Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Skin in the game

It's disheartening that for the most part, the only people who fight discrimination are those with skin in the game. I've got two examples for you. Here's the first:
The city's historic settlement of a long-running case alleging discrimination in FDNY hiring practices will pay $98 million in back pay and benefits to minority firefighter hopefuls. 
The settlement represents the latest decision by Mayor de Blasio to change course and end a legal controversy stemming from the Bloomberg administration. 
It's great that this finally happened. But a racist mayor had to be replaced by a white guy with an African-American wife and children of color before this could happen. Skin in the game. It's not surprising that de Blasio gets it. I'm sure his son was frisked once or twice by the police. After all, he's not white.
And then there's this
At a White House ceremony, President Obama bestowed the Medal of Honor on the soldiers - most of them Jewish, black or Hispanic — including Pfc. Leonard Kravitz, of Brooklyn, an uncle of Grammy-winner Lenny Kravitz.

A government review concluded the soldiers — including another New Yorker, Sgt. Alfred Nietzel of Queens — were denied Medal of Honor years ago because of bias.
No white president ever took care of this oversight. But our African-American president righted the ship at the first opportunity. That it happened is great. But in both of these instances, it's easy to see the operative principle: unless they have skin in the game, they don't care. 

This makes me sick. Are people so damn craven that they're incapable of feeling empathy for anyone who doesn't look like them? Apparently the answer is yes.