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Brian Flores and my world of discrimination

Thursday 2/10/22

I've been doing my homework on the Brian Flores situation. It's quaint to me that this is what he thinks of as extreme discrimination. I'm not saying that he hasn't been discriminated against. I'm not saying it's not racially motivated. What I will say is this. Flores' complaints as to this alleged racial discrimination, regarding himself, come down to three points. He believes it's racist that he was let go as head coach of the Dolphins. That's point one. Point two, he believes it's racist that the New York Giants seem to have made a decision on the coach--a white coach--they were going to hire, before interviewing Flores. Point three is that John Elway and Denver Broncos brass discriminated against Brian Flores on the basis of his skin color, which was proven by them allegedly arriving an hour late to an interview, and looking disheveled and like they'd been drinking the night before. (This being the same Broncos group that had recently hired a Black head coach.) I say quaint, because things like this, which happen in my days, dozens and dozens of times over, in the publishing industry, are so minor, are such a given, that they don't come up on this blog. And these are your extreme examples?


Let's look at the points. Regarding the first: Flores could have been fired because he refused to tamper and talk to the quarterback under contract with another team, who looks to have been Tom Brady. He could have been fired for not compromising his ethics and also being in plain violation of NFL rules. That could be the reason. Which is wrong. Obviously. Is it better or worse? That's two evils, either way you look at it, no? Look at any of hundreds of posts on here, where I have gone through much worse, and I was not paid millions of dollars. I live in complete poverty. Squalor. There is a difference between getting 76% of what you deserve, and what might as well be negative infinity percent. Of not being able to live like a human, let alone in comfort and luxury. A white person could have been fired for the same reason--being unwilling to compromise their ethics. I could have been fired for that, you could have been fired for that, anyone could have been fired for that. Wrongfully terminated. Which is not the same as racially terminated. He could have been fired because it looks for all the world like this guy is a nightmare to try and work with. Word out of Miami is he just shuts down, doesn't communicate, and his staff doesn't know what he is thinking.


As for point number two, you don't think that that's the norm? That people know who they want to hire, and go through the motions of interviews anyway? Look at The Paris Review. After Lorin Stein was fired for humping subordinates on his desk, trading sex for book deals at FSG (where I'm banned) and story acceptances at The Paris Review (where I'm also banned) and allegedly anally raping people, I got someone in the door there when the magazine began a search for their next editor. A Black man. I alerted him to the post, provide information that no one had, gave him counsel, encouragement, and I was privy to all of his experiences as he went through a rigged hiring process. I have the emails. He traveled to NYC twice. He had no chance to get the job because he was a male. They were going with a female. Yes, he was Black, but that's not what his problem there was. (To the contrary--it would have been seen as an advantage, but that's a moot point, as he had no chance, given his possession of a penis, after what Lorin Stein had done, which a lot of people in publishing knew about--I can tell you a prominent female editor who actually joked to me--and I have that correspondence--about Stein's "predilections." She treated it like it was funny. She certainly never spoke up, shared what she knew. I am banned at her venue, too, despite everything I published there.) He was a prop, as were others. Publishing is an evil business, the most evil business there has ever been, but this happens everywhere. It's automatically racism? But the nature of the hideous act is then qualified and identified as something else after the fact based upon what your skin color is? It can't just be heinous behavior? Cronyism? Laziness? Incompetence? A bad fit? Ego? Pettiness? Churlishness? Sexism?


Point the third: saying someone is disheveled is so vague and potentially agenda-driven. Or speaks to a person's lack of observational skills. Being up to no good. The so-called disheveled person may also just look a certain way. And you can also deduce that they were drunk the night before? All of these things could happen to anyone, if they're even true. Again, I say quaint because these are things that are part of every day here, and it is quaint to me that this would be your "greatest hits" of grievances done against you. Three limited examples, that could also be anything. We're not talking twenty-five years of hell, with thousands and thousands of examples of proof.


And you could just be an ornery person who is hard to work with. It could just be that. I don't know. It could be a lot of things. It could be what Flores alleges. But worse things than this are the virtual wallpaper of every day of my life, and no one is paying me millions of dollars, and my skill set is unique.


I wonder how Brian Flores would react--or how anyone would--if this is what was happening to them, over a quarter of a century. With all of the proof. Again, thousands of pieces of empirical evidence. If those three tenuous examples--I mean, they could be, they might not be, and again, it's three examples--are worth that hue and cry, and are beyond the pale, etc., then what would this mean? How would that be handled? Spoken of?


I completely understand why Flores, at the time, said his Broncos meeting went well. I can see all possible sides. People are trying to say that that invalidates his complaint. It does nothing of the kind. When you are in a bad position, and you are not being treated fairly--or you think you're not--you may try to smile as best you can through it. I've done this with someone like Bradford Morrow at Conjunctions. An evil person who only hooks up his friends and people like him. Give me a table of contents from Conjunctions, and I will show you what the relationship between almost single person is in there, and Bradford Morrow. A bad writer. A petty, jealous man.


Because I had fiction in Harper's at the time, he took something around that same time and put it up on their website. Only his friends go in the print magazine. No one really reads it, and there's no money. He did two edits, and he talked about them like he was such a hero, did remarkable yeoman's work. This embittered drama queen, who also was fond of sending me emails meant for others, that trashed me. And you know what? I was even good-natured about that. As I was being debased, and treated like excrement, with people who, as someone recently noted, deserve none of my time or energy, as I create work that towers above everything they slop out there. That's the level of abuse I just took. A level of the abuse I took. I wouldn't have even called them edits. He caught a spelling error, for instance. A typo. That's copy editing. And the piece was in sections, and he suggested changing the order of two of them. So, fine. The order was changed. You know that bigot J.W. McCormack of The Baffler? We've talked about him in these pages. Enter his name in the search bar. He was a senior editor at Conjunctions, so I was going to be discriminated against at The Baffler. You see how the bigotry network works? Remember Brian Evenson, and that awful story that I shared on here that McCormack published at The Baffler? Evenson was a senior editor at Conjunctions. That is why McCormack published that 8000 word prose atrocity by Evenson. He taught at Brown. He funneled his Brown colleagues into Conjunctions. I went to Brown--as I've written on here--to meet with Evenson. He baldly told me how many people who were in Conjunctions were getting in. "So and so did this for Brad," etc. He's just sitting there in his office telling me. Telling me what I already knew, but he was still doing it.


But you see how this works? You see how it goes from venue to venue? You see how these people are all evil, how they all work the same way?


I went out of my way to publicly thank Morrow, though I knew everything that he was about. You're trying to go along with bad people. Because that's what there is. I am sure that's what the NFL is. Doesn't make it racism for Flores. There are things that are worse. We discriminate against forms of discrimination, and we make racism the end all be all. Of course it's awful. But so are many other ways in which one may be discriminated against. And there are worse ways, because some of those ways are based upon qualities that fewer people have. The most extreme abilities, for instance. That person does not have a group in a similar situation. So, to be broad about it, racism is a person against a group that will impact the individual. Or, a group against a group. But note that second word--there's a group. That group can share experiences, band together, create business, foster opposition. Activists work on their behalf. They have hashtags and movements and signs in lawns. What if you're one person? And you can do something no one else can, and that's the issue? That you are unlike anyone else. I even went on the radio, and I gave thanks to Morrow. It wasn't real. A hat tip, as they say. I was trying to appease someone who is going to detest someone like me, because of envy. They have no real ability of their own. Everything they have and do is down to cronyism. Is Bradford Morrow a racist? Probably not. But he's a massive bigot. That is generally what you are left with. So I was trying to go along, to get along, in a hellish situation. Because that's what there was.


Flores was thirty-seven-years old--a baby in coaching terms--when he was given a five-year contract for a guaranteed $15 million dollars to be the head coach of the Dolphins (whose GM was Black). He had never so much as held the title of a coordinator previously. That's a pretty big jump, an uncommon jump, not the way these things usually work for anyone, and a hell of a jump for someone who is being racially discriminated against. The Broncos explained themselves. Flores--or the Patriots--presented a single window in which Flores could interview for that Broncos job, while he was in Rhode Island. The Broncos brass, interviewing someone in Denver, took a red eye flight to New England, to meet with Flores at the stipulated time. You think they were drunk for their three-and-a-half hour interview with you? So you cite their dress? You know what you'd cite if someone was actually drunk? Their behavior. What they asked you. The crazy things they said. How they were nodding off. Whatever it might have been. How they smelled of alcohol. How they said inappropriate remarks. Flores is now angry that the Texans hired Lovie Smith, a Black coach, but not, in Flores' view, the right Black person. The right Black person is him. That's what he cares about. That's all he cares about. He's been given more than he deserves, based upon what he's actually achieved. His team started poorly this past year, and were essentially out of the playoff race at the mid-point, providing some fool's gold at the end when they tacked on wins. All I've seen is a guy who can't get along with people, who thinks he's owed not just something, but everything, from everyone.