A federal jury awarded a white man $150,000 in a reverse racial discrimination lawsuit Wednesday.
Mark Pasternak, who is white, said he was dismissed from his state job helping troubled youths because he could not tolerate being called names like “cracker,” “polack” and “stupid white boy.”
A seven-member all-white jury found that Tommy Baines, who is black, discriminated against Pasternak and created a hostile work environment.
I have many thoughts on this….a few which are:
1. No one – including white people should have to tolerate racial slurs.
2. On a whole, racial slurs against white people (specifically white males) when looked at in context of the history of oppression against people of color, do not hold the same weight as a racial slur against a person of color in regard to power and prejudice.
3. I question the ALL WHITE jury, just as I would question an ALL BLACK jury.
4. $150,000 in comparison to the person’s salary seems fair based upon the time they could not work due to the job conditions.
5. The settlement does make you think about how the imbalance of power seems to still be apparent even in a racial case when compared to settlements from Nike and Target and the paltry sums that were given out to African Americans in the cases. In a way when juxtaposed together one says “If you are black you get next to nothing in a racial discrimination suit”, but “If you are white, you deserve more money.”
And remember – this isn’t saying the person shouldn’t have gotten the settlement that they did, or that it was the wrong settlement – but it sheds A LOT OF LIGHT on how so many things are still unequal for persons of color in our country.