Skip to comments.'Gorilla incident' at hospital has some trustees citing racism
Posted on 09/27/2009 9:10:48 AM PDT by kingattax
A hospital employee dressed in a gorilla costume and passing out bananas to the sounds of Hail to the Chief may have been an effort to recognize employees for a job well done, but some Regional Medical Center trustees are calling the incident offensive and racist.
Trustees Betty Henderson and Dr. Oscar Butler Jr. called for greater sensitivity and diversity training opportunities on the part of hospital staff and employees to ensure a similar incident does not reoccur.
I know in the beginning in six days God created the earth and on the seventh day he made man, Henderson said. I know how that man was made and he was made from clay. As a race, we are offended when men portray us as gorillas.
Howard Harris, RMC vice president of human resources, said about a month to a month and a half ago the hospitals 10-member Culture Club, which is made up of employees, decided to have an individual dress up in a gorilla costume to help recognize employee contributions and boost employee morale in the implementation and training process for the hospitals new Cerner computer system, which will come online in December.
The outreach was titled, Were Bananas Over You.
We were not thinking there was an issue with regards to a concern of people being offended because of the racial implications with regards to that, said Harris, himself African-American. We heard about it and it came to our attention. Our position was that we needed to get out in front of it. That was inappropriate and should not have been done.
The Culture Club, which is described by hospital officials as a diverse group, was formed in the spring of 2009 to implement initiatives of the hospitals The Regional Way, including customer service training and employee recognition to enhance the hospitals culture.
The incident in question was designed to recognize the Information Systems staff on TeamRegIS, which is working to ensure the success of the hospitals computer conversion system.
The gorilla incident was part of several outreach efforts to these employees, including a lunch and popsicle delivery.
Harris said a letter was written by the Culture Committee to the hospital employees apologizing for any offense.
There was by no means any desire or any view of anybody wanting to show anything differently but to recognize people, Harris said, noting the information was shared with RMC Board Chairman James Amaker shortly after the incident.
We addressed that in very immediate fashion when it occurred, Harris said.
Hospital Vice President of Compliance Brenda Williams said the matter has been taken seriously.
We will make sure that we think about all the implications of what we do, she said, noting following the meeting that the individual in the gorilla costume did not go to all the hospitals employees but to those specifically involved in the Cerner project.
Williams and Harris said they were unaware of the incident until after it occurred and said it was their understanding the remainder of hospital administrative staff was also unaware.
Trustee Horace James said that as an African-American he could not see how the issue was racist, but Henderson challenged him.
You said this is racial? James inquired. What is racial about that? I know I am not offended.
Trustee Gladys Arends pointed out to James that a recording of Hail to the Chief was also playing during the incident.
Typically when we have LDIs (Leadership Development Institute) what we will do is play the first song, which is Hail to the Chief with Tom Dandridge as the CEO. We heard that also and we went back and investigated that.
LDI, which is separate from the Culture Committee, consists of a continuing education for hospital leadership. As a part of these leadership development efforts, musical accompaniment is provided.
Harris and Williams explained the song is one of many on the tape, which is commonly used during LDI events. The chief in Hail to the Chief refers to the hospital president, Dandridge. The song is a march typically associated with the president of the United States.
If you are not offended by it, I am, Henderson said, addressing James, noting that similar incidents have historically been controversial. If you dont know, sir, maybe you have not been around as long as many of us.
Trustee Dr. M.S. Nassri asked Harris if the matter is dead.
Harris said that to his knowledge, it is dead. Butler stopped him short.
There are about 300 to 400 employees involved in this that may not agree with him, Butler said.
Butler also expressed concerns about institutional racism.
Please dont think that all the people up here working here are pleased, satisfied and think it was just an incident that happened without it being planned, Butler said. We need to get out in front and talk to our workers to see how they feel. As far as I am concerned, that is another incident that it appears to me where we as Negroes, blacks and Afro-Americans are not given the respect that we should have.
The matter was brought up when Trustee Danny Covington asked Chairman Amaker if a board member had approached him about the gorilla incident and when the matter would be brought to the boards attention.
Some of the trustees expressed their confusion and bewilderment about the question and asked Covington to be clear.
I am embarrassed to talk about it, Covington said.
Evidently, you are not embarrassed, Danny, Amaker said, noting the matter was immediately addressed with hospital staff when it was brought to his attention.
Initially, Amaker expressed his desire not to discuss the matter in public session but was halted by Covington.
Folks, this is a repetitive situation of people that are just running wild, he said. This goes on over and over. You will continue with this type of attitude and you will let these things go on.
Covington said the matter is another case of the hospital trying to sweep things under the rug.
Some trustees questioned Covingtons intentions on bringing up the issue as an effort to defame the hospital. They said he was out of order.
People have lost all sense of humor and many of them are dangerously deranged.
Oh good grief. Get over yourselves.
This is as bad as the cartoon drawing
that offends some people.
no sense of humor what so ever
Liberals are quickly passing Arabs in the “outrage” department!
"I know how that man was made and he was made from clay."
How about we portray you as clay would that be OK?
"As a race, we are offended when men portray us as gorillas.
What about when gorillas portray you as men?
Yeesh these patronage appointments are great aren't they?
Oh, for heaven’s sake! Some people expend more effort looking for reasons to be offended than they do actually getting something productive done.
It was only funny and acceptable when Dubya was portrayed as Chimpy McBushitler. Zero can only be portrayed with a halo, flowing robe, riding a unicorn and $hitting Skittles.
Lord forbid that Obama accidentally loses his shoe, or his followers will build a temple around it.
“I know in the beginning in six days God created the earth and on the seventh day he made man, Henderson said. ‘I know how that man was made and he was made from clay. As a race, we are offended when men portray us as gorillas.’”
Sounds like she has issues with evolution, not race. But correct me if I’m wrong (I’m an atheist and am not much of a biblical scholar), but didn’t God supposedly make man on the sixth day and rest on the seventh?
“As a race, we are offended when men portray us as gorillas.
Oh, how outraged were you during EIGHT YEARS of “Chimpy McBushitler”, and the “Chimp-in-Chief”? It was OK for you THEN, eh?/s
Why was it inappropriate? Do blacks now claim to be related to gorillas?
What did God do on the 7th day?
27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Uhhh...Rested? Survey says...
All Gorilla Costumes must be banned entirely!
I thought God rested on the 7th day? Man had to have been created earlier, since God also spent Day 7 watching football.
He should have worn a sign that said “FORMER President (BUSH)” and there would not have been a problem.
The zoo just called. The gorillas are outraged that they have been loosely associated with the presidunce.
I’m guessing they wouldn’t appreciate my tagline.
There can be racism everywhere...especially if you read it into everything.
What town and state did this take place? Please add it to the Keywords.
That wasn’t a hospital employee dressed in a gorilla costume....it was Rev Al in his birthday suit.
Whenever I hear someone quoted as crying "Racism", it simply translates into "Please remove all of my teeth".
Once the Congressional BLACK CAUCUS disbands then we will talk about ‘sensitivity and diversity training’!
That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all month!
The reporter who wrote it is an absolute genius. I can’t remember the last time I said that about a news story.
It’s a bit long, but you have to read it all the way to the end.
Yep! Still waiting for my skittles. Don’t want any from the unicorn’s ass though.
Skittles backwards = Selttiks (Celtics)
Sheesh, they’re acting like a bunch of monkeys.
I ain’t tasting that rainbow.
You do understand that the black - gorilla analogy predates President Bush's birthdate? Has nothing to do with Bush.
I didn’t know our President was a gorilla. I thought he was a half-white, half-black Hawiain with a Kenyan father.
EVERYBODY knows he was watching the PACKERS!!!!!!!!
What a buncha BS!
I am 100% opposed to all the PC bull crap.
I could never, never work in a place like this. I’d be fired within a week. Places like this drive me crazy.