Friday, July 01, 2005

Ebony and Ivory

Well, Oprah is on a tear again. Seems she tried to get into Hermes, a fashionable boutique in Paris, after they closed. And just because she saw other people in there, she claims she wasn't let in because she's black. Of course it's all crap. (Remember we're talking about Paris here, not downtown Birmingham.) Those people were in there to plan a private event, and the management has come out with a statement to that effect. And even if they weren't, it's not unheard of for needing to clear out the last customers after the door is locked at the appointed time.

That would placate most of us, but not Oprah.

I've worked for the Feds for nearly 25 years. We are committed to equal opportunity to all employees regardless of race or gender. And I'm as much in favor of that as the next guy. Still I have to admit, I've wondered (to give one authentic example) why some people who put in a five-hour day for years at a time end up getting promoted ahead of me -- until I take one look at them. Then I'm sorely tempted to draw certain conclusions.

That could change though. There was a rash of retirements and "early outs" about ten years ago, and most of the old-white-boy network left. Thankfully, the workforce is now more diverse. But I would maintain it's still possible (but not automatic) for a less qualified individual to be promoted ahead of a Caucasian male because they're neither Caucasian nor male. The older generation, I can understand their beef; they can remember having trouble getting into a restaurant, even here in Northern Virginia. But the ones under forty, especially under thirty -- what the hell do they know?

Getting back to Oprah, boiled it down to this:
"A show about what, exactly? The hurt and rage caused when a boutique refuses to stay open past its hours to accommodate the needs of a celebrity?"
Maybe there's a webcast. Think I'll check her site. Stay tuned...

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