Dean’s blunt talk about race

“Everybody tends to hire people like themselves.” Neither Dean nor Jackson understands that who we consider “like ourselves” changes based on different situations and where we are in certain periods of life. The people “like us” may be defined by class, politics, gender, profession, hobbies and a variety of other criteria. Dean and Jackson also assume that the officially defined “races” are homogenous groups.

Dean’s blunt talk about race
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Columnist, 1/2/2004

HOWARD DEAN SAID, “I’m trying to gently call out the white population.” His genteel example was a story he tells to voters about how his chief of staff as governor of Vermont was always a woman. After two or three years, Dean noticed that she had a “matriarchy” in the office. When the chief of staff was going to hire a new person, Dean said, he told her, ” `I notice we have a gender imbalance in the office, and I wonder if you could find a man.’ She said it’s really hard to find a qualified man. I got everybody laughing about that.”

That is Dean’s icebreaker to get audiences to understand institutional racism. “The punch line of the story that it’s so hard to find a qualified man is everybody does it. Everybody tends to hire people like themselves. And I get them all nodding, including the African-Americans in the audience.”

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