August 24, 2004
What's interesting to me about reading this article from the NY Times about Kodak and Racism--what they've copped to as a company, what they've admitted about the environment there, what they've done to help make it better, and what most recognize still goes on there if to a lesser degree--is that I've lived in that town, I've worked for that company, and I have some pretty strong thoughts on the matter.
You see, I understand as I read this article something I didn't quite understand before: You can't separate a corporation from the community in which it operates, because, the people who live in that community are the ones who are tossed together to make your products. Stay with me now. The people slurring and being slurred upon exist within a larger context. Got me so far? So, my real angle of interest would have been--Western New York Racism and Its Destructive Legacy--Should Kodak Alone Pay The Price?
Seriously. Shit, what about Xerox, and Kinney's shoe store and McCurdys and who the hell is it that makes Fudgie the Whale? Oh yah, Carvel Ice Cream, and is Baush and Lomb still there? And what about that shit woman at the pizza parlor that refused to hang up the phone and take our order? They all need to cop.
I read the article and I'm thinking, I remember the only black employee we had at Edicon. Super nice guy. Cared at some point. Was always in the brochures/videos (wonder why). Learned not to give much of a shit. Fell asleep often while at work. These are facts. I saw them.
But the guy didn't LIVE at work. We lived together in a city, a community, that by its geography, history, economic and cultural mindset are separatist when it comes to racial mingling of any kind. May sound weird, but Western New York, my dear readers, and Rochester in particular, was never integrated. Or should I say re-integrated after white flight split the city (or as nor'easterners like to call it: the inner city) off forever from the "acceptable" places to live.
Thanks to Another George for sending the representative graphic. I'll call this Exhibit A. FYI, the little squares are shopping centers.
In the land of Kodak, white people live in the suburbs. Black people live in the city. You have some crossover--hip youngsters and first-time homeowners who brave small pockets on the edges of the city because an area is "coming up" and is affordable. You have some UofR Professors of color, some black business owners, a Strong Memorial Hospital doctor of color here or there who lives in Brighton or Pittsford, maybe Webster.
But guess what: They still, yes in this day and age, make their neighbors nervous about their property values.
And if you're out there Dr. This and Professor That, you tell me I'm wrong. I'm not.
So Jeneane, what are you saying, that everyone in kodak territory is racist? No. Not that. But I am saying that a whole lot of white folk in Rochester, NY, some without knowing that there's anything particularly offensive about what they believe (that's the northeast way) ARE.
What hope do corporations have to retool their workers' consciousness when every day as they head out the door, their community reality tells them differently? Their local media, their news anchors--all white when I lived there--report on events that reflect the context of the community. Crime=City=Black. Worthy=Suburbs=White. How can you change a community ecosystem that relies on an air of separatism to function properly? And what comes first--the fried chicken or the egg?
At least Kodak put their checkbook where their racist employees' mouths were. That's more than you can say for the remaining 99.5 percent of the city.
And I hope Tom got a big check.
Thanks to All About George's George for pointing out the story to me. He got my ire up.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 10:51 AM
August 23, 2004
In this post about the need for a Social Networking Manifesto, Stuart at Unbound Spiral writes:
My Blog is Better at Networking
I know the humble blog has been held up as a social network many times. From experience my blog is much better than any of the SNS as a networking tool. One advantage my blog has over all the SNS is I can make connections with people that aren't in any network. I've found some of the non-blogger connections to be the most important of all. I've also found following up on trackbacks and comments much more valuable.
This is because blogs are inter- and intra-woven conversations, whereas most SNSs offer, primarily, he-she metalinkage. It's not seeing who I'm linked to and who they're linked to, who knows my friends, and who I know that knows them that I'm interested in.
It's what he thinks and writes about what she said about what I'm interested in.
I still don't see the usual SNS suspects aggregating around common areas of interests. Orkut almost did, but since everyone could define an area of interest (a community) on any topic under the heavens, the redundancy and rubbish became unwieldly to sort through. It got to be more fun just to look for funny community names and themes than actually joining and participating.
Anyway, READ Stuart's Manifesto For Social Networking Required post, wherein he writes the manifesto he was hoping someone would. It is fodder for much noodling and posting. Go forth and noodle.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 10:21 PM
I've been working my behind off this last 8 days. You know I don't claim that very often, so when I do, it's true. Late night. All weekend. Full-time retainer style, for at least a couple of months.
And this is a great thing, given that July and most of August were workfree.
Anyway, that's why I haven't been writing much. I've been busy writing for pay. You people start paying me, you'd be surprised how often I'd show up.
The first day I met with this new client, I left the house at 7:30 to drop Jenna off, and got so engaged in meetings that I never took a break. I left there at 3, got back up to carpool just in time, got stuck in traffic, and it's 4:30 before I remember I have a BLADDER already!
That's when I did the math--I hadn't gone since 6:30 that morning. No lunch. No pee. No smoke. (Of course not!) Just lots of thinking and working.
Anyway, I finally get home with Jenna around dinner time, I leave her fumbling in the garage and hightail it upstairs, running past George, who is heading off to his work, to whom I shout--"I never went to the bathroom!"
And he's wondering what I'm talking about. Wondering how the meeting went. Wondering where Jenna is.
"I never took a break!" I screech it as I round the corner to my destination. "I left here with Jenna and never took a potty break, and I can't FEEL my bladder anymore. I felt it two hours ago, but I got stuck in carpool and then stuck in traffic. I'm completely numb."
He tells me, "Well, that's not so healthy."
And I know he's right.
"That's business," I say. And I go about mine.
For the next hour, he tells me, drink filtered water. He has to go, but he leaves me with a pitcher-size glass of water by the bed, and Jenna and I check out a DVD while I guzzle water until the feeling comes back to my torso.
The moral of the story is: Smoking is good for your health because it reminds you to take a piss.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 10:02 PM
Two of my favorite "P"s -- Phil Libin and PhaTTboi -- tackle the National ID debate over at Phil's place. This is a smart, often funny, conversation on a national ID system that could ID good guys as good guys, and mark the rest with an X, or something like that.
I guess AKMA could have used a credential that said, "I don't do child 'photography'" when the officer approached him at the library.
Of course, he'd have to have a similar credential that said, "I do steal bandwidth."
Then one that said, "I'm a reverend, for crying out loud."
You see, this gets very complicated. Especially for AKMA.
I hate the idea of an ID program that separates the good guys from the bad guys. The way I see it, this type of program would further serve those with the money to hire good lawyers to defend them and keep them out of jail, reinforcing their "goodboy" standings, while labeling others for their run-ins with the law.
The majority of the people I know fall in the middle. And that's not a good place to be when there are gold-star goodboys ahead of you. Enron executives would have proudly displayed their gold star credentials right up until the end. That's reassuring.
A program that reinforces perceptions of stand-up citizens as stand-up citizens can't work.
I'd rather have no program. But if made to choose, I'd choose one that would verify without a doubt that I am me. Me who shoplifted with a passion as a kid, and me who brings home stray animals more often than I should.
Who I am is, essentially, none of your business, unless you ask me, and then I'll tell you to read this weblog, where anything you'd like to use to incriminate me is waiting.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 5:02 AM
August 22, 2004
Shelley's post on Malkingate features a comment I left there re: ethnicity, Americans, and support of a very white, "Christian," conservative (some would say neo-conservative) administration. For the record, I have no "side" in this election. While I dislike Kerry, I actually fear Bush/Cheney/Ashcroft/Rumsfeld/Bush and their collective legacy.
So, with that little correction on my affiliation or lack thereof, my question still stands: How does anyone of color reconcile supporting a group that, as part of its mission, is fulfilling a specific understanding of Bible Prophesy, that within a larger hyper-fundamentalist context, depicts you as lesser than, other than, separate from, originating from origins not of their own? What rationalization has to take place to heap lavish praise upon someone whom, as a Believer, does not believe you are of his ilk?
How do you look at yourself in the mirror and get from here to there? I really am interested.
Enough about politics. I have more exciting things to do.
Like reading about M2M.
Posted by Jeneane Sessum at 8:33 PM