From columnist Larry Elder
, an example of Civil Rights legislation has been turned into a racial hustle that often has no connection to racial justice.
Tennie Pierce, a black 19-year veteran firefighter, recently won a $2.7 million settlement from the Los Angeles City Council.
Here’s the story. Following a firehouse volleyball game, fellow firefighters laced Pierce’s spaghetti with dog food to “humble” him. Pierce, who calls himself “the Big Dog,” took a few bites, saw three co-conspirator firefighters — two whites, one Latino — laughing, and demanded to know why the chuckling.
Pierce, after learning that the firefighters — in an undoubtedly good-natured way — placed dog food in his spaghetti, called the prank “racist”! He hired a lawyer, found an “expert” witness who associated the consumption of dog food with “300 years” of discrimination against blacks, and successfully settled the case with the city.
Los Angeles Times reporter Sandy Banks, in an article about the award, failed to mention a few salient facts: that Pierce somehow managed to survive on the force for almost 20 years; that fellow firefighters referred to Pierce as a “turd stirrer” — meaning he routinely pulled pranks on others; that the 6-foot 5-inch Pierce often referred to himself as “the Big Dog”; that the incident was apparently a reaction to a volleyball game won by Pierce during which he repeatedly urged to his teammates to “feed the Big Dog” by throwing the ball to him; and that, in the frat boy tradition of many firefighters, his co-workers likely fed him dog food as a display of affection, knowing that, after all, Pierce had pulled pranks on many others during his long career — photos of which (including Pierce’s involvement in the shaving of the pubic hairs of a fellow firefighter) later appeared on the Internet.
Elder then goes on to recount the experiences of his father, who served in a segregated Marine Corps in World War II. He then concludes:
Your crass, manipulative use of the race-card-for-money insults countless men and women who endured indignities, marched and died, in order to provide you the right to work as a firefighter — an opportunity historically denied to qualified black men and women.
You, sir, are a disgrace.
Marx famously said that history does repeat itself. It comes the first time as a tragedy, and the second time as a farce. Pierce made a farce of the notion of racial justice.