Raymond Sean Walters
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Is there really a war on the mining industry, or war on the miners by the mining industry itself?
While I have had concerns about actions I have seen taken that affect the mining industry, I have had greater concern about the blatant racism that is so overwhelming in today's coal industry in West Virginia (not that it has ever really left, but it was more bearable for about 30 years).
I have watched how educated, experienced mine applicants like myself are openly discriminated against while jokes are made about the reasoning for the discrimination. Ain't nothing worse than ignorance, and maybe nothing worse than an ignorant bigot.
In addition to the open racism, many of these companies hiring officers would rather hire functional drug addicts that take shortcuts when it comes to safety than hire personnel with excellent safety records who have actual training at what they do in the mining industry (or any other field for that matter).
Since returning to West Virginia in 2008 after 20+ years of working worldwide, I AM often disgusted at what I see around me. And this disgust permeates every aspect of life in this state; from church to work to even the school system that our children are exposed to.
My family has been in West Virginia since the 1850's and many men in my family have worked in the mining industry in the state starting with my 2nd great grandfather Nicholas Walters from Moundsville, West Virginia. I have found myself wondering what adversity did he and other men of color deal with in mining then when there were NO laws against discrimination at all? Though there were no laws against discrimination, certain positions were relegated to men of color, while other positions were often off-limits to those same men.
There is still an element today in mining (and other industries) that strongly feels that a person of color is NOT qualified to manage or supervise, even when that person has been in supervisory positions and has the credentials to boot.
So, while I dislike the often oppressive measures that government has been using towards the mining industry, I AM more concerned with the oppression often heaped at myself and other qualified men of color by those same managers, supervisors and employees that feel that I and my family are not worthy to earn a living from the mining industry because they don't like my eye color, the way I talk, or the vehicle I drive. As if any of those things should matter when it comes to good hiring & business practices???
And for the record, many of these people in the mining industry did NOT vote for President Obama or his environmental policies, they voted for Republicans overwhelmingly. Republicans and wealthy people always work against the interests of the working class person, but these folks in West Virginia would rather vote for someone that will take advantage of them, step on their neck or sit on their chest as opposed to seeing some basic fairness across the board so that everyone can do well.
It is really no wonder why stuff in West Virginia (and America) is so jacked up!!!
Here is a link to the article that caused me to comment this morning:
Raymond Sean Walters