Letter to the Editor: City manager situation untenable
Saturday, January 19, 2019
Is Small-Toney racist against white people?
You would think so if you read the online comments section in the Telegram and elsewhere covering the news from City Hall. However, it is commonly accepted practice for people to hire and associate themselves with others who are like them. This happens all the time in our government, where newly elected officials hire and appoint people who agree with them politically, and in the private sector, where there is unconscious, or sometimes conscious, bias for "cultural fit" (personally have been part of hiring conversations where someone did not want to consider candidates with foreign sounding last names.)
What I do think is uncommon is for this practice to not benefit white people, and for them to be in the minority and on the other side of it. There is also a backlash against the liberal and permissive accusation of being racist in our society today, so that some people will jump at the chance of calling reverse racism at the soonest possible hint of any bias. If we are honest with ourselves, though, I don't think doing the very thing you are against is a good way to combat this issue if your goal is to end its practice. It is possible instead to dig deeper and find out objective reasons for your reaction.
I see the problem with the spate of resignations from City Hall to be making enemies. Small-Toney has the right to hire who she deems fit if a candidate meets the rules and qualifications for the position. But it is not good for someone in as important of a position as city manager to not be able to manage the fallout of those decisions. There is a need for anyone new to a place to be humble, conciliatory and bridge-building. I do not see that happening, at least in the Telegram’s coverage of events, and the previous history of Small-Toney's career in Savannah does not bode well for how things will end.