October 5, 2017, Robert Pattinson, a new firefighter candidate in Detroit, was terminated for cause. The cause is below, along with the brief from his attorneys in his wrongful termination suit, in the bullet points.
- Plaintiff was counseled that it is customary practice within the Detroit Fire Department for a firefighter, upon assignment to a new station, to bring a gift for his or her fellow firefighters. The usual gift is doughnuts.
- In an effort to provide a healthful and economical alternative to doughnuts, Plaintiff, on or about September 30, 2017, brought the firefighters stationed at Engine 55 a watermelon as his customary gift.
- Plaintiff harbored no racial animus, discriminatory purpose, or any other negative intention in giving the watermelon as a gift. Plaintiff was not on duty and not acting in the course of his employment when he brought his gift to Engine 55.
- Plaintiff was discharged by Defendant Detroit Fire Department on or about October 5, 2017 with the explanation of: “Unsatisfactory Work Behavior – Offensive conduct of a discriminatory nature. The “offensive conduct of a discriminatory nature” was, apparently and preposterously, Plaintiff’s act of bringing a watermelon to Engine 55.
- Plaintiff is a white man. Engine 55, at the time of Plaintiff’s termination, was comprised of 90% black firefighters. Black firefighters who engaged in offensive conduct related to race were not subjected to immediate termination. Defendants’ decision to terminate Plaintiff was dominated by the fact that Plaintiff was Caucasian.
It should be noted that, according to informal surveys on a firefighter website and the channel Fox 2 Facebook page, a majority of white firefighters supported the firing and a majority of black employees, including those of Engine 55, were against it, and wanted him to be rehired, and the “defendants were white. The following are some of the unsolicited comments by local black people:
Tadarius Spearman, on a social media post, stuck up for Pattinson including a group photo of him with other African-American firefighters. “Just want to let everyone know he’s a real amazing dude and it was all good intentions,” he wrote. “And our entire class (is) supporting him in this. Especially us African-Americans and that’s all that needs to be said. Stay up brother.” #DFD. “This brother is a really good person,” said a LaVaughn DeAngelo Williams on the Fox 2 Facebook page. “There was no malice in his intent. He is a health nut, who believes that everyone should take care of their bodies and nourishment. I would only suggest getting to know him before throwing out a comment with no basis of knowledge of the individual. We are proud of him, and he is a brother to us regardless of color.” “I’m black and I didn’t see anything wrong with him bringing a [watermelon] to the job,” a Tanesha Michelle Hill posted. “Some people blow the smallest thing up for no reason. Give that man his job back. He have my support 100%.”
I deliberately included the phrase “chicken in every pot” in my headline. Did you immediately think “racist”? It refers to a promise first stated by Henry IV of France as, “I want there to be no peasant so poor as to not have a chicken in their pot every Sunday,” and later in the United States during the Hoover campaign for president as part of an ad which stated “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” Prosperity, in other words, not race. Racial hypersensitivity is promoted and kept alive primarily by two groups: virtue desiring whites (like those white firefighters who agreed with the firing) and black grievance hustlers whose fame and living comes from widening the racial divide.
Let’s get precise. Racism is a charge that is so subjective as to render it meaningless. Most of the people who fling the word around couldn’t even define it accurately. So I will. Racism can be either racial animosity, which Muhammad Ali defined as “hating people for the color of their skin”, or racial vainglory, which is promoting the idea that “your own skin hue is superior to others.” That’s it. The word “racism”, or the charge “racist” are inaccurate per se, it’s either animosity or vainglory or both. Most of the time, it’s animosity. The charge racist is a convenient shortcut to invalidate someone or their arguments, and explains nothing.
Get this: The Bible says that ALL human beings, regardless of skin tone, are “ONE BLOOD”, that is, descended from Adam and Eve. If you don’t believe that, you have NO absolute basis for racial reconciliation, nor rejecting racial animosity, or racial vainglory! That leaves only your feelings or your preferences as a basis. If you don’t believe the Bible, is your opinion about race any more valid than anyone else’s opinion? Are the sources of your opinions any better than theirs?
You probably want to know how I personally apply Biblical truth, so I will be brutally honest about my thoughts about and dealings with people of color. A little background. I was born and raised in Philadelphia, and heavily influenced by my parents and my dad’s parents. The latter were almost pariahs in their neighborhood because they were so welcoming and kind to black people moving in. My father’s favorite story about my grandmother was the time a crowd gathered beneath her bedroom window, chanting “nigger lover” over and over. Her response was to take her kettle of boiledwater and pour it on the crowd. I never heard my parents utter a racial epithet, and they made it clear they would not tolerate any of their children ever doing so. My father owned a gift shop in a 99% black neighborhood. On the single occasion when a black teenager stole something, his neighbor dragged him back in the store and berated him in front of my father, saying, “this man has always treated us right, how dare you steal from him.” That was in 1959, when the entire neighborhood looked out for each other’s kids. The predominantly white merchants had no more problem with black teens than whites. Most of the people I knew judged each other as individuals, rather than groups…before the dawn of racial grievance hustlers. Race relations and family relations are way worse now than 60 years ago. Why?
So what do I believe, in addition to what the Bible says? Perhaps the biggest test of racial attitude is, “how would I feel about one of my daughters marrying a black man?” I told my oldest daughter, “I would rather you married David Robinson or a man like him, than a non-Christian white man.” Another acid test, so to speak is “would I have dated a black woman?” Yes and no. If she looked like Gabrielle Union (Wade) or Candace Parker or Skylar Diggins, then yes, if she looked like Venus Williams or Oprah, then no. Is that racist? I don’t know, I just know what I like. What do you think about Lindsey Vonn? She’s a beautiful blond super athlete who dated Tiger Woods and now P.K. Subban, a black professional hockey player, who I think is really ugly (I wouldn’t date him). Does he bear racial animosity against his own race for dating a white woman? Or racial vainglory? Does she have a thing for black athletes? Who is most hostile about that mixed couple, white guys, black guys, white women or black women? I bet you could make a case for each: white men being hostile towards her for dating him; black men and women towards him for dating a white woman; white women hostile towards her for dating out of her race; black women hostile towards her for “stealing” him. I haven’t even mentioned all the other combinations.
Without Biblical truth it’s all subjective, therefore it’s all bunk. Accusing someone of racism is the lazy way of invalidating them and their agenda, and the mark of a shallow thinker. If you don’t believe the Bible, that’s your right, but what is YOUR basis for racial harmony and understanding? I hope it’s more than feelings.