Recently a major food corporation has found themselves at the raw end of a civil rights law suit. It seems as though Tyson Foods, (st)inc. has been found as turning back the clock in this country half a century or so. The suit filed in US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, alleged that Tyson maintained segregated break rooms and restrooms in their Ashland, AL plant. A dozen African-American employees claimed a "Whites Only" sign and a padlock denied them access to the restrooms. It seems as though numerous employees, all white, had the key to access the room.
The employees' complaint alleges that the manager of the plant said they were denied access because they were "dirty". Following the complaint, there was the closing of another break room. The furniture and materials to build it in the segregated break room was provided by the company. Of course, cabinets and refrigerators were locked.
Now I was just a young calf in 1964 but I have seen the photographs of the mistreatment that was inflicted upon our black brothers and sisters. There are times when I become so angry watching documentaries that I have been known to shut off the TV to keep from doing something I would regret later. The problem is that when you are living the situation, you just can't find the remote and shut it off. You can't change life like you change the channel.
There is no such thing as separate but equal. Sensitivity classes are mostly a joke. If these allegations against Tyson are found to be true, no amount of fine would be sufficient for this behavior. Mmm, the company could have minority owners in the majority.
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In a related and equally disturbing story, William Bennett, former Drug Czar and Secretary of Education, has put his white foot in his mouth. A caller to Bennett's radio show mentioned that the social security system would not be in trouble financially if abortion had not been legalized in 1973. The reason is clear, there would be more workers and more money being paid into the system to fund benefits.
At that point, Bennett decided to use the abortion situation to address another problem in America, crime. He said: "I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So, these far out, these far reaching extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky."
Excuse me? Even though both situations, the one by the caller and Bennett's comments, are hypothetical, I have to wonder what Bennett was thinking. Was he trying to "one up" his caller?
Bennett tried to explain his comments later that day with this statement: "If somebody thought I was advocating that, they ought to be angry. I'd be angry. I was putting forward a hypothetical proposition, put that forward, examined it, and then said about it that it's morally reprehensible – to recommend abortion of an entire group of people in order to lower your crime rate is morally reprehensible. But this is what happens when you argue that the ends can justify the means."
It must be said that I do not think Bennett desired the scenario that he spoke to actually come to pass. However his example was a horrible choice and for that he should be ashamed. In the words of a fellow talk show host Rush Limbaugh, "words mean something." Bennett blew it. Instead of trying to explain away his comments, he should just suck it up and apologize. And if Bill doesn't think he did anything wrong, he should take a lesson from our house. Sometimes you should apologize anyway.