lot of obstacles that say the average white male does not have to deal with, our “white advantage”. Its funny however people as work tell me I have the “gay advantage” and I don’t see that. I think the “white maleness of me trumps (I hate that word now) the gayness of me.


Last night I had a problem at work that involves once again this lady 've been speaking of, the very ambitious woman who happens to be African-American. I'm actually considering that she takes advantage of the color of her skin advance herself, does this revelation make me racist? I guess it depends on your perspective. If she is taking advantage of her diversity wouldn’t that make her the racist, I mean in a passive way? I don’t believe I’m racist and I’m painfully aware of the “white privilege” we caucasians enjoy. I never realized there was such a thing as white privilege until recently and now I recognize it. I recognize that the likelihood of my being shot during a traffic stop if far more less likely than if I were African-American. The likelihood of my question questioned by a Trump Trooper at the airport for possibly being Muslim is next to nothing, I’m also aware that there are many stereotypes that we white people have are not true either. Some of us “can dance”. Some us (unlike the stereotypical person of Asian descent) are intelligent and many of us are dumb and racist. I’m also aware that not all gay people are effeminate and want to fuck everything that moves (as a gay man I haven’t had sex with anyone in years, nor do I have an interest, but I’m still attracted to my own sex). Also as a gay man I don’t have an agenda to destroy the American family unit. And we all know that there has never been a Transgendered person that has used a bathroom to rape a child although there have been plenty of high-ranking family man Republicans who have been arrested for lewd conduct in restrooms. But this is a digression way off topic.


My company is very proud of its diversity percentage recently and rightfully so, I love the diversity, the different races, religions, cultures, and nationalities. Its is nothing to walk by the desk of a person of Indian origin displaying Ganesh sitting next to a person from Ireland that speaks with a thick Irish accent or to meet persons from Russia, Australia, or Egypt. I love seeing women in power and I love that I can openly speak of my relationship with my husband as opposed to hiding in the closet for fear of how I might be attacked. (Although I know for a fact although tolerated we gays are the least accepted).


I was at a meeting where the president stood before us and boasted about the fact that job hiring rate was 40% diverse, I think that was the number he used. Which meant 40% of the people are not white which is a good number. Then again I guess there could be white gays, lesbians, and transgenders (among others) in that number that are white and I guess they would include those that are handicapped in that number as well. Anyway you put it, 40% of my fellow employees have a diverse factor involved. During the company’s president’s announcement (I want to make it clear I’m speaking of my company and the the racist in the White House) I was sitting next to a young white man who at the end of the meeting whispered under his breath to me that it pissed him off to think that 40% of the people were probably hired just because of their diversity factor and not their qualifications. That a white male that may have been more qualified was overlooked just to give a person with diversity factors so the company can continue to put out positive numbers. I could see his point and agree that if someone that was not qualified was given a job over a white person that would be wrong but I can say with some certainty that the people I have met, all the many diverse backgrounds and races are all well qualified so I think the argument is about as strong as the Republican argument that people are voting illegally, while it does happen it is rare and not commonplace and when it does happen it is generally Republicans doing the illegal voting.


However what is striking is that I had another conversation with a person who is not white or black, rather came from a Middle Eastern perspective who was also offended by the comment because he felt like the president (again of my company, not the madman) was going out of his way to hire people like him not because of his talents or what abilities he has rather he is being  used by the company and hired just to achieve diversity numbers.


Two totally opposite perspectives of the same statement. Is it now wonder that we humans can’t get along? My white coworkers would say the Middle Eastern man is riding the “Golden Rail of Diversity” yet he says that company is taking advantage of that Golden Rail. I have to say that I think the statement “Golden Rail of Diversity” is quite clever but I’m not sure if making that statement qualifies one as a racist? I have used this is a “quote” (and I put that in quotes because it was a Russian co-worker of Jewish faith who first used that statement to me during one of his rants about blacks taking advantage and being out of control, he being totally irate about the Black Lives Matter movement). But if someone does purchase a ticket to the train riding the golden rail of diversity people like the Russian man I just spoke of and all white people for that matter should remember that a lot of diverse persons of end up in a train crash and I say that because they have a lot of obstacles that say the average white male does not have to deal with.


During another recent conversation with a he coworker told me that I should use my diversity factor, my gayness, to try to move ahead. While the statement was slightly offensive because he was implying that I had an advantage which to me indicates he too may have the diversity bias of the young man worried that a white guy might not get a job because of his skin color or the Jewish-Russian who believes Trump needs to deport all Muslims and most if not all blacks are dangerous, these are just two examples of men who are so opposed to diversity in the workplace, and this newest conversation regarding my diversity did not seem to differ much in perspective. See the thing is that this guy admitted to me he didn’t know I was gay until I mentioned it one day, he said he would have never known and that alone means I have a white privilege that people of color and especially gay and lesbian people of color don’t have, I can hide my diversity, or at least try to (here is where I do yet another digression)... Where I used to work prior to my current job in the company everyone knew I was gay and that company did not have the same diversity priorities that my current company has. I was subtly attacked at times (never physically) but occasionally a comment would be made. The worst thing that ever happened though was I came in one day to find that someone had carved the word (very small) “FAG” into my desk. (That being said I came in one day to my current company to find a ruler on my desk and when I turned in over someone had written “Queer” on the back of it so even with protections within a company we gays are not safe) any I digress from my digression… When I was hired in my current role I decided that I would not share my “gayness”, that I would go back in the closet (we are talking 13 years ago before my company even had business groups like “African-American” or “Asian” or “Pride”) so I would work at my desk, silently, rarely ever speaking of my then partner, and when I did find that there was NO WAY of discussing my family life without mentioning him I either used the terms “Spouse” or “Other half” when mentioning him. Finally one day my boss asked me “Who is this “Other half” of yours and long and short told me that the administrative assistants in the office were all pondering whether I was gay or not. This is when I responded to her “See there’s the problem, if a gay person talks about being gay straight people say we are flaunting and throwing in their faces yet if we try to keep it private and stay quiet about it then straight people drag it out of us”. End of digression...


Last night I had a problem at work that involves once again the woman of whom I've been speaking, a very ambitious woman and happens to be African American. Her being black is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Several people have commented that the only reason she has the job is because she is the perfection of diversity, a “black” “woman” scientist that is only lacking an alternate sexuality in order to be total perfection (she’s straight) but this is why many of my coworkers say she can do essentially anything she wants and gets away with because the company “needs” her to remain one of the top most diverse companies in the nation. On the flip side I know this woman works long and works hard. Her output is far superior than many of her white male counterparts that complain about her (including myself). Laughingly there is even a Middle Eastern man I work with who believes she uses her race to elevate herself on her path to becoming a Corporate Executive which she has told me on several occasions is her ultimate goal.


I don’t feel racist so I just don’t believe that my problems with her stem from her being black. When I look at her obviously I see her skin color is different than mine and I know and I am aware that she's African American but I don’t consciously think “Oh she’s black”, her skin color never comes into my mind. I am however actually considering she may be taking advantage of the color of her skin to but at the same time I know she works damn hard. She is a proud black woman and rightfully so, with all that she has achieved in life. My problem with her is that she and I do essentially the same job and while I know for a fact she makes more money that I do (and deservedly so) I see her given opportunities of inclusion to special projects and such that are not offered to the public at large, as a matter of fact I have initiated conversations to become involved in certain notions or projects that later I find out she has been offered the chance to participate and despite my inquiries into the same (and even having once been a lead on a project which mysteriously ended only to return with her in the lead - maybe I was a terrible lead and this was their way to tell me but I don’t think so, I think that it wasn’t taken seriously until it was given to her).


It's just so funny because some people are just naturally so racist, my brother younger brother loves the “N” word and uses it at every opportunity. He hates blacks, he hates hispanics (he’s a construction workers and blames all his problems personally and professionally on the latter). He is outwardly a racist, his wife and children also comment negatively in regards to blacks. I am often shocked by the things that come out of his mouth. (Oh and they are all Trump supporters...even though none are registered to vote. To them Obama was that “N” which always infuriated me). Many white people (like my brother) automatically assume when a black person is hired that the only reason was because of their color (at my current company when I worked in operations I worked with an all male all white group of men as a side note I found out later that “the gay guy” they worked with had advantages over them, meaning me, they thought that I only got the job because I was gay and later when a young black man was hired (who is now the supervisor of that group) almost every one of those men there would say when he wasn’t in the room “Well you know there is only one reason he got the job”.)


I mean these people I’m speaking of now are mean and nasty and even have the capability (I’m not saying they do) of putting on white sheets at night. I don’t think of race but I know it’s there and I’m conscious of it and just like my drinking where it is said that all the circumstances under which I drink make me an alcoholic whether I admit it or not I’m afraid that my occasional thoughts put me in the “technical” category of racist. I don’t believe there should be any consideration of color but I know it out there, now more than ever I’m aware of the racists and of white privilege, (white privilege is a concept that never occurred to me but now that I’m aware of it I see it all around me), I don’t consciously hate or think negative of any race (religion is a different story worship whatever you fucking choose to worship but god-dammit don’t make me a part of your religion by changing my laws and rights to conform to you stupid primitive beliefs) but I am aware of it so does simply being aware of the differences make me a racist? Is it that simple? Do I not have a say or a choice in the matter?


I live across the street from a school and one day while I was out with my dogs in my front yard two young black men were walking across the street speaking loudly and very derogatory regarding white people, probably nothing that from their perspective wasn’t untrue however to hear such loud and open conversation all I could think was it was a shame that these young men were so racist at a young age. But they were no different than my younger brother and his family, the main difference was that they said it loud and openly while white people when anything said might be construed as racist tend to “whisper” so as not to be heard or considered racist.


I think we are all racist to an extent regardless of our color. Not all white people “whisper” their racist comments (like Trump supporters and white supremacists) and not all black people shout their racist comments. But I defy anyone to say that they don’t notice when a person of another color is standing next to them and if anyone does say that they do not notice (even unconsciously) then I say they are lying. I mean I don’t think to myself everytime I see a black person or a brown person that “hey they are black or brown” but I’m aware of it. So does being aware that someone is different make me racist. I don’t believe I have anymore more rights than they do or vice versa.


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