Updated May 28, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.
By Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D.
There’s this saying when it comes to getting a job or resources for your business or home: It’s who you know.
Here’s why this saying is problematic, especially if you live in a segregated state such as Connecticut, where all-white suburban residents terrorize the few blacks who move into towns that don’t have local buses traveling from the urban core to the outer-ringed suburbs.
If you go to an almost all-white school, attend an all-white church, shop in a supermarket where blacks and other people of color are menial workers, you as a white person won’t know too many people of color—except those in menial positions.
So guess what? The all-time saying of “It’s who you know, not what you know”—doesn’t fit the bill here when it comes to doling out city, state and federal funds, especially services to small businesses, home owners and all other human beings.
On Wednesday morning at the Mark Twain House on Farmington Avenue, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy chaired a roundtable discussion about small businesses that are doing well under his small business express loan programs and other state incentives designed to help foster a good climate where small businesses can start and grow.
All the success stories came from white men.
In fact, the room did not have any black women business owners at press time. So I guess black women and other minority business people are out of the loop—because they don’t know anyone in that room.
Perhaps we should retire that saying when it comes to city, state and federal programs–as well as for services rendered by organizations that get federal funding–such as Hartford Hospital and its affiliates, the Hartford Medical Group, St. Francis Hospital, John Dempsey Hospital and its affiliates, Manchester Memorial Hospital and all its affiliates in the ECHN network.
That also goes for the Community Health Center in Hartford and New Britain. Agencies such as CT Transit, LogistiCare and all relevant subcontractors should also be audited for their blatant discriminatory tactics I’ve witnessed in the last six months and will report on in the coming months.
That’s because these programs have specific guidelines to prohibit the kind of blatant discrimination I’ve experienced while seeking service and scrutinizing these programs. The Connecticut Department of Social Services is unbelievable conduit for employees who are clueless about these federal guidelines. A quick glance of the various types of discrimination prohibited by the laws and enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can be found here for their benefit.
The city of Hartford and the state of Connecticut should also have its employees take a refresher course in these guidelines. Otherwise, they should be prepared for a tsunami of lawsuits from educated consumers. And the buck stops with whomever is heading these agencies. And that includes Hartford’s mayor Pedro Segarra and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
So here’s a popular saying they should heed to as well: get your house in order.
And just in case you’re thinking I’m out of my place–meaning I’m acting like I’m a citizen with rights or any of those fancy things protected by the United States Constitution–you should explain to me why others have rights and I don’t.
Perhaps we could battle this out in court–if need be. But I’m thinking the state of Connecticut has a high percentage of educated and decent people who can argue this case very well.
After all, Connecticut is the home of the 19th-Century abolitionist movement. And their descendants–in spirit and in truth–are already poised to make their presence known and felt again.
Photo Credit:http://www.elsolnews.com. Gov. Dannel Malloy announces the first round of small business grants in 2013.