It’s a feeling that never really goes away, no matter how successful you seem to be. It’s especially nagging when you’re pushing against that ceiling, knowing full well that your competitors aren’t nearly as talented or committed as you, but because of “intangibles,” can seemingly vault past you at a moment’s notice.
Several years ago, I accepted a manufacturing management position with a medium-sized company in Atlanta. I noticed right away that I was the only Black manager there (out of seven at my level), but contrary to what the mainstream likes to believe, there was nothing odd about that fact. It did seem peculiar that my arrival seemed to be completely unexpected by such people as secretaries, payroll, and the like, or that the Black floor employees kept giving me that “Is he for real?” once over. But I was too wrapped up in the new job to pay much attention. I threw myself into it, won the trust of my department, and proceeded to outperform every other manager. Now that wasn’t my assessment (although I thought I was doing fairly well), but came from experienced people outside my department. Even when I was given what was expected to be a guaranteed “he’s going to fall flat” task, I pulled it off in thirty days; the original timeline I was given was three months.
Now let’s cut to the okey-doke: After reducing overtime by 85 percent, reducing the backlog to zero, and missing no deadlines for the nine months I’d been employed, evaluation time came around. Imagine my surprise when the plant manager said “Well, you seem to be managing your department okay, but the other managers are concerned that you aren’t a team player.”
What? Exactly. That’s called the okey-doke, and as would be expected, three months later I was called in and offered a few months severance pay (as long as I signed that little waiver). Of course I took it and moved on, committing the whole ordeal to the “experience” category. You see, it didn’t matter if I was more competent and better equipped to do the job. I wasn’t in the club, and after a while, the club decided I needed to go.
Now why am I telling you this? Well, actually I’m hoping the word gets to Senator Barack Obama, otherwise known as The Man Who Would Be President (TMWWBP). You see, several months ago, this whole Democratic nomination thing was supposedly wrapped up. Yes, we all watched in absolute astonishment as Hillary Clinton gave an Oscar-worthy performance in “I Won’t Lose Gracefully,” and we kept a wary eye on her apparently insanely rancorous supporters, several of them vowing publicly to support McCain in protest. But even as TMWWBP has chugged right along, mostly staying the high course even as the Repugnant Right becomes ever more despicable and deplorable, Black America keeps looking around for the “gotcha.” As August 25th approaches, well, something is up.
In the last few days, Hillary has taken the unprecedented step of forcing her name into nomination on the DNC floor. Yes, many previous candidates have done that, but no one else has ever done it after endorsing another candidate. Then we find that Michigan’s and Florida’s delegates may very well be seated at full strength. Under the umbrella of “party unity,” TMWWBP sent in a letter endorsing such a move, presumably because he and his team have already counted the numbers fifty-leven times, and barring something completely outrageous, have nothing to worry about.
“Paging Mr. Obama, paging Mr. Obama.” My brother, we always have something to worry about, and what’s outrageous for us is just another day’s work for them. You may be committed to dignity, honor, and valor, but Clinton and her minions (especially the bitter feminists still holding out for the ERA– I’ll talk about them another time) don’t care if they burn every bridge from Denver to D.C. They hate you, and it would behoove you to start understanding that. Something rotten is definitely going on, and we all smell it. Do you?