WHY DON’T YOU WEAR MY SHOES.

YOU RECENTLY RAN A STORY ABOUT A FELLOW WHO LIVES IN PACIFIC GROVE CALIFORNIA….INTERESTING. FROM 1987 TO 1995 I TOO LIVED IN “P.G.” AS IT’S CALLED BY LOCALS. I WORKED FOR THE COUNTY OF MONTEREY AS A ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SPECIALIST (AKA: “HEALTH INSPECTOR”) AFTER SERVING IN THE ARMY AT THE FORMER FT. ORD IN MONTEREY…..HERE IS MY STORY. I WAS FIRST BASED IN THE MONTEREY OFFICE CONDUCTING HEALTH INSPECTIONS AND I HAD THE “COASTAL REGION” (CARMEL, P.G., PEEBLE BEACH, AND THE HIGHWAY 1 CORRIDOR…..YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS RIGHT ?…..”MONEY LAND / RICH WHITE FOLKS”) AS MY DISTRICT TO PATROL.

I TOO, BACK THEN JUST LIKE MR. QUARLES IS UNDERGOING “TODAY”….20 YEARS LATER, UNDERWENT A PLETHORA OF HAVING INDIVIDUALS SCARED OF ME (I LIVED 4 HOUSES UP 16TH STREET FROM “LOVERS POINT”), PEOPEL WOULD ASK ME IF I LIVED AROUND HERE AND WHERE, THE POLICE WOULD STOP ME AT TIMES WHEN WALKING TO GET GROCERIES AT THE LOCAL NOBHILL STORE NEAR THE MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM, RESTAURANTS DIDN’T BELIEVE ME THAT “I” WAS THE HEALTH INSPECTOR HERE TO INSPECT “THEM” (JUST HOW COULD THAT BE) THEY WANTED TO SEE MORE THAN MY COUNTY I.D. AND BADGE (I HAD TO AND WOULD SOMETHIMES SHOW THEM MY COUNTY CAR WITH THE COUNTY’S INSIGNIA ON THE DOORS AND THE “E” PLATES MY VEHICLE HAD), COULD HOLD A DUAL UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AND BE IN GRADUATE SCHOOL AT CSU: SAN JOSE CONCURRENTLY AND HOLD A FULL-TIME JOB…..AND YES, BE DATING / LIVING WITH A WHITE WOMAN WHO WAS THE VICE PRESIDENT OF HER BANK’S SBA DIVISION IN SALINAS, A NEARBY CITY.

I TOO EXPERIENCED OUTRIGHT AND BLATANT RACISM, DISCRIMINATION AND BIGOTRY FROM “SO CALLED WELL EDUCATED, AND WELL MEANINGFULL “UPSTANDING” CITIZENS. AT TIMES WHEN I WALKED DOWN THE P.G. IN THE EVENING HOURS AND WENT TO THE LITTLE BOOK STORE THERE IN P.G. TO READ AND RELAX AFTER WORK, IF COPS CAME IN….AND THEY DID, THEY WOULD SAY HI AND THEN GIVE ME THE RUN-DOWN (WHERE ARE YOU FROM, WHERE DO YOU LIVE AND WORK, WHATS YOUR NAME AND AGE…..I AM NOT KIDDING OR MAKING THIS UP), ETC.. ABOUT THREE WEEKS LATER, I WAS “PULLED” FROM THE MONTEREY OFFICE AND GIVEN THE SECOND MOST EXPENSIVE DISTRICT WE REGULATED, SOUTH SALINAS. MY DISTRICT WAS GIVEN TO A BROWN SKINNED CHINESE CO-WORKER BROWNER THAN ME, EXCEPT HE WAS MORE ACCEPTING BEING “ASIAN”, AND SMART IN “SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING AND MATH”…..THE “STEM” FIELDS……. AND IT WAS EXPECTED AS WELL.
HOWEVER, EVEN THOUGH SALINAS IS PRIMARILY A “MIGRANT AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY”, THE AREA WAS AS IT IS STILL TODAY, VERY SEGRAGATED. IT WAS AND STILL IS, A VERY SEPARTIST TOWN. ON ONE HAND YOU HAD / HAVE THE WELL -TO-DO WHITES, AND ON THE OTHER YOU HAD THE POOR / WORKING CLASS HISPANIC / LATION COMMUNITY. THERE WERE NO BLACKS BACK THEN, EXCEPT A COUPLE OF HOMELESS INDIVIDUALS WHO I SAW DAILY DOWNTOWN SOUTH MAIN STREET THERE IN SALIANS. WHEN I WENT INTO THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY TO DO MY JOB, EVERYTHING WAS FINE AND OK, BUT WHEN I HAD TO GO TO HANDLE COMPLAINT SITUATIONS, AND OR CONDUCT A FOOD FACILITY INSPECTION, OR OVERSEE A BUILDING PLAN CHECK APPLICATION, SEPTIC-SYSTEM, OR LAND-USE PLANNING PROJECTS (THIS IS BEFORE CELL PHONES AND PORTABLE COMPUTERS TOO) THEY WOULD CALL THE OFFICE AND ASK MY “STUPIDVISOR” IF HE COULD PLEASE AND NICELY SEND NEXT TIME SOMEONE ELSE TO LOOK IN TO THINGS UP IN THE HILLS OF THE HIGHWAY 68 CORRIDOR WHERE “THEY” LIVED. THEY DIDN’T WANT ME IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD. AND I COULD NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES EXPLAN THESE THINGS TO MY SUPERIORS AS WELL…..THEY SIMPLY DIDN’T UNDERSTAND. OH, THEY UNDERSTOOD, BUT THEY ELECTED “NOT” TO UNDERSTAND. WHEN I EXPLAINED THINGS TO THE PUBLIC A LOT OF TIMES OR TO CLIENTS, NO MATTER HOW NICELY, PROFESSIONAL OR CUTELY, USING AS MUCH “TACK, DISCRESSION AND DIPLOMACY” AS POSSIBLE, THEY SIMPLY DIDN’T WANT “ME” INSTRUCTING “THEM” AND OR ME GIVING THEM GUIDANCE IN ANY MANNER. I WOULD HAVE TO ALLOW THESE INDIVIDUALS TO “SLIDE” MULTIPLE TIMES BEFORE I WOULD / COULD FINE THEM, UNLIKE MY WHITE COUNTERPARTS, BECAUSE IF I FINED THEM AFTER THREE ATTEMPTS FROM SEEKING COMPLIANCE AS MY CO-WORKERS DID, MY STUPIDVISOR (I’LL CALL HIM “DICK”) WOULD BLAMED AND SCRUTINIZED ME “EVERY-SINGLE-TIME” FOR INSTIGATING AND STURRING THINGS UP AND CAUSING TROUBLE…..AND TO THIS DAY THEY KNOW IT. FINALLY WHEN I CAME FOREWARD MUCH LATER TO MY COUNTY PERSONNEL OFFICE AFTER “COLLECTING” A LOT OF EVIDENCE” FOR A SPAN OF NEARLY ONE (1) YEAR THAT “CLEARLY” SHOWED THE NON-COMPLIANCE ON THE PART OF THE COMMUNITY / DISTRICT I WAS RESPONSBLE FOR, AND THAT MY WORK WAS GETTING DONE, AND GETTING DONE CORRECTLY, AND THAT SOME OF THE COMMUNITY I REGULATED WAS RACIST AND TOOK IT OUT ON ME…… AS MY STUIPVISOR DID, HE AND MY DIRECTOR ATTACTED ME AND TERMINATED MY EMPLOYMENT, THEN WENT ON “IN A VEMONIOUS MANNER AND “RETALIATED / BLACKBALLED ME” FROM MY FIELD, REGARDLES OF MY STRONG CREDENTIALS BECAUSE THEY SIMPLY DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO REGARDING THE RACIAL CRAP I EXPERIENCED, NOR DID COMMUNICATE WITH ME TO SEE WHAT I WAS UNDERGOING ON THE JOB FROM THE COMMUNITY, BUT MORE SO DIRECTLY FROM THEM. AND THIS STILL, AFFECTS ME TODAY JOB HUNTING WITHIN MY FIELD OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH (250+ E.H. DOCCUMENTED INTERVIEWS / REJECTION LETTERS DOESN’T LIE !).
I ALSO WORKED WITH MONTEREY COUNTY ALL THROUGHOUT (HERE I GO…) THE “RODNEY KING FIASCO, THE O.J. SIMPSON FIASCO, AND OF COURSE, THE ANITA HILL AND THE SUPERME COURT JUSTICE CLEARANCE THOMAS FIASCO AS WELL AS THE (I LOVE THIS ONE THE MOST…) “THE DANGEROUS, DRUG INDUCED, CRACK-HEAD SMOKING, GUN TOTTING, AFFRIMATIVE ACTION BABYS, PROPATITION 209, VIOLENT BLACK MAN SYNDROME” THAT PLAGED AMERICA BACK THEN. SO I THINK IT’S PRETTY DAMN OBVIOUS WHAT “WENT DOWN” DURING THOSE DAYS. AS THEN WITH ME, AND AS TODAY WITH MR. QUARLES AND HIS “P.G. SITUATION”, THINGS ARE NOT GETTING BETTER FOR SOME OF US AT ALL WHEN WE ENTER INTO WHITE AREAS REGARDLESS OF OUR CREDENTIALS AND WHAT WE DO FOR A LIVING AND HOW “UPSTANDING” WE TRY OUR BEST TO LIVE BY. WE’RE ALWAYS SUSPICIOUS AND ON THE LOOK OUT FROM “THESE PEOPLE”. WE ALWAYS HAVE TO WEAR OUR CREDENTIAL ON OUR SLEVES….BOTH OF THEM. AND EVEN THEN AT TIMES, WE’RE STILL NOT BELIEVED AND TRUSTED WITHIN OUR OWN COMMUNITIES. AND A LOT OF TODAYS MILLENIUMS” …..JUST LIKE THEIR PARENTS BACK WERE BACK IN THE DAY, THE 1980’S AND EARLY 1990’S. THEY’RE JUST AS DUMB AND IGNORANT OF RACE RELATIONS AS THEIR PARENTS WERE. AND IN SOME CASES, EVEN MORE SO, BECAUSE THEY’RE SUPPOSE TO BE MORE EDUCATED AND KNOW MORE VERSES THE MIND-SET THEIR PARENTS ERA LIVED IN (1950’S, 1960’S & 1970’S), BUT THEY DON’T. SO WHEN I HEAR PEOPEL SAY THINGS ARE BETTER TODAY THAN YESTERDAY, I SAY SURE, THINGS ARE “ALITTLE BETTER”, BETTER FOR YOU THAT IS.

IN THIS DAY AND AGE WHEN WE SEE MULTIPLE BLACK MEN GETTING KILLED BY THE POLICE FOR LITTLE REASONS, BUT WE DON’T SEE IN ANY MANNER WHITE KIDS GETTING KILLED BY BLACK / HISPANIC COPS, IT MAKES YOU WONDER. IF AND WHEN WHITES STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND DEMAND THAT THE POLICE AND OTHER AUTHORITIES STOP BULLYING THE BLACK / BROWN COMMUNITIES OF AMERICA FOR NO REASONS OTHER THAN BEING BLACK / BROWN AND ON THE SO CALLED “WRONG SIDE OF THE STREET” OF THE COMMUNITY THEY LIVE IN, AND YET MAY LIVE THERE ON THAT SIDE OF THE COMMUNTIY, THINGS WILL BE THE SAME. I’LL BE GOING TO P.G. THIS WEEK-END FOR THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY. I WOULD LOVE TO RUN INTO MR. QUARLES AND CHITT-CHAT WITH HIM. LOVE AND PEACE, AND “THANK YOU” NPR FOR ALLOWING ME TO TELL MY PARTIAL STORY. FURTHER READING WILL COME IN MY FORTH COMING BOOK ABOUT MY EXPERIENCE WITH MY EX-EMPLOYER THE COUNTY OF MONTEREY AND OTHER COUNTIES THAT HAVE RETALIATED AGAINST ME FOR COMING OUT REGARDING THEIR CONDUCT,

THANK YOU AGAIN,
CAMERON AUJUARD, REHS, CCEO.
23RD, NOVEMBER 2014, SUNDAY

 

Tweets by Michele Norris