"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Do Not Pre-Judge Chief Sherman George

September 13th, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

St. Louis Metro Sentinel:

Too often, the process for judging a person is breached by the major media, just for trying to be number one in the media or trying to influence those who follow the media. In particular, it appears that when a Black man attains a position of prominence, such as Fire Chief Sherman George, the media tries to pre-judge him and put him in a bad light. On this page is the full text of the letter that Chief George, through his lawyer, sent to City Hall that outlines his position on filling key and sensitive positions within the city’s fire department. Even though Chief George may deep down in his heart, have a reluctance to act swiftly in filling key positions within the fire department, he has never violated the law or the spirit of the law.

Chief George was appointed by the former Mayor Clarence Harmon, who himself is Black and made George the city’s first African American fire chief. As you know, the city’s fire department has had a long and sometimes bitter history of racism, between Black and White firemen. And, the issue of testing has always been a very delicate issue within the department, because some years ago, there was a scandal within the department that indicated some firefighters, mostly White has copies of tests and for years, used them to have unfair advantage over Black firefighters. It appears that when the Black firefighters got copies of the tests, then it was leaked to the media and the tests were thrown out. Well, still there is an issue of whether the tests now being used, within the department are biased or fair to everyone. Recently, the city’s top personnel person threw out the entrance examines used to hire new recruits, it appears that about 80% of the people taking the tests flunked.

We hope that Chief George and Mayor Slay can workout their differences and not allow their differences to be resolved in the media. Too often, people of color have been tried in the major media, because the minority press such as newspapers do not have the frequency or influence to counter accusations made against people of color or minorities. We do not believe the issue between George and Slay is a racial one, but the major media can slant the news and those who read, view or listen to the major media, can come away with the attitude that George is violating the law, because he is Black and does not want to promote qualified Whites and that is far from the truth. One should not listen to idle talk and should got beyond the break news breaks on television or slanted news articles or short radio blobs that are merely one’ s opinion and sometimes not the truth.

We wish Chief George the best in trying to do his job and hope that he is not pressured into losing his job or being removed from office. Chief George has literally done every job within the fire department and knows his job well; the media should report the news and not manufacture it.

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Tags: Mayor Frances Slay · St. Louis

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