Thursday, December 01, 2011

Chris Bortz's Parting Shot

Man, oh man, oh man.

So, I'm no longer an intern at Landor Associates, which is the coolest place I've ever worked, despite the usual idiocy and self-esteem wreckage that comes with being one of a very few black people in a workplace so white that, when they give a rare talk about diversity, you can only shake your head and laugh bitterly. It's like "The Office" only not as funny because you're living it.

I'm now a part-time employee for a music store but, in keeping with DebLite policy, I never name who I'm currently employed with, only previous employers and then usually when they piss me off enough to name names *cough*PowerNetGlobal*cough*.

So, since I'm working part time and don't have to be at work until the delicious hour of 12 Noon - I was flipping channels late into the morning news shows when I flipped past Chris Bortz on the local FOX broadcast.

I was particularly amused because they introduced him as "Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Bortz" which he would only be for another 24 hours. The little round mustached interviewer announced his guest in a tone that was a combination of respect and regret that made me giggle. If he's going to miss Chris Bortz, more power to him, but I sure won't.

So in a fit of, "Hell, I've got to hear this," I parked it in my mom's recliner and sat back to hear what Shortzy Bortzy had to say on his way out the door.

Little did I expect to be whooping in agreeance, raising my fist in the air "Whoop that Trick" style. Even so, what Chris Bortz had to say at this 11th hour and 59 minutes was too much, too little, too pathetically late.

Little mustached interviewer guy started talking about Chiquita leaving which they were only too glad to do as soon as they could be assure that Carl Lindner was dead buried and cold in the ground.

History Lesson: Chiquita benefitted from Linder's protection through one of the worst "we committed mass murder but rich guy's so waaaay gonna cover for us" scandals to hit America in a long time and it all happened right here in little old Cincinnati, Ohio.

The fallout from that scandal ruined the Cincinnati Enquirer and turned it from a decent, if not blatantly conservative, newspaper into the mostly advertisement-disguised-as-news rag that it is today because of some agreement that the Enquirer was never to disparage Linder or his "business associates" again. It would be funny if it wasn't so sad, but with a guy like Linder, the only people who weren't his "business associates" were people who weren't in business at all. And what's a newspaper if it can't report the bad things people do?

Keeping that bit of history in mind it's no wonder that, with Linder gone, Chiquita wants to high-tail it out of town. The Enquirer, having swung so far to one side of the pendulum and dropped back to the bottom so fast it hurt, it's just the law of physics that they can only be on the upswing lately even if they have Gannet's thumb impeding their progress. There has to be an old score to settle there, but now that I think about it, they'll probably let sleeping dogs lie because the Enquirer really only has a chance of ever being a better paper with both Linder and Chiquita gone.

Which brings me back to Chris Bortz.

Americans have become bitterly used to the fact that large corporations hop from city to city, state to state and now contintent to continent based on whichever governement dazzles them them with the best "package" or "incentives" to move some business to their locale. Trying to make a living in America is like perpetually replaying that one scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" where George Bialey talks his friend into moving his up and coming plastics factory to their old hometown. Another company had pulled up stakes and that left a lot of people in Bedford Falls out of work. Thanks to the luck of George's chance conversation with his old school chum, those people will have a chance at decent jobs again. Of course this doesn't hurt George any either, because over half of those same people have mortgages with his bank.

So with Chiquita leaving, Cincinnati is gonna be left scrambling to find a business big enough to fill those shoes. Little mustached guy mentioned that Sears may be considering a move here which is great for us, but damn, what about Chicago and the workers there? Have we reached a point where we're canibalizing jobs in America? That in order for one area to have a chance at a few hundred jobs we have to put another areas workers out of work? I guess this just underscores what we already know with millions out of work: there are simply not enough jobs to go around.

But Chris Bortz stated that Chiquita had been offered the best "package" we could come up with to keep them here. Unfortunately the truth of the matter was that not only could they get a better deal elsewhere but it was a fact that Chiquita had advised Cincinnati years ago that Cincinnati is not a welcoming enviornment for Spanish speaking people.

Needless to say I was floored.

Chris Bortz of all people pointing out the obvious. Mr. "I Never Met an Occupy Protestor I Didn't Hate". He's walking out the door, putting on his coat and he stops and tosses back over his shoulder: By the way, Cincinnati is a pretty racist place.

And then he keeps on stepping.

Classic. And it would be funny if it weren't so true, espeically considering the source. So I'm not only going to co-sign Chris, I'm going to state something else: This is a problem that cannot be laid squarely at the feet of white people.

Don't get me wrong. Cincinnati is a great city to be white in. But I have heard other black people talk about Latinos in disparaging terms and even spout the old racist bs that "they need to learn to speak English."

We need to do some serious racial education in Cincinnati and not just the classic black versus white talks either. As The Joker once said: This town needs an enema.

It's long past time we cleaned out the festering, rancid bullshit that is the racist core of this town. Black folks and white folks need to quit pretending that Latinos don't exist unless we can't understand them in a checkout line. It's time white folks realized that white privilege is a crumbling pedestal and black folks realized that we're not the only oppressed people in the room.

Maybe, just maybe, if we're lucky, Chris Bortz's parting shot will hit home. It remains to be seen that with a new Cincinnati City Council that is majority black, if they will be able to make room in their hearts and minds for everyone to have a seat at the table- and the wisdom to let everyone have their voices heard.

Cincinnati is at a crossroads. The future of the city and the decisions about who we are as a part of human society are going to made in the next decade.

If we're lucky, this city will learn to welcome ideas and people that we haven't before. Otherwise we'll be left behind as a city that could have been something great if we hadn't held onto racist sentiments in a modern age.


Update: Here's the article from the local FOX Channel on the same interview I'm talkign about with VIDEO! Man....if only he'd said it sooner. I might have gotten some folks to vote for him.

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