by Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | October 12, 2017 10:22 am
Wow… this is wonderful to see. A group of black firefighters in Detroit are coming to the defense of a white firefighter who brought a gift of a watermelon to his fellow firefighters his first day of work and was fired for it. They called it “racially insensitive.” I fail to see how a yummy watermelon is racially insensitive. They usually get donuts, but this guy put a pink bow on it and brought it in to work. It ended badly for him and now a bunch of black firefighters are speaking up over it. In this racially heated culture, I’m surprised… pleasantly so.
Robert Pattison, 41, was unceremoniously fired as a probationary fireman after introducing himself to the rest of his crew with said watermelon. It’s part of a tradition to bring edible gifts in on your first day. However, Second Battalion Chief Shawn McCarty noted that some staff had no taste buds and no sense of ironic humor over the whole affair (my words, not his). They considered the watermelon to be a slap at African Americans. It isn’t. You don’t get to hijack a food and label it racist. That’s moronic. “It’s not mandatory, it’s voluntary,” Second Battalion Chief Shawn McCarty told Fox2. “You come in bearing gifts. The usual gift is doughnuts, but you are allowed to bring whatever you want to bring in.”
Pattison was then discharged by Fire Commissioner Eric Jones, who described the incident as “offensive”: “There is zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior inside the Detroit Fire Department. On Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, at Engine 55, a trial firefighter (probationary employee) engaged in unsatisfactory work behavior which was deemed offensive and racially insensitive to members of the Detroit Fire Department. After a thorough investigation, it was determined that the best course of action was to terminate the employment of this probationary employee.” Wow, touchy and deeply, bitingly stupid.
A number of black firefighters in that department stepped forward to defend the new firefighter, describing him as an “amazing dude” who had “good intentions.” That makes me smile. Race should have nothing to do with this and these men are just great people. “Just want to let everyone know he’s a real amazing dude and it was all good intentions,” firefighter Tadarius Spearman wrote in a Facebook post, alongside ten African-American firefighters. “And our entire class (is) supporting him in this. Especially us African-Americans and that’s all that needs to be said. Stay up brother. #DFD.”
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Black Detroit firefighters defend white recruit fired over watermelon https://t.co/L9v9LO90lj
— FOX 2 Detroit (@FOX2News) October 11, 2017
Since Pattison’s termination, a petition has been started demanding his reinstatement. As of Tuesday evening, over 700 have signed it. About 90 percent of the fire department are African Americans. A number of them decided to be offended over this, but many more saw nothing wrong with it. I will say this though, Pattison should have thought this all the way through and should have known it would upset the more liberal firefighters there. This shouldn’t cost him his job and it’s a sad statement on the devolvement of our culture when something like this happens.
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