Monday, May 30, 2005

Essay Forty-Nine

Special Memorial Day MultiCultClassics Minutes — because discrimination and racism don’t take a holiday…

• Mexican President Vicente Fox planned to name special prosecutors for every state in his country to investigate crimes against journalists. The recent disappearances and murders of three journalists prompted Fox to take action. However, the initiative will be scrapped if the journalists turn out to be Black.

• Rapper wannabe Tiwan Barton is seeking to capitalize on his recent misfortune. Barton was literally run over by a speeding car — and a bystander recorded the horrifying spectacle on video. Now Barton, who escaped with only minor injuries, hopes to use the publicity to launch his career. His initial concepts include a CD titled, “Mow Me Down.” This dude brings a whole new meaning to street cred.

• Multiculturalism and motorcycles don’t mix in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — or hogs and dawgs receive unequal treatment. When hundreds of thousands of mostly white bikers descended upon the area for the Carolina Harley dealers’ rally, things were typically rowdy. But when mostly Black riders arrived for the Atlantic Beach Memorial Day Bike Festival, the city blocked streets, diverted traffic and added 300 officers to its police force. Plus, certain restaurants and a hotel actually closed down during the weekend. Lawsuits have been filed to argue racial discrimination, but some won’t even go to trial until 2006. Justice delayed is justice denied. Or maybe the judges can’t get to the courts with all the blocked streets and diverted traffic.

• Officials at Comedy Central refuse to view the apparent loss of Chappelle’s Show as a major catastrophe. One executive said, “On a scale of one to 10, 10 being the worst disaster, one being the best, this is about a 3.” That remark is sure to send Dave Chappelle into a heroin-induced depression requiring rehabilitation at a mental health facility.

• Junior Allen was freed from jail after serving 35 years for stealing a TV set. He had received a life sentence for second-degree burglary in 1970 — a crime that now gets a maximum three-year sentence. In fact, Allen had watched for decades as murderers, rapists and child molesters served shorter prison terms. The North Carolina Parole Commission ultimately opted to let Allen go. They probably figured he wouldn’t steal another TV once he learned Chappelle’s Show is off the air.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Essay Forty-Eight

On the road with cross-country and cross-burning MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Three cross burnings occurred on Wednesday night in Durham, North Carolina, with Ku Klux Klan flyers present at one location. State law prohibits burning crosses without the property owner’s permission, and violators can be slapped with a misdemeanor. Wow. Hats (and hoods) off to the no-nonsense legislators behind that tough law. Regarding Wednesday’s events, Mayor Bill Bell said, “People do things for different reasons, and I don’t have the slightest idea why anyone would do this.” Hey, Mr. Mayor, here are a few ideas: racism, fear, ignorance and hate.

• Muslim and non-Muslim students at the University of Michigan-Flint are battling over the use of a room for reflection and prayer. The Muslim students allegedly commandeered the space, filling it with religious stuff and anti-Israel literature. Non-Muslim students complained and Muslims students counter-griped. Officials unveiled new rules for the University Center’s Meditation Room. A spokesperson stated, “Anyone can go there to pray or [do] what they want. It’s not set up for one religion in particular.” Look forward to cross-burning toga parties soon.

• Do you know the way to San Jose? Mervyn’s Department Stores in this California region apparently don’t know the ways of local hoodlums, as the retailer sold t-shirts featuring the color and number of the infamous Norteno street gang. Mervyn’s inevitably pulled the merchandise from its shelves. Probably after noticing all the pimped-out rides in the stores’ parking lots.

• Somali cabdrivers at Cleveland’s airport claim cops are discriminating against them by issuing tickets when they leave their cabs for traditional Islamic prayer. Muslim requirements include five formal prayers daily, with recommendations for being freshly cleaned with water. As a result, cabbies leave their cars to pray in certain areas and wash in the airport restrooms. Police leaders insist officers are enforcing the law, which includes mandates stating drivers must remain in their cars outside the terminal. In North Carolina, cabbies can burn crosses and probably receive lesser penalties.

• Speaking of Ohio, Dave Chappelle has been spotted in his hometown of Yellow Springs. Okay, let’s get this straight. Chappelle is not battling drug problems. And he’s not receiving treatment at a South African mental health facility. But he does live in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Now that’s crazy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Essay Forty-Seven

Essay Forty-Five featured a newspaper columnist’s perspective on RJ Dale and the Illinois State Lottery account, along with a response from MultiCultClassics. It appears that others had strong opinions about the journalist’s work, as today’s column presented readers’ reactions. The columnist deserves props for publishing the critical letters — but he did a shitty job of editing the MultiCultClassics entry (see the unabridged version in Essay Forty-Five). Nonetheless, check out the following…


Readers respond to Lottery column

May 25, 2005

By Lewis Lazare, Sun-Times Columnist

The May 23 Media Mix column on the mess at the Illinois Lottery touched a nerve with readers. And we want to clarify one aspect of Monday’s column: R.J. Dale Advertising & Public Relations was awarded the lottery account after a review of proposals by Lottery Director Carolyn Adams, other lottery commission members and staff.

The group decided R.J. Dale was the best of several ad agencies that vied for the business. Adams did not unilaterally award the contract to Dale.

Herewith a sampling of the comments and observations.

You are transparent in your race-inspired attempts to remove R.J. Dale ad agency from participation in the Illinois Lottery contract. Lottery proceeds are up by 20 percent since the black-owned agency took over promotion from its white-owned predecessor, DDB/Chicago. The terms of the agreement are to be enforced by the participants to the agreement, not by innuendo in a column written by someone with a (not so) hidden agenda.

Adrien Deloach

I have lived in Chicago for many decades, and I haven’t seen this type of public lynching here in quite some time. Perhaps you should inquire about the success of the ad campaign. I believe sales are up 8 percent. The last time I checked, an African-American agency the size of R.J. Dale is respectable given the history of our great country. I am dismayed that an otherwise decent column would scurry about to trash an American success story.

Harold D. Shepard

Has anyone done a story yet on the fact the Illinois Lottery has yet to produce its 2004 annual report? That fiscal year ended on June 30, 2004. Isn’t it about time? The ‘03 report didn’t come out until I raised a stink. What is the excuse this time?

Kathy Gilroy

(Note: Revenue Department spokeswoman Geraldine Conrad says the 2004 report “is in the final stages” of being completed.)

Why did you choose to place quotation marks around the word “review”? Are you implying that awarding the account to R.J. Dale was somehow improper? Perhaps you’ve spent too much time away from the advertising business.

Accounts have been awarded for a variety of reasons, from personal relationships to political motivations to blatant bribery.

Heck, sometimes accounts are actually awarded based on the work presented in the pitches. Anyone who has ever dealt with accounts like the Lottery will confirm that politics (personal and governmental) play a key role in all decisions.

To call R.J. Dale a “firm that few in the local ad community had even heard of before this” diminishes the company and your credentials. Plus, it speaks volumes about how minority agencies are viewed in this industry.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Essay Forty-Six

Presenting Bobby Brown and a New Edition of MultiCultClassics Minutes…

• Bravo is scheduled to debut its special series, Being Bobby Brown, in late June. But the new reality TV show will probably not match the real-life drama delivered by Brown. This week, Brown’s entourage was involved in a brawl that left two people with stab wounds. Not sure what’s more pathetic: being in a knife fight with Bobby Brown’s entourage or being in Bobby Brown’s entourage.

• Thurl Ravenscroft, the voice of Tony The Tiger, has died at age 91. Wonder if any minority candidates will be considered for the Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes role. Note to auditioning committee: Bobby Brown is available.

• The NFL received good grades for its racial diversity in a study conducted by the University of Central Florida. However, the league only garnered a D-plus for gender. Any sports fans disagree that a woman would do no worse than Ryan Leaf? Additionally, the gender grade is an improvement over last year’s DD-plus given after Janet Jackson’s Superbowl performance.

• Mexican President Vicente Fox met with Jesse Jackson and refused to apologize for making a racist remark about Blacks in America. Then he met with Al Sharpton and refused to apologize. Somebody please send Bobby Brown’s entourage to kick the old Mexican’s ass.

• Fox later received a call of support from Bill Cosby.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Essay Forty-Five

RJ Dale and the Illinois State Lottery account are in the news again. Now a columnist for a Chicago newspaper offers a unique perspective. This essay features the published column and the response from MultiCultClassics.


Lottery mess a long way from being cleared up

By Lewis Lazare, Sun-Times Columnist

Amid all the controversy swirling around the Illinois Lottery and its general-market ad agency of record, R.J. Dale Advertising and Public Relations/Chicago, the one party we expected to hear from — Lottery director Carolyn Adams, the person who awarded R.J. Dale the now hugely controversial general-market ad account — has been notably silent.

Repeated calls to Adams’ publicist last week were not returned.

In recent weeks, questions about how R.J. Dale has handled the $20 million account it won in a “review” nearly a year ago, have intensified. As has the state's inquiry into the mess.

By its own admission, the R.J. Dale agency has gone through audit after audit by a variety of state inspectors, only to have the mess now land at the doorstep of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who, we can assume, will take another look at whether R.J. Dale has properly accounted for and documented its lottery-connected expenditures.

The Illinois Auditor General Bill Holland said he could find documentation for only $2 million of work, though R.J. Dale was paid $7.1 million in fees.

Agency founder R.J. Dale, in an interview Friday, dismissed the state investigations, while suggesting certain unnamed state executives might be taking aim at his shop because it is the first African-American agency ever to handle the lottery’s general-market advertising account.

“We have done nothing illegal, improper or unethical,” Dale insisted. “We don’t owe the state any money. In fact, they owe us money” for services rendered but not paid for.

In getting a handle on the mess, it’s helpful to remember how it began more than a year ago. MediaMix was first to report in the spring of 2004 that DDB/Chicago resigned the lottery ad account because management was concerned that Adams was trying to target African Americans in an effort to persuade that audience to purchase more lottery tickets.

At the time, Adams staunchly denied the charge. But she promptly gave the ad account, on an interim basis, to R.J. Dale, a small Chicago-based advertising and public relations firm that few in the local ad community had even heard of before this.

Until it landed the lottery account, R.J. Dale was primarily involved in doing lottery public relations work aimed at the African-American community.

Though a number of general-market agencies participated in a subsequent review to determine what shop would get the lottery ad account on a permanent basis, few were surprised when Adams and her review panel formally awarded the business to R.J. Dale nearly a year ago.

Soon thereafter, the questions about R.J. Dale began to surface.

Putting aside all the audits and investigations and Gov. Blagojevich’s ridiculous attempts to spin the matter to his political advantage, what this mess really comes down to is a question of competency on several fronts.

First and foremost, the question has to be asked: Is Adams competent to run the lottery? She has not shown any inclination to take responsibility for what has happened or even come forward and explain why she handed the business to R.J. Dale in the first place or what she knows about the lamentable situation as it now stands.

And what about R.J. Dale himself, the man who founded the agency that now handles the lottery advertising? He has been quick to complain in the past about what he characterizes as the media’s attempt to defame him and his agency. But with the state attorney general now investigating, it’s clear the questions have not gone away.

If Dale and his company are in over their heads or if they are even remotely concerned about the fallout from the state inquiries damaging the agency’s image more than they already have, the prudent thing to do is resign the business now.

“You’ve got to be kidding,” was Dale’s response Friday when asked if he would consider resigning the lottery account.

Finally, there is the top man himself, Blagojevich. If Adams and R.J. Dale aren’t going to take action to clean up the mess before more mess happens, he should start acting like a proactive governor and do what obviously needs to be done now — not later.


Hey, LL Cool Journalist:

Be careful how you report on the Lottery scenario. Some of your comments border on being factually and politically incorrect.

Why did you choose to place quotation marks around the word “review” in your third paragraph? Are you implying that awarding the account to RJ Dale was somehow improper? Perhaps you’ve spent too much time away from the advertising business. Accounts have been awarded for a variety of reasons, from personal relationships to political motivations to blatant bribery. There have been recent instances where accounts were awarded with no review. Heck, sometimes accounts are actually awarded based on the work presented in the pitches. Plus, anyone who has ever dealt with accounts like the Lottery will confirm that politics — personal and governmental — play a huge role in key decisions.

To call RJ Dale a “firm that few in the local ad community had even heard of before this” diminishes the company and your credibility. Plus, it speaks volumes about how minority agencies are viewed in the industry. RJ Dale has been around for over 25 years. Given that there are only a handful of African American-owned shops in Chicago (and only a few dozen nationwide), it’s pretty sad that you were not aware of their existence. However, it’s not surprising.

Why was DDB allegedly concerned that the Lottery might be targeting African Americans? If research and sales show African Americans to be high-volume customers, shouldn’t the Lottery go after them? There are few successful brands that ignore their most profitable customers. Perhaps DDB was concerned because they have no experience in targeting African Americans. Then again, DDB has no problem targeting African Americans for clients like McDonald’s and State Farm Insurance — and the agency even has a partnership with Spike Lee’s shop. Perhaps you should further investigate DDB’s alleged concerns.

RJ Dale was not just “primarily involved in doing Lottery public relations” prior to landing the entire account. They were producing TV spots, print ads and more for the Lottery. Their accomplishments on these efforts helped them win the total business.

Why did you report that “few were surprised” when RJ Dale formally won the account? Did the other agencies realize RJ Dale had superior credentials? Or were additional suspicions present? You should clarify your statements versus creating implications. I’m guessing a lot of the other agencies’ feelings involve sour grapes blended with biased thinking, which leaves a bitter taste for all.

Questioning Carolyn Adams’ competency is a pretty bold move, given your lack of expertise in such matters. Let’s presume the State of Illinois has some standards for candidates. Then again, given the politics in Chicago and Illinois, it would not be unprecedented for someone to get a job based on reasons beyond credentials. If you insist on questioning competency, why not start with yours?

It’s also somewhat insulting to question RJ Dale’s competency. Clients have apparently trusted him for over 25 years. Why do you want to call him out now? Your implications that the company is “in over their heads” is insulting too. When was the last time you recommended an agency should resign an account? I’ll bet the answer is never.

Adding insult to insulting, the use of the word “mess” throughout your column is a bit excessive and obsessive. You have presented absolutely zero evidence of wrongdoing on RJ Dale’s part. And yet you’re categorizing the situation as a mess and calling for resignations. Perhaps you should investigate your own motivations.

There are lots of controversies surrounding this scenario. Your viewpoints are adding to the controversies — but in ways you probably don’t even comprehend.

Cordially yours,

HighJive @

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Essay Forty-Four

It’s Ladies’ Night at MultiCultClassics Minutes:

• Donald Trump made the no-brainer decision to hire Kendra Todd on The Apprentice. Todd becomes the first female winner in Trump’s annual competition. Unless you’re counting any of his former or current wives.

• Question: How come Condoleezza Rice had nothing to say in response to the recent racist comments from Mexican President Vicente Fox? Answer: She’s used to hearing really stupid remarks made by presidents.

• Bill Cosby donated $600,000 to Bennett College for Women. Wonder who he messed with at this joint.

• Ellen DeGeneres revealed she was molested as a child. Bill Cosby and R. Kelly denied any involvement. Michael Jackson insisted he doesn’t molest young girls.

• Anna Ayala, the infamous Wendy’s Chili Lady, turned down a new McDonald’s Fruit & Walnut Premium Salad — it was just too gross for her taste.

Essay Forty-Three

Here’s a continuation of Essay Thirty-Six. The entries (names and screen names deleted for privacy) appeared on in response to the following inquiry:

Are you the only black person at your job? Do you enjoy it or do you hate it? Do you think a lot of the problems you have at work are just because you are black?


For some reason I’m usually the only black person working in the offices where I’ve held positions. The only time I feel as though I get treated any differently is when they start talking about non-work-related stuff that they think I know nothing about, such as their vacation spots at the shore or certain places where they might have dined, shows they may have seen, stock matters, etc. That junk doesn’t bother me because in all honesty the less personal information they know about me the better. My co-workers did not even know that I had three children. My office is work only — spotless and organized with no family photos on my desk.

What REALLY, REALLY GETS ON MY LAST NERVE is when white women or men speak strongly about a topic they are considered assertive — but when I speak, using more professionalism and intellect than they are, then I am considered aggressive. What the hell is that about?

It makes me so sick that black people are always considered to be the most hateful, aggressive, out of control.


Thank you. I too feel that we need to grow our own businesses right alongside their businesses, so that we are not only empowering our community financially, but building a legacy where future generations can grow and prosper. I too worked in white corporate America for 20 years, most of the time as the only African American woman, and more often than not as the only African American. For the first 9 years I worked day and night to build my career and reputation as a professional software designer for some of the biggest names on Wall Street. For the next 11 years I grew my own software firm on Wall Street and retired very comfortably at 49 and enrolled in law school (currently 1st year). The most valuable lesson that I learned is that IBM didn’t start out as IBM, Microsoft didn’t start out as Microsoft, Goldman Sachs didn’t start out as Goldman Sachs. Somebody labored long and hard to make these businesses what they are today. Why don’t we grow our businesses in the same way, and leave a legacy for future generations that won’t have to worry about being the only minority? Forget the excuses about lack of money, lack of know-how, lack of education, etc. We have all of that and more. I dream of the day of "African American" corporate America doing serious business with white corporate America. Money is green.


I understand your problem. Most of these corporations who speak as equal opportunity employers or diversified employers have to make a quota. If they hired another minority to take your place, this is proof. When I joined my company ten years ago, the assistant that resigned was black. And then they hired me. I was the only one in the department. I have undergone quite a bit, especially with supervisors. The employees were fine, but management was horrible. Of course, the bank was totally redneck anyway. Me being from NY, of course, I felt totally out of place. But I tried to adjust to their country ways. It was extremely hard to deal with. Finally after 10 years when the bank had a major merger, I resigned. I am currently unemployed right now. I had had just about enough. I’m not currently in a hurry to return to the workplace. I don’t want to make the same mistake again. The next employer had better be more diversified and I will even ask before I accept another position. THIS IS TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE DURING AN INTERVIEW! If it makes the interviewer uncomfortable, then that’s a sign!


I know where you’re coming from. As you know, there are some things that should NEVER be discussed in the workplace. Religion, politics, and do not bring your personal life into the office. My supervisor, and most of the management, broke ALL the rules (of course management consisted of all white males). If I had anything to say (and I had to be very careful of what came out of my mouth) they would politely smile or laugh. But I know I made most of them feel very UNCOMFORTABLE! I come from NY and am now living in the South and it’s been a rocky road ever since. Sometimes I want to go back to the Big Apple, but for my daughter’s sake, I remain here because NY is rough.

I had no interest in their backgrounds and did not feel they needed to intrude into mine, because we had nothing in common. I no longer work for this organization where I had been a faithful employee for 10 years. Out of my whole career, which spans over 25 years, this has been the worst experience. I opted out a few months ago because I became very stressed with the merger, departmental changes and NO INCREASE IN TWO YEARS. I got tired of my supervisor’s biased opinions. No matter what I did, he did not approve. I had only worked for this man for 2 years after my former supervisor left. I found out that they hired another black person to fill my position. I wish her luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Like you I’m unemployed as well and I’m not looking forward to joining the workforce either, but I know I have to do it soon and I am dreading it a little because of my past experience. I know that’s not the right way to think and I need to keep that situation in the past but it is very difficult for me. I was very excited about joining the company and when I was shown where I would be sitting I didn’t care that everyone was White at first because I was okay with them at my previous job...but now I will definitely think twice. Not sure if it’s wise but I’m tempted to ask my next employer if there is diversity in the office as well before I accept an offer. It’s unfortunate I have this deep-seated anger in me but no one should experience what I did at that damn place. Thanks for reading my looonnnng post. I had to vent and I’m just glad to see I’m not the only one going through this. I’m not happy we experienced this but I’m glad someone can relate to what I went through.


Thanks for responding to my post. I feel the same way about going back to work because my finances are not going to hold out very long. But it depresses me to sit here and read some of the other posts and everyone is going through the same thing. So much prejudice all over in the workplace, no matter where you go. We can’t even work amongst ourselves. WHAT ARE WE TO DO? I did have another co-worker that was black in another department. I feel for her because we talked and discussed the same situations. The only reason she got that position was because of another merger and she was placed there with no choice. She hates it also.

We all know that those individuals who write the articles about blacks getting along in the workplace are white! What do they know — they contradict themselves! And there's always the denial. It’s always about race and they know it. Right now I joined one of those online affiliate programs to try to make a little extra cash. It’s more work than having a salaried job. I wish you luck in your endeavor as far as finding another job. We will both probably wind up going through the same crap!!!


It is depressing at times. I feel like I’m on an emotional rollercoaster. One day I can feel so confident and then a day like today I can feel down in the dumps and lose my confidence. I have been networking with some people in hopes of obtaining a job or hearing about something new...but it’s not working. I wanted to join a tv/film association but I can’t do it right now. By joining an association you’re able to find out what’s new in the industry and what positions are available. I can’t afford the membership fee now and most of them require you to be in the industry a significant amount of time along with someone to sponsor you. My money is depleting and I’m at the point where I need something I understand completely what you are going through. We both need to keep our heads up and hope for the best in the future. Good luck to you.


I hope to keep in touch to find out how things are going with you. By the way, let me introduce myself. My name is [withheld]. I am a 48-year-old single mother of a 14-year-old daughter. I am originally from Queens, NY, and have been living here in a small town called Liberty in NC. I do not have a mate nor have I been married before. So what makes things worse is the loneliness alongside a job that you hate. At least I can spend more time with my daughter now, but when summer comes I think I’ll need to return to work. That’s the time when I need off!!!!!!

Again, keep in touch!


I am the only black supervisor of a seemingly all-white-run company. However, I thought being so was an advantage, but it turns out that I’m just another token! My boss of five years came to me with an idea of me becoming a Regional Manager for my area, and out of the five people who applied, I was the only one whose region was realigned, and of course, you can guess what happened with that. Yes. The area was taken on by a new director, which left my position taken away. However, I was told that I was next in line. Months later, I hear that another position has come up, and in that same area. Now you tell me why I had to mention this to my boss and have her tell me she didn’t know I was still interested — if I was next in line, why would I have to?


I’m a recruiter for a firm in NJ — I know it can be very difficult but try not to be discouraged, and this goes for all of you who are unemployed. When you’ve had a bad work-related experience within a company and you are fed up with the “blond and privileged,” it’s difficult to stay focused and to maintain an optimistic attitude, especially when the bills need to be paid, and our family is depending on us --- but WE have to.

The right job is out there for you. If you haven’t done so already post your resume on sites such as,, Hotjobs, etc. These are also great places to search for openings in your area. Apply to companies that may not be advertising — they may have positions available. Many corporations hire recruiting firms to find the right candidate for them. Whenever possible, deliver your resume in person — this is a great time for the company to put a face with the outstanding, error-free resume you will present to them.

As you mentioned, networking is a GREAT way, and one of my own personal favorite ways, to meet people and find out what everyone else doesn’t know. Even if you can’t afford to join a networking group, use the resources that are available to you. Use every moment that you step out of the door or come in contact with people as a networking moment.

By the way, what type of position are you looking for in TV? I have a few personal contacts in CA and NY who may be able to lend a hand.

Be encouraged and remember that God knows all of our needs (even the ones we don’t know about) and has promised to provide ALL of them. All we have to do is ask Him.


Thanks so much for the encouraging words. I have posted my resume on all of the sites mentioned and more. I have a long list of websites I frequent every day. I would like to pursue a marketing or promotions coordinator position. When I left the TV job, one particular department piqued my interest as well. It was talent relations. By the way, I am in New York. I appreciate any help you can provide.


What a fun and somewhat busy environment to work in. One of my NY contacts is with Lifetime TV. Would you feel comfortable forwarding your resume via e-mail? I believe that there is a way to set up a personal e-mailbox at BV but I haven’t figured out how to do it and I’m not sure if you can send an attachment through Work Talk. My home email is [withheld]. You don’t need to send your personal information, just your previous work experience.

I am only going to suggest this because it has worked for me in the past. Have you ever thought about volunteering a few hours out of your day to assist in the marketing department of some of the companies or TV stations you are interested in? This is also another great way to network. In all honesty, it doesn’t even have to be in the marketing department. You could volunteer your time anywhere within the company. One of your goals is to place yourself within the environment and surround yourself with people who have what you want, and who may be able to help you later on. There is a website that lists volunteer work all over the country. I check it out every now and then, and as a matter of fact some of the more interesting positions are in NY.

I forgot to mention yesterday that it might also be a good idea for you to set yourself goals for the week. For example, when I was searching for a new position one of my goals was to send out 25 resumes per business day. At the end of the week, 125 different companies had a copy. Do not be discouraged if you don’t hear from a company right away. I know from my own experience that when I post an opening on Friday afternoon, by Monday morning I will have at least 200 resumes in my inbox. This takes a lot of time to sort through. If I did not have an assistant to help me out it would take me forever to get through all of them (on top of the other e-mails that I get during a regular business day).

I'm home today and my 3-year-old just said that I've been on the computer too long. It was okay with her until she asked me if I was doing homework. (I take a class on-line.) When I responded “no” she wanted to know why I won’t spend any time with her. It’s amazing what you learn at 3 nowadays.

My apologies for the long message. Can you tell I love to talk :)

Chat with you later and have a blessed day.


I just sent an email to you. Thanks again for your help.


I truly understand how you feel. I was the only black person at work a couple of months ago. At first, I didn’t mind. I thought that not taking the job just because no one else was black would be blocking my blessings. Anyhow, I was soooo uncomfortable. I had nothing in common with anyone there. Their jokes were not funny. Even when everyone was laughing hysterically, I was just sitting there wondering what in the hell was so funny? They were all sushi lovers and I hate sushi so I never wanted to go out to lunch with them. They listened to rock & country music in the office. I mean, I felt like a true outsider. I wasn’t properly trained. I just had to jump in and basically figure stuff out on my own. They all would take off whenever they wanted to but stressed the importance of me being there every day because they all were relying on me to run the office. I mean, it was horrible. I believe to this day that the only reason why they did hire me was because I was black. My husband said that’s a good thing, but I don’t know. However, I’m glad I’m not there anymore. I’m in a place where I’m comfortable. Generally, people spend a lot of time at work. I believe that you have to enjoy where you are and enjoy what you do. Money isn’t everything. If you’re not comfortable at work, you will not be able to perform your job to the best of your ability. In that case, the job is not for you, regardless of what the situation is.


I also work for a company (HortiMax USA) and I’m the only black woman working in the accounting office.


I was, but I’ve gone back to school. I’m usually the only black person around. However, I usually don’t have many problems because while I’ve always gotten along with people, I’m also quick to call people on inappropriate behavior. I try to diffuse drama before it gets out of control. For my last job I out-classed all of my co-workers just by status and rank of the schools I’d graduated from (in Korea that makes a huge difference in how you’re treated). So I usually trump most around me just on credentials alone. White folks in Korea are quick to say how racist Koreans are and how they won’t hire anyone but whites. It’s funny to hear them talk about racism because usually being here is the first time they’ve ever experienced it. Also, it seems that whites here, 1) are ignorant (most are from small towns and haven’t seen or done much); and 2) have an interest in saying Koreans are mega-racists because it keeps the market exclusive to them if people of color believe it and don’t apply. It tends not to be true on the university level, as I’ve met more and more blacks and people of color teaching on the university level since I arrived. Also, when I started applying, my phone would ring off the hook and I had many people say my color didn’t matter, but my credentials, experience and work ethic would matter. It’s rare, but I’ve also been challenged point-blank regarding my qualifications by other foreigners here, but when I tell them they back down because they can’t touch me academically. (A lot of people here fake their credentials, but you can have your degrees certified by the Korean Embassy or Consulate, which I’ve done.)

Being a black woman in Asia is usually a bonus. The market here is full of white men and there are a few white women. So when an educated, well-spoken and experienced black woman comes along, I end up being in high demand and I’m viewed as an asset.

Being back in school makes it very entertaining. I’m the only foreigner, much less black person in the graduate program (there are Koreans with dual citizenship, but they blend right in). We have a weekly workshop with working professionals. One day the presenter was a white woman. It was hilarious being among the girls and hearing them ask, "who is that white girl?!" It’s funny because Asians are looked at as the "model minority." That’s because they work hard, but also they play the game well. She had no idea they were talking about her.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." — Bertrand Russell

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Essay Forty-Two

Your MultiCultClassics Minutes mailbox has four new messages…

• Jesse Jackson called the shooting of an unarmed motorist by California cops a hate crime. Most Blacks called the incident a typical day in California.

• Mexican President Vicente Fox called Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to express regret for his remarks about Blacks in America. Fox and Jackson later held a meeting, agreeing to team up to unite Blacks and Hispanics. Maybe the political leaders can get P. Diddy and J. Lo back together.

• Former NBA player Rex Chapman says he was called out for dating Black women while attending the University of Kentucky in the 1980s. Jesse Jackson called to offer romance advice.

• Viewers nationwide made the call — and Vonzell Solomon is out of the American Idol competition. Simon Cowell can expect to receive a call from Jesse Jackson.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Essay Forty-One

MultiCultClassics Minutes menu now includes barbecue, frozen food and more…

• The Dave Chappelle scenario gets crazier every day. Technically, it gets less crazy every day. First, rumors claimed the comedian was battling drug problems. Then reports had him in a South African mental health facility. Now he’s with friends on a spiritual retreat. The next newsflash will probably uncover Chappelle’s just chilling at a neighbor’s barbecue.

• Speaking of barbecue, there are very lame commercials running for Famous Dave’s BBQ. The spots feature an old Black man dramatically humming, as if performing a Negro spiritual. The ultimate reveal — he’s just reacting to the food at Famous Dave’s BBQ. The copy is delivered via silent supers: Real Honest Barbecue. The old man’s performance segues to an emphatic, “Mm-mmm!” A nearly identical spot incorporates someone playing a harmonica to accompany the codger. Lift every fork and sing!

• Mexican President Vicente Fox is getting heat for his remarks about Blacks. At a meeting of the Texas-Mexico Frozen Food Council, Fox said, “There’s no doubt that the Mexican men and women — full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work — are doing the work that not even Blacks want to do in the United States.” Jesse Jackson called the comments, “unwitting, unnecessary and inappropriate.” But only because he couldn’t think of anything to rhyme with, “Ay, caramba!”

• Forrest Middle School in Alabama is getting a much-needed name change. The school had been named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and founder of the Ku Klux Klan. Wonder what the student uniforms look like at this joint.

Welcome, New Readers


In the Advertising Industry, racism continues to be a major problem.

Diversity programs flounder.

Self-regulatory initiatives move more slowly than the legal actions in our court systems.

It seems like everyone wants to pretend nothing’s wrong. Sadly, the only people speaking out are outsiders — from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to New York City Council member Larry Seabrook and the New York City Human Rights Commission. Insiders can’t go public unless they’re ready to leave the industry entirely, fearing the politics that lead to job loss and more.

It’s time to create discussions and debates. And now there’s a forum designed to do just that.

The blog was created by an advertising insider with a unique perspective on today’s multicultural issues. The writer has worked extensively at mass market agencies and multicultural agencies, witnessing firsthand all the things most people will ignore or even deny.

Please view the blog — starting with Essay One. Then share it with everyone you know.

Thank you very much.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Essay Forty

Guilty pleasures brought to you by MultiCultClassics Minutes:

• Chris Tucker pleaded guilty to racing his Bentley at 109 mph and eluding cops in what must have looked like a Rush Hour sequel sans Jackie Chan. Tucker insisted he was oblivious to the sirens, merely hurrying to church. This brings a whole new meaning to DWB — Driving While Baptist.

• 50 Cent pleaded a deal with prosecutors for racing into a crowd, stomping two women and punching a third during a 2004 concert. The agreement requires the rapper to remain drug-free for two years. Judge Robert Kumor gave his two cents to 50 Cent, saying he has a responsibility to be a positive role model. The judge declared, “You’re a cross-cultural entertainer. You have an obligation to people in society.” Wow. If that scolding doesn’t reform him, nothing will.

• Investigators have connected the mysterious severed finger to its owner in the infamous Wendy’s Chili Case. The digit belonged to an associate of the alleged perpetrator’s husband. However, detectives are still unable to determine the baffling ingredients of a typical McGriddles® breakfast sandwich.

• High school students in Evanston, Illinois want to battle Rush Limbaugh. The radio personality dissed the kids, questioning their intelligence and criticizing their multicultural curriculum. Rush ranted over multiculturalists, arguing they believe “American culture is discriminatory, racist, sexist, bigoted and homophobic.” Actually, multiculturalists believe Limbaugh is discriminatory, racist, sexist, bigoted and homophobic. The Evanston students challenged Limbaugh to a debate on American history. They would easily beat the blowhard. However, Limbaugh clearly knows more than the teens about illegal drug use.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Essay Thirty-Nine

RJ Dale Advertising in Chicago is fighting back against allegations of mismanagement on the Illinois Lottery account. The counterattack includes press releases, radio appearances and more. Kudos to Bob Dale — he’s got more balls than the Mega Millions Game. Check out the latest memo…

From: R.J. Dale Advertising

Bob Dale, RJ Dale Advertising President, Speaks Out on Recent Allegations
Accusations of Mismanagement of Lottery Advertising Unfounded

CHICAGO—(May 12, 2005) On Thursday, May 5, 2005, the Chicago Tribune ran a story on the front page of their Metro Section titled “Lottery blindly paid for ads,” and a subheading which read “Agency gave no proof that commercials ran.” Three reporters received byline credit thereby leaving readers with the erroneous impression that the article had been thoroughly researched.

Two days later, a second front-page story ran in the main section with the headline “Blagojevich has second about-face,” subtitled “He warns ad agency on lottery contract.” The reporter, Rick Pearson, described RJ Dale's $19 million dollar per year, 2-year contract as “a controversial multimillion-dollar lottery advertising contract.” The only thing that's “controversial” is the unprecedented scrutiny RJ Dale has been subjected to.

This is a drama that has been going on for more than a year, ever since RJ Dale was named as the Illinois Lottery’s interim general market agency in February 2004. The drama picked up steam when we won the general market contract in July 2004, after competing with 13 other agencies. Maybe Mr. Pearson and the Chicago Tribune consider the contract controversial because for the first time in the Illinois Lottery's 30-year history a Black-owned advertising agency was allowed to compete for, and ultimately won the contract.

This final (we think) audit/forensic investigation of RJ Dale, which is now coming to a close, is the fourth such investigation endured by us in less than a year. We have compiled and submitted for this final audit over 4500 documents including more than 300 job files to the state’s auditors. We are certain that the findings will show no fraud or attempted fraud, no mismanagement of funds, no improper invoicing or lack of documentation and no missing money. The other very pertinent fact we believe the audit investigation will reveal is that RJ Dale is owed over $150,000 for the period being audited.

Now, referring back to that defamatory Chicago Tribune headline (“Lottery blindly paid for ads. Agency gave no proof that commercials ran.”), RJ Dale and the Illinois Department of Revenue (Lottery) had an agreement that we would maintain all proofs of purchase (media affidavits) in our office rather than attaching them to each Lottery invoice, and the Illinois Department of Revenue would periodically, at its discretion, visit and audit our files and records, which they did. This procedure would insure billing accuracy while saving the state labor cost associated with personnel needed to process such a large volume of paper, and according to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, this is standard industry procedure. Finally, in spite of all the insanity, RJ Dale has helped the Lottery achieve record sales while reversing a 5-year decline in revenue and profits. State records show an 8.35% sales increase in fiscal year 2004 vs. 2003, and $30 million more going to the State’s Common School Fund. You have to wonder why this was never reported.

The four audits we have undergone and the lies in the press are an indication that there are those obsessed with taking this contract from RJ Dale. We have spent 26 years establishing a record of integrity and outstanding performance. We will vigorously defend our reputation against anyone or any company attempting to denigrate our good name.

Essay Thirty-Eight

Misfits, Madmen, MultiCultClassics Minutes and more…

• How bad can it be for Michael Jackson when his latest character witness is Macaulay Culkin? Culkin insisted Jacko’s not wacko, although he admitted they occasionally slept together. Responding to questions about Jackson’s porn collection, Culkin said, “When I was 12 or 13 years old I had a couple of Playboys under my bed.” The “Playboys” probably included Jackson and Richard Simmons.

• Eminem settled his lawsuit with Apple. The computer company was accused of playing the rapper’s music in an iTunes commercial without permission. Eminem will use the settlement loot to buy his mama a new trailer home.

• Lawyers for Bill Cosby denied he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman in January 2004. The comedian was only offering the woman his Pudding Pop.

• By the way, wasn’t Cosby recently reprimanding certain Black folks for being poor role models? Of course, Cosby’s worst crime in the last year remains his involvement with the Fat Albert movie.

• Now sources claim Dave Chappelle checked into a mental health facility in South Africa. Can’t think of a better place for a brotha to get the best possible medical care.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Essay Thirty-Seven

RJ Dale Advertising in Chicago thought it hit the jackpot upon winning the $38 million Illinois State Lottery account, beating out numerous general market agencies. But the African American-owned shop has faced a lot of suspicious scrutiny from Governor Rod Blagojevich, the media and more (MultiCultClassics reported the issues through a forwarded email in Essay Nineteen). The troubles inspired RJ Dale to present the press release below.

Readers are encouraged to review Essay Nineteen and take appropriate action. Plus pray RJ Dale’s Lotto numbers come through.

Contact: Deana Balfour-Williamson
(312) 644-2316

Accusations of Mismanagement of Lottery Advertising Unfounded
RJ Dale Speaks Out on Recent Allegations

CHICAGO — (May 11, 2005) — RJ Dale is setting the record straight about the recent reports by certain media regarding RJ Dale’s lottery payments with the “controversial multi-million dollar” lottery advertising contract.

According to Robert Dale, president, “The media refers to the lottery contract as controversial, because we are the first African American ad agency to receive a multi-million dollar, general market ad contract with the state.” Dale continued, “We have completely cooperated with the state and with their auditors on each occasion that we’ve been audited. As requested, we have handed over more than 2300 documents to support work delivered.”

We have executed quality advertising and have only billed the state for work that has been executed. If there is a problem, it’s not a mismanagement of funds.”

For 26 years RJ Dale Advertising & PR has operated with integrity, priding itself on being honest and open with its clients. RJ Dale has never misrepresented billings or work executed.

Within the past year four audits have been conducted by the state, with some of them overlapping, causing some of RJ Dale’s original records to be in disarray and/or in the possession of previous auditors. With every audit launched, improprieties have never been disclosed. However, one audit after another was implemented against this African American ad agency.

Since winning the lottery general market ad contract 11 months ago, RJ Dale has delivered award winning ad campaigns that [have] helped boost lottery sales a record 8% in less than a year.

Recognizing the Governor’s concern to protect taxpayers’ dollars, RJ Dale is certain that submitted documents will verify and prove that the agency never mishandled the lottery account.

RJ Dale is a 26-year-old full service integrated marketing communications agency, owned by Robert J. Dale, President & CEO.

Since 1979 RJ Dale has been a family of marketing communications professionals dedicated to providing clients with the very best in strategic thinking, compelling creative, targeted media and superior client service. RJ Dale speaks the language of their customers.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Essay Thirty-Six

The following entries appeared at…

Are you the only black person at your job? Do you enjoy it or do you hate it? Do you think a lot of the problems you have at work are just because you are black?


I am the only black queen at my job and I am treated like a slave. We have these cubicles and a non-covered desk in the front, so I asked to sit there and was told no — but when they hired this Caucasian woman she was all but courted to this desk.

I am now stuck in the back corner in a cubby and take on several tasks as Admin, Customer Service, Reception and Sales — but the young Caucasian woman who has been with the company for 2 years does nothing all day and yet makes more than me.

There are also the little colored jokes at my expense, like the stereo that was bought for the office. I was directly told, "NO RAP MUSIC OR GHETTO MUSIC" — and I am light-skinned. Imagine what would be said for a true black woman (who, by the way, applied for one of the positions and was turned down; and after she left, I heard them — the boss and office manager — laughing because she had burgundy hair). It's not fair — where is the unity? I would love to work for a "black-owned, black-operated" company in Baltimore, but I can’t seem to find one.



I just read your posting and I send you my deepest sympathy. Although I do believe you are selling yourself short to tolerate mistreatment from anyone in a workplace whether they are white or black. The answer to your problem is not to tolerate it. I get so upset when we as minorities get so riled up over racism, and then when it presents itself we lie down and take it. Am I saying quit your job? No! I am saying let it be known that you are a proud black Goddess and that you are proud of who you are. If I brought a radio and I was told no rap or ghetto music, I would have said, "Then I guess there will be no country, classical or trailer trash music." I bet you guys would have been listening to nothing but the sound of shock. The thing is, they cannot set forth rules for just one person any time — if they say you cannot do something then that very well applies to the whole office whether they like it or not. We have to become a force to be reckoned with. Tolerance of racism is acceptance. Keep your head up and pray for the answers you need for coping with your coworkers. And if all else fails, ask Him for guidance in your career. I bet He’ll give you the courage to move on and the wisdom to find something better. I did it and I was afraid because I had two children, but He promises to provide His children with what we need. It is up to us to get what we want.


Although I am not the only black person in my office, there are only three others in the entire building. I am the only one who comes from what is deemed to my coworkers as the “bad part of town.” I never thought it was an issue because I love what I do and no one can change that. Basically, I ain’t going nowhere. I don’t have a lot of problems here because I do what I am supposed to and I excel at it. Everyone here is quite respectful of others. The job I was at previously was much worse but that had a lot to do with me not wanting to be there anyway. I heard a lot of the white employees say things that were stereotypical and I would correct them every time I heard it, and I even encouraged other black coworkers to do the same. Face it, we spend more time during the week with our coworkers on an average than we do with our own family. I’ll be a monkey’s uncle before I subject myself to feeling uncomfortable and disrespected. I don’t allow it from the people who I love most and I sure as heck will not accept it from a group of people who have no clue about who I am. If the issue ever arises at my current job, I will politely and professionally say what it is I have to say — and fight come with it if need be. I would anticipate the consequences of speaking out for what I believe in, and if I were to be dismissed then I would know this is not the place for me because that would only mean they don’t respect me as a person with integrity, self-respect, morals and limits.


i too am the only black person at work in baltimore, surrounded by foreigners. but it isn't a professional job; just fast food — and let me tell you, i make it my duty to let them know that THEY are the minority in my world. didn’t ask ‘em to come, not pressed for ‘em to stay, probably forget ‘em if they go — so, it’s interesting. i also make it my personal mission to be as politically correct with them as possible. they ask me, "did you move ‘xyz’?" my response, "why would i move ‘xyz’? because i’m BLACK?!" works in just about every situation. but never try this if something has been stolen. actually, there won't be any need, at least not at my job, because they already know to come to me.


I am the only black person in my office. I don’t like it. I work in an office that takes care of international students. Basically, I round out the office nationalities: white, german, hungarian, indian, pakistani. There has definitely been some nitpicking by my boss towards me for little things. Another reason I don’t like it is because of the foreign people I deal with — they are some very annoying people that some days I make every effort to ignore, in any way I can, without being called into my boss’ office.


yes, it’s so bad that i had to work on Martin Luther King’s birthday and McDonald’s was the only place that celebrated Black History Month!


I would like to address the issue of confronting racism in the workplace. I did and now I’ve been suspended and face termination. (Of course, I’ve filed a discrimination case. Admittedly, the community — staff of color — is not supportive).

As the only African-American teacher in a detention facility whose population is mostly comprised of Blacks and Latino clients, I have overheard other teachers speak negatively about the students. In particular, one teacher comments regularly that she “hates” the students — she is convinced that they are all “guilty criminals.” After lunch, there is a “Character Education” class in which most of the teachers put a movie on and talk to each other — awaiting the time to flee the place.

I, on the other hand, completely love this work and I have made such a favorable impression on these students. I have inspired them to further their educational goals by conquering their educational deficits. The students took such an interest in their schoolwork — even opting to stay later in the school rather than go back to the unit to watch television.

The jealousy from my white peers was quite obvious. Yet, I ignored them for their obvious lack of professionalism. My major roadblock, my supervisor, seemed to micro-manage my every move while oblivious to the others. (He claimed he had no idea that other teachers didn't have a curriculum for their classes.) Ironically, as a former teacher, he was renowned to “put in movies” instead of teaching.

At a staff meeting, I told one teacher about herself — when she went on about how the students act up in her class. (I’ve earned the respect of the students... and one educational observer stated that in all his years, he has not observed students who were so on task in my classroom. He said it seemed as if they were college students). This teacher was accusing me of “playing favorites.” I told her that students might not respect her because they may feel her hatred toward them as I do. I said, “I hope the teachers who care for your children have more regard for them than you do for these students!”

Long story short, she’s working and I’m not. Go figure!


I am the only black person at my job and I really feel uncomfortable because I feel like I don’t have anyone to identify with. I am a customer service rep. There’s so much more I don’t like — fake laughing at their jokes that aren’t funny; plus, I was invited to my boss’ b-party and I already know I’m not going. I’ve been with the company only two months and had very poor training. I was just thrown in after two weeks on my own. I am really frustrated with the job already, because I am doing enough work for two people and still don’t really have the proper training. I don’t like some of the things that go on at work and I am planning to have a meeting with the manager.


Yes, I am — and I say so what. What’s the big deal? You’re black and that’s obvious. I’m there because I want to be. In fact, being the only black person gives me the advantage.




I was the only Black person in my department at work. I was working for a television station and everyone in my department was white. It was one of the worst working experiences I’ve ever had. Prior to obtaining the position at this company, I worked with white people and I didn't have too many problems. The worst part about the recent job is I took a huge pay cut, worked long hours, and wound up working with a bunch of loud, self-absorbed, obnoxious b*tches. They were all friends prior to joining the organization, the executives loved them, and they all came from wealthy families. Picture four Paris Hiltons working together. It was so bad and I felt out of place. The worst part is I had to rely on these girls for information. They would help because they had to, but I’m sure they didn’t want to assist me at all.

They would gossip all of the time, IM each other although they all sat next to each other. They were nice the first day, but afterwards they were horrible. Every morning I was greeted with stares. They would discuss “non-important” topics. Every morning they would ask each other questions or make comments like, “Where did you buy those shoes… are they Prada? Oh my God...I paid $400 for this skirt… so cheap. I can’t eat that I will gain a pound…” — and it went on and on and on. I couldn’t relate to them at all. Not once did I hear them talk about the local news or world events. Grown-ass woman acting like spoiled brats. I felt very uncomfortable and dreaded going into work. If I messed up on a project or was taking too long, they would make me feel incompetent by making indirect comments about my work. I complained to my boss and nothing happened. I had to leave the place when nothing was done. I didn’t feel comfortable working in an environment like that. I didn’t trust anyone in my department. I went off during my exit interview. I was not going to leave without saying something to HR. I wanted to confront all of them, but I knew that wasn’t going to help.

I spoke to someone recently and they mentioned the sista that replaced me was fired. She only lasted a couple of months like I did. I’m glad I left on my own. I know success is the best revenge, but I’m still bothered by this. I believe what goes around comes around, and I really hope they get what’s coming to them.



I am the only salaried minority supervisor in the manufacturing plant in which I work, and I have asked my boss, plant manager, plant human resource manager as well as the corporate HR manager about any minority mentoring programs within our company and they all don’t know of any. The answer I got from our plant HR person was that there will be some diversity training coming up in the near future. That’s fine, but I need to talk to someone now. They all say they have open door policies and that I can come and talk to them anytime. I tell them that’s great — but the issues I want to talk to them about, they wouldn’t understand. Is there a minority mentoring program out there where I can talk to someone who can relate to the problems I am dealing with? I have been supervising for 8 years and have only met perhaps 6 other supervisors within the corporation. Our corporation is owned by Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffett). Our plant has about 250 employees, 21 of which are minority. I try to encourage others to take leadership roles, but they only want to complain and say that it’s no use because the “white folks” are gonna do what they want to do anyway. It’s hard to stay positive in such a negative environment. I enjoy my job, but at times I don’t like it due to the fact that I am alone. I don’t speak up a lot in meetings because when I do, I either get ignored or put down. I get extra duties because I have better computer skills than the other supervisors in my department, but when it comes to bonus time, I get graded low due to “my lack of technical skills.” That’s a lot of BS. This is extremely frustrating. Any help or advice someone can give will be greatly appreciated.


I was the only Black person in my office. I think that the Executive Director assumed I would be a minstrel-yes ma’am-type. To say that I was treated unfairly is an understatement. Although I was talented, I spoke up too much and alienated myself from my coworkers — that is what I was told the day I was let go.

I hated being the only sister in my office. I had very little in common with my white coworkers. They could not identify with my struggles and I could not identify with theirs. My cornrows were such a major fascination for them. At first I saw it as an opportunity to educate the ignorant. However, it didn’t take long for me to see that I was simply a source of lunchtime amusement for the office. My culture and my people were misunderstood. My music was inappropriate in MY office. My print of David Hammons’ "The Door" was offensive and inappropriate — it was not sending a message of unity. I could go on and on about the ignorance and prejudice...

Never again will I subject myself to an all-white office — NEVER AGAIN!


No. Because it is not about color. It is about “knowledge.” People like you or not, whether you are Black. Just be Black, proud, and constantly educate yourself and you will notice that race is not the color. In your mind, people will persecute you for being Black, so let them.

I am always the only Black person, and I show it through my color and education.

It’s great to be Black.

Be glad you have a job. Better yet, stop complaining. Go look elsewhere. Or better yet, forget about the situation around you and take the negative and turn it around to positive, and what the Black Queen gets all the attention to her amazement. Learn the Game of Life, we all will die, and die like flies, so enjoy your life and stop tripping. Hang Tight, Sista.


My advice to you is to speak up about any uncomfortable situations your coworkers or supervisors are putting you in. My sister experienced similar situations with her supervisor. It got to the point where she became extremely stressed. I gave her the same advice over and over again. Instead of addressing the situation, she just quit the job. You have the right to be treated and spoken to in a respectful and professional manner, regardless of how they feel about you. Let a supervisor know what’s going on and if nothing is done go to your human resources department. There are company rules and laws to protect you from being mistreated.


Actually I’m on my husband’s username and I completely understand where you are coming from but it is public exposure that hurts companies like that. I am a nurse in the south and it is hard working for supervisors that only want to promote the non-African women to higher positions or just give us bad reviews and call it a day. It was all the black women on my job except for one who were told they were basically average or below, and that our uniforms were not up to standards. We were the only women in the company with more tailor-made and Nike-wearing sisters in the place. But I could go on but I'll end it there.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Essay Thirty-Five

MultiCultClassics Minutes goes Hollywood…

• The biggest scandal of the season on American Idol: the ultimate winner may be a White person.

• Rumors claim Dave Chappelle’s TV show is being delayed because the comedian has drug problems. Barry Bonds vehemently denied any involvement.

• The biggest scandal of the season on The Apprentice: all the Blacks were lame losers. It’s a wonder Trump didn’t declare, “Black candidates, you’re tired.” At least it appears a woman will win this time, so there are signs of progress.

• Experts claim CBS CSI programs don’t accurately depict the profession. Imagine that. Still waiting for the multicultural spin-off, CSI: South Central.

• The biggest scandal of the season in the NBA: the MVP Award winner is a White person.

Essay Thirty-Four

We interrupt the regularly scheduled race rants for another heavy topic…

A mysterious ad recently appeared in national newspapers. It read:

“Epidemic” (crossed out)
“Problem” (crossed out)
“Threat” (crossed out)
“Issue” (crossed out)

Americans have been force-fed a steady diet of obesity myths by the “food police,” trial lawyers, and even our own government.

Learn the truth about obesity at:
The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting consumer choices and promoting common sense.

[Check out the site to view the actual ad.]


A visit to the Web site revealed little truth about the organization. The Center For Consumer Freedom® features a tagline stating, “Promoting Personal Responsibility and Protecting Consumer Choice.” Thank chocolaty goodness there’s a crusader defending our inalienable right to choose the junk foods we overeat.

According to the site, “The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition of restaurants, food companies, and consumers working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.

“The growing cabal of ‘food cops,’ health care enforcers, militant activists, meddling bureaucrats, and violent radicals who think they know ‘what’s best for you’ are pushing against our basic freedoms. We’re here to push back.”

Militant activists and violent radicals? Don’t recall spotting angry militants seeking to fight the power of cheese. And unruly mobs at the local Krispy Kreme only appear during the morning commuter rush hour.

It’s also fishy that The Center for Consumer Freedom enjoys nonprofit status. The anonymous restaurants and food companies in this organization must certainly profit from the PR generated on their behalf. One wonders how Subway’s Jared — or rotund rabble-rouser Michael Moore — might react to The Center.

CCF Executive Director Rick Berman is mentioned in a few stories, and he’s even testified before Congress to prevent lawsuits against restaurants and food companies. As it turns out, Berman is a lobbyist who runs his own public affairs firm, Berman and Company in Washington, DC. A quick Google search failed to uncover photos, so it’s unknown if the man is obese or thin. But it’s safe to assume he’s a fat cat fronting for corporate shitheads.

The site is essentially comprised of mean-spirited commentaries slamming the CDC and other entities concerned about America’s health. “Big Fat Lies” is a popular subhead for lead stories. Ironically, the overall tone of the work sounds militant, radical and violent. The Center for Consumer Freedom apparently believes in fighting fire with flame-broiled Whoppers.

In addition to propaganda, The Center sells bumper stickers and t-shirts (in XXXXL, no doubt). The catchy slogans include, “French fries are NOT the enemy.” All proceeds probably go to overweight children’s charities.

Hoping to establish a connection, MultiCultClassics searched the site for any perspectives involving obesity discrimination — and came up with a big fat zero.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Essay Thirty-Three

Dumb Black folks make dumb White folks even dumber.

This cultural phenomenon occurred again thanks to the fiasco involving minority students at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois (mentioned in earlier essays).

The dumb Black person in this case is Alicia Hardin, the student who allegedly created the hoax.

The dumb White person is Steve Chapman, a newspaper editor who wrote the following viewpoint:

Phony racism and the allure of victimhood.

Racism is on the verge of extinction in this country, judging from the latest evidence. There is no way to precisely measure how much is left, but it appears to be in such short supply that we're forced to manufacture an ersatz version to take its place.

Recently, three minority female students at Trinity International University in Deerfield received racist letters, including one that mentioned a gun. Students, faculty and administrators were shocked. They should have been skeptical. Instead of being the deranged work of some angry white male, law enforcement officials concluded, the letters were fakes — written by an African-American student who hoped the incident would persuade her parents to let her transfer to another school.

You would think those concerned about racism would breathe a sigh of relief. Not quite. Rev. Jesse Jackson somehow managed to convey that the fraud actually proved the presence of bigotry. "Racism, whether it is actual or manipulated, is morally wrong," he declared. "We must work to clean up the environment that makes such a hoax believable, a hoax that does harm to so many individuals and the institution."

Talk about blaming the victim. This was not "manipulated" racism, because there was no racism to manipulate: It was pure fantasy. And the "environment that makes such a hoax believable" is one that Jackson and many other black leaders have assiduously cultivated for decades.

Any institution that includes white people (Trinity's student body is 74 percent white and 13 percent black) is assumed to be simmering with barely suppressed prejudice against African-Americans and other minority groups — which threatens to erupt at any moment. That's why just about everyone who heard the original allegation assumed it must be true.

It would have made more sense to assume it must be false. In recent years, there have been numerous instances where students and even professors have invented racial threats or attacks. The Los Angeles Times reported last year that "since 1997, more than 20 such hoaxes have been confirmed or suspected." Tawana Brawley inspired a legion of imitators.

In 2003, a Latino freshman at Northwestern University reported finding anti-Hispanic graffiti outside his dorm room and being accosted by a racist attacker who held a knife to his throat. The campus reacted as campuses normally do: with shock, horror and a rally for unity.

A student government officer said, "It's our fault, it's all our faults. What are we doing, here at NU, to make someone feel comfortable about doing this?" One letter to the student newspaper said, "To eliminate racism, we must extricate it from the hidden, seething channels in which it thrives."

In time, the supposed victim admitted he had made it all up. Apparently, hatred was not seething or thriving in Evanston after all. But no one was heard saying the hoax proved racism was not a widespread and serious problem at Northwestern. The assumption is that racism is a widespread and serious problem on every college campus.

Racial prejudice still exists in American society, but these are about the least likely places to find it expressed or excused. If there is any subject on which no one dares to raise a peep of dissent at a university, it's that bigotry against people on the basis of race, sex or sexual orientation is absolutely unacceptable. Most university administrators and faculty, far from being complacent about racism, are practically obsessed with it.

But instead of neutralizing the issue, this preoccupation exaggerates its extent and importance. Why do unscrupulous students resort to hoaxes involving racism rather than claim they have been the targets of random street crime or identity theft? Because these students know there is no way to gain so much attention and sympathy.

"The one thing they're absolutely certain of is that to be the victim of hate speech gives you a victim status and all the special consideration that goes with that," says Shelby Steele, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and author of a forthcoming book, "White Guilt." Whites in positions of authority, like those running universities, are vulnerable to such deception, he says, because they are terrified of being labeled hostile to minorities.

But hypersensitivity, far from dissolving racial barriers, acts to reinforce them. Racial prejudice will never entirely disappear from college campuses, any more than sloth, lust, greed, envy or any other human vice will ever be eradicated. But when phony hate crimes become more of a problem than real ones, it's time to obsess about something else.


There are probably many people who will agree with Chapman’s perspective. He makes some valid observations. But there are plenty of disturbing elements to consider as well.

For starters, Chapman’s opening lines (Racism is on the verge of extinction in this country, judging from the latest evidence. Blah, blah, blah…) are particularly irritating. Sarcasm about racism produces a different reaction when delivered by White folks. It’s one thing for Richard Pryor or Chris Rock to deliver such wisecracks. Coming from a White editor of a major newspaper, it feels irresponsible, condescending and even misinformed.

The logic behind Chapman’s opening lines kinda sucks too. Does this mean the recent “Runaway Bride” hoax in Georgia (and the many similar scenarios in the past few years) demonstrates kidnappings and violent crimes are on the verge of extinction? Do the acts at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prove all our soldiers are torturous rapists? Are Catholic priests pedophiles because of the crimes of select peers? Chapman’s conclusions appear to be based on the negative stereotyping that fuels biased thinking and problems like racism.

Chapman also wrote, “[Trinity International University officials and students] should have been skeptical,” and, “It would have made more sense to assume [the threat posed by the letters] must be false.” Is Chapman implying the decision to evacuate minority students was an overreaction? Given all the recent school and workplace shootings, the cautionary measures taken by university officials seem highly justified and appropriate. Assuming threats to be a hoax is a reckless tactic.

Chapman later revealed, “since 1997, more than 20 such hoaxes have been confirmed or suspected." Big, fucking deal. The worst hack reporter could easily uncover more than 20 legitimate racist acts — that have taken place in the last 20 minutes!

Chapman attempts to argue today’s college campuses are unlikely places for racism to exist. Unfortunately, the editor failed to read his own newspaper, because the very edition featuring his commentary included a story about racist remarks made by Larry Cochell, the University of Oklahoma’s ex-baseball coach.

Finally, Chapman fortifies his position with quotes from Shelby Steele. It’s surprising that Clarence Thomas and Booker T. Washington weren’t quoted too.

Without a doubt, Alicia Hardin’s writings were really, really dumb.

Yet Steve Chapman’s weren’t much better.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Essay Thirty-Two

MultiCultClassics Minutes with the honorable Judge Mathis presiding:

• R. Kelly is next in line for a celebrity courtroom drama. In case you missed the video — which probably won’t be playing anytime soon on BET — Kelly faces child pornography charges for allegedly having sex with an underage girl in 2002. Lawyers predict a July trial date. Does it seem like these judicial performances are actually scheduled by Court TV and other media outlets?

• Once NBA players finish battling on the hardwood courts this season, a select few will appear in legal courts to face charges stemming from the infamous melee at a Detroit Pistons-Indiana Pacers game. Not sure how it will play out, but Ron Artest could easily employ an insanity defense.

• Justice delayed is justice denied — or perhaps just business as usual for Bank of America. Chicago City Council member Dorothy Tillman, a champion of slave reparations, charges a predecessor bank affiliated with Bank of America profited from the slave trade. For now, Bank of America is disputing Tillman’s accusations, even hiring a researcher to investigate. The bank’s current slogan is, “Higher Standards.” Time will tell.

• The incident involving Florida police handcuffing a sassy 5-year-old has officially become a race issue. A group of Black leaders are now urging authorities to punish the officers (who happen to be White). Perhaps the cops will be forced to sit in the corner wearing dunce caps — plus write the following phrase one hundred times on the chalkboard: It’s not nice to use excessive force on kindergarten kids.

• Sunday was Judgment Day for Oklahoma University baseball coach Larry Cochell, who resigned after causing trouble with racist remarks. During interviews with ESPN, Cochell praised a black outfielder — using the N-Word! His quotes about the athlete included, “There’s no nigger in him.” Cochell went on to observe, “There are honkies and white people. And there are niggers and black people. [The outfielder] is a good black kid.” Based on his own observations, Cochell appears to be a honky. In his resignation letter, the ex-coach wrote, “…my careless use of language did not reflect my own values…” We’ll be the judge of that, Mr. Cochell.