Futility of “Colorblindness” and Bill Maher: The Attempt to Use the First Amendment as a Cover for Racial Abuse; the Never-Ending Pain (and Seeming Persistence) of the N-Word

In a few seconds on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher show, the sad reality of U.S. culture was laid bare for all to see. First, a white man, Bill Maher, felt comfortable enough to casually use the N-word. Then, on top of that, a United States Senator, Benjamin Sasse (R-Nebraska), with black constituents, tacitly agreed with Bill Maher’s use of the N-word, saying absolutely nothing.

Senator Sasse wrote later he was surprised by the statement and that was the reason for his silence. But surely no one in who lives in the United States is unfamiliar with the N-word and its meaning. So, I do not accept Senator Sasse’s explanation. (Would he be that passive if someone he knows was insulted? Only he knows, but I suspect the answer is no.)


Note:  Moreover, Senator Sasse stated he is a “First Amendment absolutist,” which apparently means that racial abusive language is supposed to be protected. In contrast, in the United Kingdom, racial abuse is a criminal offense. This situation shows that the United States still has a long way to go in resolving its moral failings and inhumanity due to chattel slavery. Attempting to force targets of racial abuse to accept racial abuse as licit will ultimately lead to disaster.


CO5qHH8U8AAE0RD
Virginia Slave Law, 1705

I have to say I was surprised by the anger towards use of the N-word by Maher, as hip-hop music sung by black music artists is often filled with extreme and excessive use of the N-word (and, at times, vulgar language). This music is popular and is sold internationally. So, people learning English will pick up language from U.S. chattel slavery. This situation should be held as absolutely disgusting, but it is not. The United States will have to reckon with its practice of chattel slavery and Jim Crow before liberally throwing this inhuman word around–by people like Maher and, indeed, anyone else.

As the blog stated in 2014–

With this word and the bloody context surrounding and involving it

  • no young person,
  • no singer,
  • no newspaper,
  • no journalist,
  • no agent provocateur,
  • no athlete,
  • no actor

nobody–can sanitize (or dare sanction the use of) this ugly word! There must be a full accounting of the blood spilled and denied humanity of Black people first (current time included). Once that is done, then the society will be able to take on the word, which if the corrective action would have been placed into effect, the word would disappear from the lexicon.

A few seconds in a TV show in 2017 captured the failure of the United States to reckon with its living legacy of chattel slavery. It has distorted the culture of the United States in harmful ways.

Note: After this post was published, the blog became aware of Ice Cube’s comment to Maher about the ownership of the n-word. The blog’s response is the same–the word is vile and must be removed from music lyrics sold for general consumption.

 

 

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Ryan Lochte: When Wealth, Athletic Ability, Nationality, Race, and Gender Blurs Accountability–His Story of Armed Robbery Collapsed; Teammates Held in Brazil to Provide Statements, while Lochte Is in the United States

Ryan Lochte, 32, competed as a swimmer in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After completing his events, however, he became involved in an incident outside of the Olympic Village.

On Sunday August 14, 2016, Lochte stated that he had property taken at gunpoint in an interview with NBC’s Billy Bush. Present with Lochte were U.S. Olympic teammates Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger, and James Feigen. Lochte continued his account, with some changed details, in an interview with Matt Lauer on August 18 (http://www.today.com/news/ryan-lochte-defends-rio-robbery-account-matt-lauer-we-wouldn-t101973).

Lochte also posted a statement on his Instagram account.

Brazilian authorities conducted an investigation and found that the facts did not accord with Lochte’s version of events. (In addition, Brazilian police recommended that the prosecutor file charges against Lochte and Feigen (the elder men of the four) for filing a false police report of a crime.)


[Update (August 19, 2016): Ryan Lochte offers a so-called apology second explanation for the incident in Brazil. (Media in the United States are far too lenient (yet also way too inclusive) with the word “apology.” It’s shameful. Lochte said he was robbed of his property at gunpoint with NBC’s Billy Bush on Sunday August 14, 2016. This so-called statement is unacceptable.)

Separately, as reported in the Washington Post, James Feigen will make a payment of $10,800 to a Brazilian charity, Instituto Reação (in Portuguese), and will then be free to leave Brazil.]


Seeming to want to refocus attention on the Olympic Games, a spokesman for the International Olympic Committee, Mario Andrada, asked for people to consider the event an occurrence of error.

“These kids tried to have fun, they tried to represent their country to the best of their abilities,” Andrada said. “They competed under gigantic pressure. Let’s give these kids a break. They had fun, they made a mistake, life goes on.”

Kids? It is necessary to mention the ages of the adult athletes involved:

Name Age Net Worth
Ryan Lochte 32 (3-Aug-84) (estimated net worth of $3 million)
Gunnar Bentz 20 (3-Jan-96)
Jack Conger 21 (26-Sept-94)
James Feigen 26 (26-Sept-89)

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The swimmers involved are young adults, not children. In addition, the statement gives a broad latitude to excuse  misbehavior by athletes. That Lochte left his teammates to carry the weight of this situation shows his unwillingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions and failure to support his friends/fellow teammates. (Also, one must consider whether an equivalent light hand would be offered to nonwhite athletes (or athletes from non-wealthy nations).)

All is not lost if Lochte sorts out and repairs this unfortunate event, including paying for damages to the gasoline station and making amends with the authorities of the Olympic host city of Rio de Janeiro. If not, then Lochte has lost my respect.

[Author’s Note: The other three seem to have been caught up in this cover-up situation and left to fend for themselves. I do believe that a second chance is merited (for these 3). If only this mercy were universally provided to all human beings who make mistakes, the world would be a much better place.)]

Of note: Amini Fonua, swimmer and Olympic athlete from Tonga, posted a tweet in support of Feigen.

Futility of “Colorblindness” and Fareed Zakaria: In His Program “Why They Hate Us?” Zakaria Defends Muslims at the Expense of Black People; Zakaria, Thus, Is a Dangerous Hypocrite

I distrust percentages stated alone, especially those drawn from the malleable area of statistics, unless those percentages are surrounded by the raw numeric data from which they are derived. The abstract nature of percentages by themselves without solid context leads to problems.

Such problems are magnified when they involve racial issues in the United States. The acceptability of ruining black people for just being black has long been present in the culture of the United States of America. So, the sloppiness of Fareed Zakaria’s reporting in this area cannot be accepted. In defending his Muslim people, he casually and brutally attacked black people, a practice that is well established in the practice of white supremacy.

Only in his case, Zakaria delivered the punch and then cynically tried to apply a soothing balm of explanation that one cannot rabidly hate the entire group of which he accused 50% of the members of being murderers. This is simply beneath dignity, and I cannot accept Zakaria’s work as being valid ever again.

Here is Zakaria’s quotation from his program “Why They Hate Us?”:

But here’s another way to think about this. In America, African-Americans make up about 13% of the population, yet they comprise about 50% of homicide offenders, according to a Justice Department study. Now we understand — I hope we understand — that when we see a black man on the street, we cannot and must not treat him as a likely criminal. It would be dehumanizing, unfair and racist. In America, of all places, people should be treated as individuals and not as stereotypes from a racial, ethnic or religious group. And remember, the Bangladeshi cabdriver who drives you to the airport has nothing, nothing to do with ISIS, even though he is also a Muslim.

 

United States (population: 308,745,538) (2010 Census)

Race Percentage of population Number
White 72.4% 223,553,265
Black 12.6 38,929,319
Native American 0.7 540,013
Asian 4.8 14,674,252

The issue I have is the casual implication that Zakaria presents as fact and then attempts to explain and defend–in so many words, even though I implied that 19 million black people commit murder, you the viewer cannot therefore hate all black people. This quotation is simply sloppy reporting, factually incorrect, cowardly, and categorically unacceptable.

For an example, here are the number for murders in 2013 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Murder
Race, Ethnicity, and Sex of Victim by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex of Offender, 2013
[Single victim/single offender]
Race of victim      Total Race of offender Sex of offender Ethnicity of offender1
White Black or

African

American

Other1 Unknown Male Female Unknown Hispanic

or Latino

Not

Hispanic

or Latino

Unknown
White 3,005 2,509 409 49 38 2,661 306 38 532 945 1,528
Black or African American 2,491 189 2,245 20 37 2,217 237 37 76 807 1,608
Other race2 159 32 27 96 4 142 13 4 10 63 86
Unknown race 68 25 17 3 23 38 7 23 3 14 51

The truth is only a minuscule subset of the total black population commit homicide (2,491/38,929,319=0.0001 ). Whites commit homicide also (something that Zakaria does not even state for context–the number is similarly small based on population); moreover, when Dylann Roof killed (note: as of the date of this post, Roof is still awaiting trial) 9 people in Charleston, South Carolina, no one painted the entire white population of the United States as a homicidal, bloodthirsty group of people.

Zakaria’s failure in the midst of defending his own people from broad-brush attacks has not gone unnoticed; I am extremely disappointed in his sloppy work product in failing to carefully craft every element of his reporting. He has recklessly left black people exposed to further unfair discrimination; it is disgustingly unacceptable.

Mount St. Mary’s University (Md.): Simon Newman’s Proposal for Student Retention Numbers is Inhuman and Fails to Incorporate the Teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church

The Lord, Jesus Christ (Matthew 9: 9-13) Simon P. Newman, president, Mount St. Mary’s University, Md. His Holiness, Pope Francis
As Jesus passed on from there,d he saw a man named Matthew* sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.

 

10 While he was at table in his house,* many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.e

 

11 The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher* eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

 

12 He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.*

 

13 Go and learn the meaning of the words,f ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’* I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

 

 

 

In the midst of discussion of a proposal to dismiss Mount St. Mary’s University students in order to improve retention rates, the Mount St. Mary’s College student newspaper reported that Newman made the following statement.

 

According to Murry, during the course of the conversation, Newman said, “This is hard for you because you think of the students as cuddly bunnies, but you can’t.  You just have to drown the bunnies…put a Glock to their heads.”

 

 

 

At a joint session of Congress in 2015, His Holiness, Pope Francis made the following statement while discussing the refugee crisis.

 

“Let us remember the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do onto you” (Mt 7:12).

 

The Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated.   Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves.   In a word if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. The Golden Rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development.” (Emphasis, the blog author.)

[Update Mar. 1, 2016: Simon Newman, now former president of Mount St. Mary’s University (Md.), submitted his resignation on Feb. 29, 2016. The Mount’s board named an acting president, Karl Einolf, dean of the Richard J. Bolte Sr. School of Business, according to the New York Times.]

[Update Feb. 9, 2016: According to the Baltimore Sun (see also the Washington Post), Mount St. Mary’s University fired Professor Edward Egan and tenured Associate Professor Thane Naberhaus. President Newman asked for the Provost to step down from the position of Provost, although he will remain on the faculty. Newman was said to have “apologized” (an often misused word), but it is not sincere if the action is to fire or demote those who disagree with his (flawed) student retention proposal. Failure to listen to the Holy Spirit is serious; no mere apology is enough without providing detailed reasons for such apology and the remedial actions that will occur by Newman.]

The Washington Post, following publication of a story from the student newspaper at Mount St. Mary’s University (Mount), a small university in Maryland, reported on the proposal from the university president, Simon Newman. Newman’s proposal was to dismiss 20-25 first-year students, who seemed to indicate difficulty on a university provided survey–a mere six weeks into their first semester. The consequence of being expelled as a result of their answers was not disclosed to the student respondents.

There was an objection to this proposal, which was not ultimately instituted. However, in response to the objections to the proposal, Newman, a former private equity chief executive officer at Cornerstone Management Group and managing partner at JP Capital Partners, wrote the following:

“Amid a conversation about student retention this fall, the president of Mount St. Mary’s University told some professors that they need to stop thinking of freshmen as “cuddly bunnies,” and said: “You just have to drown the bunnies … put a Glock to their heads.””

Newman, according to a Baltimore Sun article, referred to himself as a devout Catholic. So, it was to my dismay, disappointment, and disgust that the teachings of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and of His Church, had absolutely no bearing in Newman’s statements. Jesus welcomed and loved the poor, the sick, and sinners. (Matthew 9: 9-13) At the Mount, the institution is called to educate those desiring increased knowledge and firming their humanity through education and self-development. There is a duty to care for the humanity admitted to the institution. (See Pope Francis’ remarks, above) (If indeed the student runs into difficulty, assistance should be provided with the goal of ensuring that the student participates fully in the process. A secret implementation of a plan to cull students does not fit the requirement.)

Newman’s statement revealed blatant inhumanity and abuse of power, which led to the opposition and the release of information to the student newspaper. Treating students as a wagon of money and viewing the university’s goal as a mechanism to take the money from the student, while refusing to provide any education benefit, is fraudulent and a terrible betrayal of trust.

Further, for Newman and others to defend the plan as a means to improve student retention numbers is boggling, as Newman’s proposal is contrary to the teachings of Jesus and His Church. Newman’s proposal needed to be fully disclosed to all those who would be affected and permitting open, full communication and agreement before any implementation (again, the proposal was not implemented in fact).

Such a process did not occur, and Newman’s and the Mount’s board statements bemoaning the disclosure and attacking those who revealed the information is disappointing yet revealing. Especially, since the teachings of Jesus and of His Church are totally ignored by Newman at an institution that should be an example to the People!

Upon reading this article, I was surprised that I was seeing Newman propose a form of rank and yank. Dick Grote uses similar justification to defend the firing of those placed into a low ranking as a result of a secret managerial meeting. [Author’s note: Grote’s daring to place himself in the position of God (second paragraph, first sentence), is jarring, the statement written is an incorrect, biased value statement, and is unacceptable.]

Forced ranking is a subject that makes many top managers cringe. “I believe that the reason for the great reluctance about talking about forced ranking,” says Dick Grote, founder and head of Grote Consulting Corporation in Addison, Texas, “is that in our culture we have a bone-deep belief in egalitarianism. That all people are essentially the same. And one of the great advantages of forced ranking is that it requires reluctant managers to actually identify the most and the least talented members of the work group.”

That’s a necessity because “all God’s children are not the same,” Grote adds. “And that is treated as management’s dirty little secret.” Grote is one of the country’s foremost advocates of the rating system and has helped implement it at half a dozen or so large companies, which he is contractually forbidden to name. “The benefits of forced rating, intelligently and ethically conducted, are numerous,” he wrote recently in an article published by the Conference Board. “More than any other process, the system creates and sustains a high-performance, high-talent culture.” “

As covered in many blog posts, the expectation of perfection is not applicable to the management playing games with employee livelihoods. It is with the same dismay, disappointment, and disgust that I have for Grote’s inhumane program that I viewed Newman’s statements. It is stunning the similarity of their proposals, but the application of this rank-and-yank process in a Church-inspired institution that must value human life is galling and must be called out and rejected completely.

[Author’s note: Newman provided a response to the Washington Post, but he did not address his statements as discussed in the Mount’s student newspaper or the Post, so I do not consider them responsive. All proposals at the Mount must be in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church. Newman does not begin to satisfy this reality. (Consider, carefully,  Matthew 23: 1-36.)]

In closing, please reflect on this Gospel passage.

Matthew 23: 1-12.

1a Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples,

2* saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.

3Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.

4b They tie up heavy burdens* [hard to carry] and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.

5* c All their works are performed to be seen. They widen their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels.

6* d They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,

7greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’

8* As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’ You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.

9Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven.

10Do not be called ‘Master’; you have but one master, the Messiah.

11e The greatest among you must be your servant.

12f Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

 

 

 

 

 

WMATA: Search under way for the Next General Manager of DC’s Metro System; Transit Authority Needs Dedicated Revenue Source

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is searching for another General Manager. Finalists from an initial search were released because of a difference of opinion of what type of General Manager (GM) WMATA should have–a “financial turnaround specialist” or a traditional transit executive. A transit executive would be preferable because (1) transit is a public service, not a profit-generating business, and (2) the system is responsible to the welfare of all human beings using or operating the system each day.

I am skeptical of any financial turnaround specialist because the true test for one was in 2008 during the United States financial crisis. None showed up (excepting the Obama Administration), and, thus, I do not expect any candidates for WMATA.

State Amount of Funding
(components are rounded; in millions of dollars)
FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013 FY 2014
Maryland 215.6 228.1 246.4 263.6 279.7
District of Columbia 201.6 214.15 233.3 249.1 271.7
Virginia 129.4 129.7 142.2 156.5 181.0
Subtotal subsidy 546.7 572 622 669.2 732.4
Debt service 27.5 48.7 48.7 37 33.0
Audit adj fy 2011 and 2012 -30.5
Total (budgeted) 574.2 620.7 670.7 706.2 734.9
Actual* [630.7] [722.51] [687.02] [711.10]
(6/30/10) (6/30/11) (6/30/12) (6/30/13)

The difficulty with deciding to take the GM job with WMATA remains the same as specified in a previous post. Primarily, WMATA still does not have a dedicated source of revenue. It is interesting that Maryland supports a financial turnaround specialist for WMATA, yet Maryland provides funds for Baltimore’s subway and light rail system. WMATA’s unique financial and political circumstances make WMATA a challenge, one most incumbents only keep the job for about 3-4 years, excepting Richard White. Even with the challenges, there should be transit executives willing to accept the GM job, well aware of the high stakes (and potentially short-term nature) of the job.

Passenger Fares and Parking Fees
(rounded; in millions of dollars)
FY 2010 FY 2011 FY 2012 FY 2013
Budgeted 702.7 789.5 767.7 874.0
Actual* 727.8 (6/30/10) 804.5 (6/30/11) 816.7 (6/30/12) 856.8 (6/30/13)
*Actual amount comes from Metro’s statement of revenues, expenses, and changes in net assets. This statement does not identify parking fee revenue; I used the total revenue amount in the table.

The financial statements are not yet available for 2014, and the ridership numbers are estimated for 2013. However, I have updated information for WMATA as it was available at the time of this post.

Ridership
(in number of trips)
2010 2011 2012 2013
Rail Bus Rail Bus Rail Bus Rail Bus
217,219,146 123,670,000 217,052,000 124,173,000 212,188,640 131,780,990 209,000,000* 136,000,000*
* Estimated
Source: Metro Facts.

Interesting Background Facts (source: Metro Facts 2014)

Metrorail system age: 39

Organizational Structure of Metro (Metro Compact Article III)

[Four legislative bodies–Congress (federal government), D.C. City Council, Md. state legislature (Montgomery and Prince George’s), Va. state legislature (Arlington, Fairfax, and Alexandria) (subsidy funding)]

Board of Directors (8 members selected from each jurisdiction [federal government, District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia]) [Note:  There are 8 alternates.]

Officers (General Manager, Secretary, Treasurer, Comptroller and General Counsel and such other officers as the Board may provide.)

Metrobus

328 routes (breakdown by jurisdiction not available)

Metrorail stations (by state)

Total: 91

District of Columbia: 40 (38.3 miles of track)

Maryland: 26 (Prince George’s County (15) and Montgomery County (11)) (38.31 miles) [Note: The state of Maryland operates its own subway in Baltimore, Md.]

Virginia: 25 (Arlington County (11), Fairfax County (11), and the City of Alexandria (3)) (41.47 miles)

 

Dick Grote: Forced Ranking Procedures Empowers Managers to Take Advantage of Subordinates; Exemplifed in Grote’s Document titled “Performance Appraisal: Solving Toughest Challenges”

Dick Grote advocates for rampant abuse of employees in the forced-ranking process. Specifically, employees are responsible for doing the manager’s job of supervision and of satisfying the whims of their supervisor, and managers are merely expected to pass judgment on their subordinates and then presumably to sit in judgment at the calibration meeting.

Bucket (rank) Percentage [“vitality curve”] (amounts can be adjusted) Effect
A 20 Lavish rewards, encouragement
B 70 Little to paltry increase
C 10 Pressure to quit, firing

At this calibration meeting, some of the beleaguered employees will then be selected for termination, abused during an “improvement period,” then likely fired. It seems that the best method for targeted persons to respond to this abuse is silence after a blanket denial of all accusations.

Selected quotes from Dick Grote (2000), “Performance Appraisal: Solving the Toughest Challenges,” HR Magazine, July.

There are two themes of management abuse of authority in Grote’s advice, which is detailed in the following chart. [My comments are in brackets.]

Abuse of Authority Situation Grote Quote or Proposal (and Page Number)
Responsibility shifting
Distant subordinate “The mistake appraisers make in this case is to assume that it’s their job to figure out an answer to the question [how to review someone the manager does not see very often]. It’s not. Make it the subordinate’s job.” (page 2)
Technically superior subordinate The same idea carries to this issue as the distant subordinate–the technically superior subordinate is expected to develop a plan for reviewing. (page 3).In addition, a group assignment is proposed–teaching the manager how to assess their work. (page 3) [Author’s note: Should not the manager be expected to do this on the manager’s own? Because the manager will be the only voice at the calibration meeting, all of this “education” may well be for naught.]
Older, more-experienced subordinate “The best way to deal with the highly experienced individual is to get right to the point at the start of the appraisal discussion: ‘Frank, you’ve been through this drill many times before. Let’s not waste any time on small talk. How do you think your department compares with where it was last year?’ Then shut up and listen, and proceed as you would with anybody else.” (page 4)[The manager should be on top of the business (and not expect the subordinate to do management work on top of his or her other duties (without extra pay)). That is why the extra pay for management is being paid.]
Power and Control; Ambush
Highly compensated individual (situation where the subordinate earns more than the manager (commissions)) [Why would a commission-sales-compensated person need a performance review, especially when earning good commissions?]Regardless, advice is provided: “The answer is also classic: just do what needs to be done. The fact that his compensation structure is different from yours is irrelevant. He’s paid to peddle potatoes (among other things). You’re paid to manage his performance (among other things). Do your job.” (page 4)
Dealing with unrealistic expectations (1) No self appraisal, unless required by company policy. (page 4)(2) For good solid performers [A and B buckets], give the appraisal in advance. (page 4)

(3) “For non contributors [C bucket]–give appraisal (negative) to person in manager-scheduled meeting: “Instead, wait until the person is actually sitting in your office before you give her the evaluation to read. You need to break the bad news face-to-face at the exact moment you’re going to discuss it. Forewarned is forearmed–and you don’t want to forearm a marginal performer.”

[This is an institutionally sanctioned ambush, which is totally unfair, especially since the calibration meeting is conducted in secret.]

Coping with defensiveness [When giving bad review and the response is bad.] “To start, do what every smart manager has learned to do. Put a box of tissues in your desk drawer. If tears start to flow, simply pull it out, put it down, look away for ten seconds or so, and then get back to the matter at hand.” (page 5)Moreover, Grote suggests when a rater faces ratee’s “defensiveness” (page 6)–

  • Allow the ratee to vent and listen to what is said.
  • Agree with the ratee’s right to have his or her own point of view.
  • Restate the ratee’s position, using pauses liberally.

Nowhere in this approach is the place where the rater expected to make any adjustments; therefore, this so-called listening is useless to the ratee. Indeed, the rating is fixed once established in the calibration meeting. [This is manipulation masquerading as managerial authority; companies that use forced ranking must be exposed.]

Dealing with discussion difficulties Grote’s general idea is that the rater accuses and the ratee responds to the accusations. (See page 7.) Should the ratee not respond, this action breaks the expected pattern Grote has established. Thus, Grote recommends asking a question then waiting. Should the ratee maintain his or her silence, Grote suggests repeating the question, and, if that does not work, conclude the meeting and define “insubordination” [?] to the ratee.[This is another example of the rampant abuse of authority present within forced distribution. The manager plans an ambush on the so-called C-ranked person and not only is the manager supposed to control the conversation, the manager is supposed to control the ratee’s reactions as well, as if the ratee was property of the rater. This process is disgusting and unacceptable.]

Should the ratee (unwisely) offer an excuse for the poor rating (implicitly agreeing with it and the bad treatment that will follow for a C-ranked person), Grote advises to make the issue one of “personal responsibility” and turn to the ratee and ask the ratee how they will deal with the comment.

[This is manipulative, especially within the context provided in the document: deadlines changing in the middle of the project. Silent is the reason for the changing deadlines. The situation leaves me with a strong suspicion that it is the rater that created a “crisis” in order to down rate the ratee. Then, this same rater has the gall to make the ratee responsible for the rater’s whims. See the definition of “gaslighting.”]

Focus on choices In the case of a discussion that veers away from the offloading of blame on the targeted C-ranked person, Grote offers a way for the rater to dismiss and redirect the conversation. (See page 7)

  • Acknowledge the topic’s importance, then
  • Consign it to the nether world of irrelevancies, and
  • Return to the primary issue on your [the rater’s] agenda
Ultimate solution Grote suggests that the rater develop a clear core message to deliver to the ratee. The ratee is supposed to repeat this core message upon request of the rater [insulting and childish]. (See page 8.)

Federal Civil Service: Inspectors General of Federal Financial Regulatory Agencies Respond to Congressional Request for Information; IG Reports Vary in Investigatory Vigor

In late March 2014, Democrats of the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Financial Services requested that Inspectors General (IG) of the federal financial regulatory agencies provide a report about workplace discrimination occurring at each applicable agency. In addition, the letter from the committee Democrats requested a review of the role of the Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) at each federal financial regulatory agency.

The request followed an early March 2014 article in the trade magazine American Banker, in which it was reported that the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) had racial disparities in the execution of its staff performance evaluation program.

The table below presents the responses from the various IGs to the congressional request.

Federal Financial Agency Report Number Internet Link Comment
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau  Audit report 2015-MO-C-002  http://oig.federalreserve.gov/reports/cfpb-diversity-inclusion-mar2015.pdf American Banker article about racial disparities of CFPB staff evaluations.
Department of the Treasury, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency OIG-15-017 http://www.treasury.gov/about/organizational-structure/ig/Audit%20Reports%20and%20Testimonies/OIG-15-017.pdf
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Eval-15-001 http://www.fdicoig.gov/reports15/15-001EV.pdf
Federal Housing Finance Agency EVL-2015-003 http://fhfaoig.gov/Content/Files/EVL-2015-003.pdf
Federal Reserve Board  Audit report 2015-MO-B-006  http://oig.federalreserve.gov/reports/board-diversity-inclusion-mar2015.pdf  What is left out of the report is significant: Artis v. Bernanke (now Yellen). Also 12 U.S.C. 244 needs Congressional attention to ensure that Title 5 of the U.S. Code applies to the Board; the Board’s record-keeping on, and reporting of, its internal management is lax.
National Credit Union Administration OIG-14-09 http://www.ncua.gov/about/Leadership/CO/OIG/Documents/OIG201409EqualOpportunityDiversity.pdf Click for blog post on this report
Securities and Exchange Commission 528 http://www.sec.gov/oig/reportspubs/528.pdf Report is thorough, thoughtful, and well done.

[Note:  As of the initial date of this post (January 26, 2015), the IG for the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB) has not submitted reports. According to the FRB and CFPB IG work plan, these reports are due in in the first quarter of 2015. (Update: CFPB information added March 9, 2015; blog author added a post about the CFPB audit on March 18, 2015. Federal Reserve Board information added April 6, 2015; blog author added a post about the Board audit on April 13, 2015.)]

The reports vary in investigatory vigor; this variance is disappointing–all reports on this matter must have an equally high amount of investigatory diligence. The Security and Exchange Commission’s IG was the only one that evaluated the responses from the agency and seeks to obtain substantive responses for areas in which the agency sought further time to provide a response.

Other IGs, for example, the IG for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, seemed to simply collect information and report what text was received. The IG for the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) mentioned the activity of the NCUA’s performance evaluation program (pay-for-performance style) but did not probe further to investigate how the performance evaluation worked and review it for compliance with equal opportunity laws and regulations, including the federal merit principles.