Letter to President Obama
The following letter from an anonymous federal worker was forwarded to C4C to be shared with the public in hopes that by exposing the problem of the lack of managerial accountability for civil rights violations – a solution will be forthcoming.
March 18, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President,
I wrote to you four years ago almost to the day seeking your assistance. I thank you for the assistance you provided. While you passed my information on to the two federal agencies that held responsibility for the matter to investigate and seek a remedy, disappointingly help never came. There was no follow-up on your part and as with government contracting where there is no oversight nothing gets done, things fall through the cracks, and money gets wasted. Similarly and sadly nothing came of the assistance you tried to give. But again that is what happens when you pass things on – to federal agencies – to discriminators without follow-up. When there is no accountability, where there is no mandatory punishment for offenders, it gets swept under the carpet and nothing is ever done.
I realize that you are multi-cultural but the majority of the country views you as African American. And as the first African American president both sides expected you to do certain things. I understand why you have shied away from doing anything specific for African Americans because there are those, both republicans and democrats, that expected the first African American president to bend over backwards to change things for African Americans, to turn half the country black. That the first African American president, with the stroke of a pen, was going to try and wipe away 400 years of oppression. This was and is their fear and partly why they have fought you so hard in your attempts to pass legislation. It keeps you focused on other things. So I understand why you have chosen to step back, to not show or give the appearance of favoritism. However, in your attempt to prove them wrong and not show or give the appearance of favoritism, you have gone so far in the extreme opposite direction that you have completely and utterly shut out and ignored anything that has the title or appearance African American on it, so much so that you have in fact become one of the oppressors. You have gone so far to the other side that you are now discriminating against your own people. In doing so, in discriminating against your fellow African Americans, those within federal government agencies, those that are discriminating against us, feel they can do so with impunity because “the president doesn’t care, he hasn’t lifted a finger to do anything for African Americans. He’s put things in place for Hispanics, for women, but nothing specifically geared to address African American issues. Oh sure there is at least one ‘token’ black face in the line-up behind him when he does press opportunities but aside from Eric Holder at Justice what other African American has he appointed in his administration.” While you did not start this, we do look to you to stop it.
I am not trying to take away from your accomplishments. Being elected as the first African American President of the United States, not once but twice, is a monumental achievement; something we may never see again. So do something with it. While the Lily Ledbetter act helps women it is a hollow victory for African American women, especially those within the federal sector.
You have gone out of your way for the Gay and Lesbian and Hispanic communities. I am a firm believer that you cannot help who you love and that gay people were born that way. I am a firm believer of people coming to the United States for a better way of life but what does it say when my gay and lesbian co-workers can get benefits for their domestic partners but my severely disabled sister for whom I stand in loco parentis and is my dependent cannot be placed on my benefits nor may I utilize FMLA for her care? What does it say when the United States President bends over backwards for Hispanics so those that came here illegally and their children may stay, attend school, and obtain a better life but does nothing for African Americans that are still being oppressed and discriminated against within the federal sector? Immigrating to this country for a better life is great but in their cries of discrimination and unfair treatment the Hispanics forget one thing, they came here voluntarily, they chose to enter the country illegally, we African Americans, just 2-3 generations back in some cases were enslaved and brought here in chains. They cannot, and should not, compare their plight to ours.
Growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia you may or may not have experienced what a fair majority of African Americans in the CONUS have experienced. Coming from the south side of Chicago, I am sure the first lady and/or her mother can tell you that racism is still alive and well in the U.S. All I am asking is that you please address these matters. Please do not ignore us any longer. Please do not become part of the problem, a de facto discriminator, a discriminator by omission. Please do not turn a blind eye.
I am desperately trying not to turn this into that type of letter, but when is something going to be done to help those that are still suffering due to discrimination within the federal government?
I was informed that Dr. Sims had an opportunity to speak with you just before the 2008 election and approached this subject with you. During this conversation you informed him you had no intention of addressing discrimination within the federal government and that the status quo was fine with you. He has since passed on but I pray that I misunderstood what he said and it is untrue. However, actions speak louder than words, and everything you have done and failed to do thus far, points to and gives his words validity.
As you no longer have to worry about being reelected and only have to worry about your legacy, are you going to continue to discriminate against African Americans, to ignore those that look like you? Or are you going to do something about it? The young African American men look at you and see possibility in themselves. I would like to be able to tell my two nephews that have all the hopes and aspirations in the world, one who aspires to public office, “Yes, public service is a noble thing and a way to help people and right wrongs as evidenced by President Obama.” My middle nephew John’s friends actually call him ‘President John’ because they can see him going into politics. John sees what the federal agency my brother worked for has done to him and how it has destroyed their family. They look to the white house and see nothing being done.
How long will you allow this to go on? How long will you allow lives and families to be destroyed by bigoted and racist managers? We are your employees. We all ultimately work for you. Why do you not hold your managers accountable? Why do you not impose mandatory penalties on those managers and individuals who have been found guilty? When managers know they will face no mandated penalties for their actions they believe they may treat employees in any way shape or fashion with impunity. I challenge you to prove them wrong. Show them the true meaning of a full court press. Because at this point you are not even passing the ball in from the side court, get up off the bench and into the game.
I further implore you please do not let this continue, unleash no fear, give it the teeth that it needs to be truly effective. Give the EEOC the power it needs to enforce its rulings not just the power to make rulings. Address documented corruption within the EEOC, MSPB, and OSC. Clean house in federal agencies with high incidents of discrimination. Secretary Salazar has done nothing for the Department of Interior (DOI). The DOI and Department of Agriculture are the worst offenders within government. The DOI is so large one hand does not know what the other hand is doing and they have it set this way purposely. The former Mines and Mineral Service was just the tip of the iceberg and this comes from a former insider. I can give you instances where the agency knew certain managers had a history of discriminating or sexually harassing employees and did nothing, even when one manager attempted to rape a female subordinate in the office. All the agency did was work to keep it quiet and sweep it under the carpet.
I have documented medical conditions behind what was done to me and is still being done to me by your federal managers. Some of these things I will have to deal with for the rest of my life, where is the justice in that? Where is the justice for my severely disabled sister, daughter of a combat veteran, because these things have affected my ability to care for her?
You are in office for another four years – question is what you are going to do with those four years. For what will you be remembered? I would hope you will be remembered for trying to help all people and all races, not just those that do not look like you.
[Named Withheld] A Federal Worker
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