Double Standards In The 21st Century, A Myth or Reality? - The Black Perspective
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Double Standards In The 21st Century, A Myth or Reality?

By on January 3, 2013

Weighing double standardsFor years African-Americans have been adamant in saying American society is not fair and that double standards exist in every aspect of American life.

It is common in every African-American home to hear a parent tell their children “you have to be three times as good as white people to be hired for the same job.” While African Americans are steadfast in their thoughts, White America is not prepared to admit that double standards exist for African Americans. While discussing this topic with friends over the holidays several examples were highlighted during our discussion. Below are the examples. I ask you to draws you own conclusions.

In 2005 one of the most devastating storms in history pummeled New Orleans, her name, Hurricane Katrina. Many lives were lost as a result of this powerful storm. The images displayed on television were horrific. During our conversation many of my friends reminded me of how reporters and television analyst repeatedly called the displaced “refugees.” As they called them refugees that only showed pictures and images of African Americans. Powerful. How could these people be refugees in their own country? The insensitivity of white reporters toward African Americans was clearly evident and spoke to what was in their subconscious minds about African Americans. Katrina permanently displaced many African-American families. The after effect of Katrina can still be seen in 2012.

Now let’s take a look at the last massive storm, Sandy. Sandy’s fury disrupted the lives of many in the Northeast. Sandy’s displaced families and many fatalities happened. The difference between Katrina and Sandy was the response as well as the media coverage. Derogatory language was not used to describe those who lost their homes. They were not called “refugees” or “looters” as the African Americans were called during hurricane Katrina. The government reacted faster than they did in 2005. One could say the difference in the administrations was the reason but my friends beg to differ. My friends reminded me of the warnings provided by the National Weather Service to the White House. No response. My friends contend that if more residents in New Orleans were Caucasian the government would have reacted sooner rather than later.

Let’s take a look at another example. Again, it is up to you to draw you won conclusion. In 2011 the University of Pittsburgh hired African-American Michael Haywood to serve as the head coach of their football program. Haywood possessed all of the credentials to serve as head coach and was mentored by some legendary college coaches. He had the “pedigree” to be a good coach. Prior to the start of the season Haywood was arrested for domestic violence. The day after his arrest he was fired. They did not wait for a conviction. His name has not been mentioned for any other college head coaching openings.

Now let’s contrast that to Bobby Petrino. Petrino was head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. After the 2011season, while riding his motorcycle, with a passenger on back, he wrecked. It was discovered that his passenger was his young lover not his wife. His younger lover was twenty six years his junior. It was also discovered that he hired her to work for the university. Petrino had a reputation for burning bridges and lying to employees. The Razorbacks fired Petrino after an investigation. Petrino indicated that he needed to restore his relationship with his family. In December 2012 Petrino was named head coach of the Western Kentucky football program. The difference between Coach Haywood and Coach Petrino is one is African-American and the other is Caucasian. Very Interesting.

I hope that you take the time to research the examples in depth. I hope that you objectively review the facts and the differences in the examples provided above. To my friends and I it is clear, double standards truly exist however do not let my conclusion prevent you from performing your due diligence.

It is for you to decide. Are double standards a myth or reality?

Terry Jackson, holds a Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational Change.  He is a member of and managing partner for WEpiphany.


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