Sunday, August 26, 2007

"Reverse" Discrimination?

While it is clear the jury got it right in this Buffalo, NY workplace harassment case, I must confess to being a bit baffled by the concept of "reverse discrimination:"

Mark Pasternak said he lost his state job helping troubled youths because he couldn’t stand working under a black boss who called him racist names like “cracker,” “polack” and “stupid white boy.”

Pasternak was dismissed from his position as a youth worker with the state Office of Children and Family Services in 1999. But today, he feels some relief and vindication.

After a rare reverse racial discrimination trial in Buffalo’s federal court, a jury Tuesday awarded Pasternak $150,000. Jurors found that his former boss, Tommy E. Baines, discriminated against him racially and created a hostile working environment.

Federal court officials said they could not recall any reverse discrimination case in Buffalo resulting in a larger monetary verdict. Most such cases wind up being settled or dismissed before they ever go to trial.

Surely the word "discrimination" speaks for itself, and requires no qualifiers to describe the racial backgrounds of the individuals involved.
But if there has to be a qualifier, "reverse discrimination" ought not to be it. As a descriptive phrase, it is superfluous and racially loaded. And it makes my head hurt.
- Garry J. Wise, Toronto
Visit our Website: http://www.wiselaw.net/

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