Dis and Tell
The article about Maceo Gray and Motorola really hit home with me ("Is Motorola Harboring Diversity or Disrespect?", Amy Silverman, June 19). I was fired from Motorola after 11 years for reasons not unlike Mr. Gray's. Although I am not African American, I encountered the same problems as Gwendolyan Dasher and Doris Gray. My supervisor had a talent for talking down to people that was unrivaled. He also could change Motorola rules and policy at his own whims whenever it suited his purposes at the time. When I had finally had enough and went over his head, I was victimized by him in many ways until I was terminated in 1992 for insubordination.
To this day, I have never been able to tell my side of the story to anyone at Motorola who would listen. It bothers me the most, I guess, that nobody cared enough even to sit down with me and hear what I had to say. According to Motorola policy, this is supposed to happen also, so they didn't even follow policy when they were firing me.
I wish Maceo Gray luck in his fight against Motorola. I know what he is up against, and I can say it doesn't only happen to African Americans--it can happen to anyone. People have to realize that when a group of people is targeted, who will be next? If they do it to one person, they will do it to anyone.
I read with interest the article by Amy Silverman regarding racial discrimination by Motorola. I believe the article is incomplete because Silverman was unable to substantiate Motorola's view on these issues. The article claims that Maceo Gray was terminated from Motorola during a reduction in work force simply because he is black. Silverman notes that 69 employees were let go, including Mr. Gray. Were all of the terminated employees discriminated against, or is this accusation only reserved for use by employees of minority stature? Mr. Gray had worked for Exxon for 14 years and then decided to take a break from employment to pursue a business which he sold shortly after starting so that his wife could take a job with Motorola. Are we hearing the rest of the story here? Silverman explains that Mr. Gray was also hired at Motorola with his wife, Doris, but was unable to find his niche in Motorola's working environment. He later became involved in the Network. This group dealt with minority concerns, and Mr. Gray had problems in this area also, with a manager of the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action department. Mr. Gray was terminated in 1993 and remains without full employment as of this article. Was Mr. Gray so consumed with being a victim that he was unproductive at Motorola?
Doris Gray claims she has been discriminated against because she has not seen a promotion since her husband was fired in 1993. However, she makes in excess of $100,000 a year. How many other Motorola employees have not seen a promotion? Silverman claims Mrs. Gray won the Black Engineer of the Year Award. This is racist in itself! Mrs. Gray is not even an engineer. What about all the other engineers at Motorola? Did they not qualify for such an award because they were not black?
Silverman plays the racism card by describing an incident about a female manager who dressed up as Aunt Jemima for Halloween. This manager was sent home by Motorola to change. Mrs. Gray and her husband were offended by this because they thought it implied racism, and that the accused party should attend diversity-training classes. Silverman never interviewed the female manager, so how can she speculate on the manager's intent? If she had dressed as Nancy Reagan or Whitney Houston, would the Grays also have been offended? As a manager at Motorola, why didn't Mrs. Gray confront this woman and voice her objections instead of labeling the entire work force at Motorola as racist?
In closing, I feel Silverman's article was very superficial. These affirmative-action programs by the government intensify the problems the programs were designed to eliminate. By giving certain groups of employees leverage with which to sue a corporation every time things don't go their way, you polarize the corporate culture. I'm sure many employees at Motorola feel Mrs. Gray was hired only based on the color of her skin. This creates an unproductive work environment. Why would any company want to hire an employee it could not fire if the employee did not produce for the corporate well-being? This is what quota hiring has produced!
Jeffrey J. Matar
Junior Varsity Drag
Dewey Webb spent nearly eight hours with Dennis Bevins and me for his article "Moist Towelette's High School Reunion" (June 19). Later I sent him several photographs of our junior prom as he requested. Having spent so much time with us, you would think that the ace reporter might notice, in putting together the photos for the article, that the girl in Dennis' prom picture is white and I am black. (Okay, in all fairness, mulatto, but, nonetheless, at least five shades darker than the girl in the picture--among other obvious physical differences.)
While it is true I went to the Sunnyslope High School junior prom with Dennis Bevins, we did not go as a couple but as a foursome. His companion was one Hollie Hamitt (not a Sunnyslope student). Since she and I are no longer friends, you can be sure she was as aghast to see her picture above my name as I was to see my name beneath her picture. And while she may be remembered vividly by one of my more honest classmates as having "hideous makeup and hideous hair," you can be certain I was remembered for looking flawless!
Dennis and Hollie did have a monster of a time at the prom, and I agreed to make sure he got his night of revenge at our future 10-year class reunion, but my junior prom was far from ruined. Thanks for an otherwise adorable article.
San Diego, California
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Dewey Webb responds: Not knowing what you looked like 11 years ago, I made an honest mistake. And you're right about your former friend's reaction to the goof. Hollie Hammitt, who also notified me of the error, is every bit as mortified--not to mention catty--as you are about this unintentional mix-up.
Kudos to Bill Blake and his Trashman column (June 19)! CD reviews in mainstream publications have become nothing more than barely concealed sales pitches written by sleazy record-industry pigs. Blake's attitude is one of complete and sometimes brutal honesty. I have yet to take issue with any of his reviews. Know why? Because they've been totally accurate! The new Sammy Hagar is a sick, rehashed joke, and I'm glad someone has the guts to say it. There's a lot of junk music out there that the industry is trying to force down our throats. It's nice to see someone taking the front lines for the rest of us. As long as New Times runs Blake, I'll read New Times. Deal?
Please tell Blake that losing a woman is better than losing yourself. He'll be fine.