One man is feeling the effects of what is called “reverse-racism” (better described as being “anti-white”). Supervisor Charles Yates of the Birmingham Public Works Department has stated that Mayor Bell wanted him gone, alleging that it is on the grounds of his being white:
Yates claims he was forced to take a lower-paying position and demeaned, including being told to stay out of City Hall or take a service elevator when in the building.
The trouble rests with Mayor Bell’s administration and its heavy handed tactics. Yates himself has stated that
Within days (of Mayor Bell’s taking office)…Chief of Operations Patton issued a directive forbidding me to appear in City Hall for any reason…I was instructed that should I be called to City Hall, I was to arrange for one of my subordinate supervisors to handle the call. Approximately two weeks later, Public Works Director Trone reminded me again that the Mayor’s Office did not want to see my face at City Hall.
Yates references his role in a suit against the city for Virginia Spidle, a 24-year old city accountant who was wrongly fired on charges of racism. When a board of inquiry cleared her and reinstated her position, the city once again fired her, alleging incompetence. The lawsuit to keep her job charged:
Despite protestations by plaintiff and other Caucasian employees, a racially charged hostile work environment was instigated, encouraged and condoned by top city officials, specifically Mayor Bell and Chief of Operations, Jarvis Patton
I want to thank the King Center for opening its doors to us and for continuing to embrace Dr. King’s philosophy and strategy of nonviolence to eliminate racism- Mayor William Bell
It was reported that
During the period that plaintiff was being subjected to race-based discrimination, other supervisors, who are Caucasian, were reporting similar discriminatory treatment altering the terms and conditions of their employment.
Yates states that his connection to the Spidle suit, though minor, was enough to feel repercussions by Bell and his aides:
While I am not a plaintiff in the Spidle litigation, I did assist and actively participate in this litigation by reporting similar acts of racial discrimination to which I had been subjected during the same time period. The discrimination that I endured was hurtful and took a toll on my health over the years.
Yates also alleges that he was pressured by one of Bell’s staff to recant from his role in the Spidle inquiry:
Patton questioned me about allegations in the Spidle complaint that were attributed to me though my name was not mentioned in the complaint. Patton repeatedly asked me to concede that he had treated me ‘right.’ This I could not do and would not do. Indeed Patton knew full well that it was contrary to what I revealed in the Spidle complaint
Virginia Spidle and Charles Yates are currently pursing federal lawsuits against the city, stating that white employees are routinely maligned by Bell’s Administration. How that will play out in a Federal environment, one can only wonder.