Wednesday, November 28, 2007

City yanks diversity video

Denver has pulled a diversity training video for city workers that an employee complained portrayed white males as "drooling, stupid fools." The News:
Denver is shelving a diversity-training video that portrays a white man as the sole racist, sexist and homophobe among a cast of blacks, Hispanics and women.

The decision to pull the video, Laughing Matters - Think About It, comes after Dennis Supple, a white man who works for the city, complained that it was racist and violated his civil rights

The video about inappropriate humor in the workplace follows the antics of a bumbling bigot who is a white, blue-collar worker.

"Make way! She's backing up!" the actor yells when an overweight woman's pager goes off. "Hey, somebody get the license plate of that truck!"

"It's not a fair portrayal of white male trades workers," said Supple, a heating, ventilating and air-conditioning mechanic. "This is just like treating white male trades workers like Stepin Fetchit, like we're all a bunch of drooling, stupid fools. Well, that's not the case."

Councilman Charlie Brown objected to the video after he was contacted by Supple, who lives in his district. . . .

Brown said that Supple and other white men had to sit through a diversity training class with their colleagues staring at them and thinking "you're the cause of all evil."

"We all have these issues - all races do - and that's not reflected in the video," he said.

Kathy Maloney, a spokeswoman for the Career Service Authority, said last week that the city was going to continue showing the video until a new one was shot next year or in 2009.

"Following (an article in the Rocky Mountain News), we've had a number of other employees now voice their concerns and actively engage us, wanting to participate in the re-creation of this video. And, of course, we encourage that dialogue," she said. The city will "suspend the use of the video" until employees have a chance to weigh in at an upcoming summit, she said.

Supple said he is happy that the city pulled the video. "That's half of what I wanted," he said.

"The other half - and I still want this - is for them to apologize to all the white male trades workers who had to watch the video."

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