ROCKING THE BOATFOUR BLACK WOMEN CHALLENGE WHAT THEY SAY IS RACISM AND SEXISM AT DES

When a position opened up in January 1989, she applied. She scored 90 out of 100 on a test to get her old job back. But she was told that now she needed a law enforcement background.

Diggs filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging she was not rehired as an investigator, even though she was qualified, because of her race and sex. That complaint is still pending.

In the meantime, she got back into the state clerical pool-a common path for returning employees-and filed a grievance with the agency. She was told there was no evidence of discrimination in her case.

Her first job in the clerical pool happened to be in DES. Uncomfortable there because of her grievances against DES, she moved to the state Board of Medical Examiners. But almost as soon as she left DES, another investigator's job opened up in the DES division in which she once worked.

When she applied for it, she was told she didn't qualify because she no longer worked at DES. It was the second time she had been passed over.

Diggs since has returned to DES as a clerk. JOYCE WILLIAMS

"The rules are in place to protect black women," says 41-year-old Joyce Williams. "It's just that DES doesn't follow the rules." Looking back at her eight years with DES, she dredges up bitter memories.

In 1984, when she was a clerk who managed a small office in the Division of Developmental Disabilities, she applied for a promotion to become a supervisor in the office. She had been running the office for six months because there had been no supervisor, she says, but the job was given instead to a white nurse's aide who could not type. Williams was told that the nurse's aide answered questions better.

"I was not going to sit there and train that woman to type," says Williams. She transferred back into the state clerical pool, eventually returning to a section of DES that handles unemployment insurance. She advanced beyond the typing pool to become an unemployment-insurance specialist.

Her reviews have been superb: "Joyce is an asset to the unit," one supervisor wrote recently. "She is considered an expert on rules, policy and procedures, is self-reliant in obtaining information, and she rarely needs to seek advice or assistance."

Then, she applied for a promotion. Williams thought she was going to get the job-until she went in for her interview. She says she was questioned about an area of insurance that had never been part of her job. However, an applicant from outside the agency had handled this type of insurance, and knew all the answers to the questions. Williams received low scores in the interview, as did several other finalists.

The applicant from outside the agency, a white man, got the job. Williams filed an internal grievance, alleging that the white DES manager who did the hiring circumvented state hiring laws by manipulating the questions and by hiring from the outside when there were qualified applicants within DES. The state found her complaint to be without merit.

It was her second major frustration in the agency. Her lack of advancement didn't square with the glowing reviews she had received. Now she's ready to duke it out in federal court.

"We have been frustrated and angry," she says of herself and her co-workers Brooks, Mitchell-Raibon and Diggs. "We have worked hard to be next in line for a promotion, and then gotten passed over. We feel used."
Williams says she wrote several letters expressing her frustration to DES director Moore-Cannon, who finally answered after Williams complained to legislator Sandra Kennedy. "Please be assured that I am interested in resolving any problems of discrimination in this department," Moore-Cannon wrote. But she explained that Williams hadn't followed "established procedures for investigating and resolving charges of discrimination."

After Moore-Cannon learned that Williams and the three other women had spoken with New Times, she met with them. Williams says they got no satisfaction, only requests that the women work within "the system." That hasn't worked.

Williams recalls telling the director, "Linda, you know we're right."

GLORIA MITCHELL-RAIBON When Gloria Mitchell-Raibon worked with young black students at Phoenix College, she would frequently find herself trumpeting the importance of a good education. "Some of these kids would just go to get the scholarship money," she says. "They'd go up to the professor and say, ~`Just give me a D so I can get my grant money.' I'd tell them to study so they'd come out smarter."

That's what she herself did, at least. She studied hard so she could get a good job and move up.

In 1987, Mitchell-Raibon signed on at DES. She was eventually stationed to the Office of Appeals, a quasi-judicial unit where cases about various social-services frauds are heard. That is why Mitchell-Raibon became, essentially, a legal secretary. But she was drawing the lower pay of a clerk. Mitchell-Raibon hoped she could be promoted to legal secretary as soon as a position opened up.

In the spring of 1991, five such jobs opened up, but they were filled by white women. Harry McFate, the chief of the Office of Appeals, told Mitchell-Raibon that she didn't qualify because she had no legal-secretary certificate, she says. (McFate, who says he has since been dismissed from DES, wouldn't comment.) Mitchell-Raibon says three of the five white women did not have legal-secretary certificates, either.

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1 comments
ct30
ct30

dear sir or vagina:

i am wholeheartedly OFFENDED by the sexist actions done by the home depot corporation, as well as by one vagina in particular who is employed at the home depot in cranberry township. i didn't look at her name-tag, i cannot remember anyone's face unless i have had my penis inside of their actual body, so it will have to be up to home depot to find the egg-bleeder if they feel that she needs to be reprimanded for the harassment she gave to me.

first, i am offended by the special olympics being held at home depot in cranberry township, pennsylvania - a "do it HERself" clinic. now, i understand that sexism is fine and dandy if it caters to members of the lackluster gender...i realize that they're not equipped (physically and in many cases emotionally) to handle adversity...but just because the "do it HERself" clinics may be regarded as "special olympics" rather than as "sexist olympics," doesn't make them legitimate. and how interesting to use the word "clinic," which usually refers to a place one goes to for treatment when something is medically (or psychologically) awry. still, though, it is not ANY professional corporation's responsibility to cater to a group of psychologically-awry and physically-disabled people for the sake of these very people and their mental delusions of ability which fly in the face of their actual abilities. to continue, i will say that a woman simply CANNOT do anything a man can do, and there already are a plethora of compensations given to these disabled people - compensations from gender-based athletic teams to gender-based physical requirements regarding acceptance into the military. since compensations for femininity already exist and already are plentiful, i maintain that home depot should not be taking part in sexism by compensating for and legitimizing the disability of being female...especially if being a member of the shorter/smaller/weaker gender is no longer regarded as a disability.

now, i understand that homosexuality is no longer considered a psychiatric disorder. i have accepted that it is fine and dandy for a mere specimen of manhood to leave himself feeling incomplete enough to feel a need for a real man in his life, but speaking of emotional masculivoids and relating them to physical masculivoids, well...i have to say that i am having a hard time swallowing the "jagged little pill" that is the "a woman can do anything a man can do" bullshit . times change, but reality does not - even after all the time spent accepting buzzwords like "strongwoman" and buzzphrases like "a woman can do anything a man can do," we still base physical competitions on gender. for crying out loud, even coney island had to add a separate "ladies' division" in order for the egg-bleeders to triumph in a hot dog eating competition. i don't think that home depot should be catering to masculivoids, whether they are physical masculivoids who lack masculine ability or emotional masculivoids who lack masculine identity. it is just WRONG.

to start with part 2 of my complaint, i will say that the home depot in cranberry township, zip code 16066, had a special place to honor cashiers who did their jobs well. just glancing at all of the names, i realized that they were mostly members of the "DESTINY: MOMMY gender," otherwise known as the egg-bleeding/milk-spouting gender. i may have seen two mens' names displayed as i glanced at the huge space of honorees. now, if i were to think of how the absence of men-cashiers is due to the necessity of physical strength (ie, lifting, carrying and stocking) in the back of the store, i would be able to excuse the fact that the vast majority of cashiers at home depot are vaginas. sadly, i don't believe this to be the case. sadly, sexism runs rampant in today's society - so i cannot and will not excuse any corporation whose hiring practices are largely a vagina-favoring act of overcompensation meant to legitimize masculine wannabees (ie, feminists who maintain that they can do anything a man can do while relishing in the aforementioned gender-based physical competitions). i cannot excuse it because it is wrong for a corporation to pity disabled people by favoring them with acts of overcompensation which were probably designed as a way to get even with the reality that justifies both vaginas and gay "men" as being a bunch of masculine insufficiencies, masculine slights...or plain old masculine wannabees.

part 3 of my complaint revolves around a vagina working at home depot. now, the only reason i had time to look at the aforementioned vagina-infested list of honorary cashiers, well, it's because i wanted to buy an air-duct which had no upc code on it. i had already scanned two items so i couldn't go back and get an air-duct with a upc code on it, and so the vagina went back to look for the price of the air-duct i had. now, this vagina probably wasn't on the list of honorary cashiers - i say this because i was waiting so long for her to return...and waiting...and waiting...and waiting. did i say "and waiting," because i wanted to be...well, let's just say "lucid".

as lucid as queensryche was in 1991.

after waiting so long for the egg-bleeder to take her time to come back with a price, an act which should have taken a minute or two since the item was in an aisle not thirty to forty feet away from where i was standing, the vagina returned to the front and then went to the aisle again without saying a word. after a little while, i looked down the aisle where my air-duct was and i did not see the vagina who was supposed to be helping me. after a second period of waiting and waiting and waiting, i just gave up and bought my stuff at lowe's.

the milk-leakers employed by home depot need to be replaced by the competent gender. this will save the corporation money, as well, seeing as how it has been proven that vaginas take more sick-days than men do. seeing as how egg-bleeders feel a maternal instinct to be at home with their sick children. less equals more, meaning that the LESS there are of men working at any store, the MORE employees will need to be hired to compensate for the lackluster feminine ability, endurance, strength-level and attendance. dare i say "competence," though i guess that the word is kind of synonymous with "ability". well, so i'm r-e-d-u-n-d-a-n-t, at least my redundancy is not based on lies (ie, the unjustified yet much-repeated "a woman can do anything a man can do" mantra).

there you have it. i was harassed by the sexism of home depot which was evidenced by the vagina-infested "honorary cashiers" plaque, and i was harassed by the vagina who kept me in the store so long that i was not able to make it to wal-mart before the lunchtime traffic. it was my intention to buy every wombn at wal-mart a box of blood-absorbing and egg-catching tampons (or "lady-diapers," as i call them), along with high-heeled shoes and shoulderpads (to achieve their fantasy of appearing as relevant as men are). oh, i wanted to buy them booster-seats to sit on as they drive...just because if i'm following a car that's being driven by a vagina, there's no head above the driver's seat. yes, i will admit that i'm a little scared to think about rapture happening...as well as islam happening.

(insert nanny fine's nasal laugh)

mr. dylan terreri, i
dr. sheldon cooper, ii
www.thelessergender.com
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"When I'm hungry, I eat. When I'm thirsty, I drink. When I feel like saying something, I say it." - Madonna
www.jaggedlittledyl.com/essays
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