June 06, 2013

Racism in Texas parks at #TPWD

I have blogged in the past about how, no matter how bad the fiscal shortfall, I would NOT "tip jar" beyond standard admissions fees at various Texas state parks. I said that it enabled bad behavior by the wingnuts in the Texas Legislature and that if the state park system was really that bad, it could do some simple fixes, like dedicating 100 percent of the fees from the firearms and ammo tax to the park system, rather than capping that at the tax on the first $100 of sale.

Well, now, there's a helluva lot more reason to not tip jar Texas parks or, right now, even go to them in the first place. Claims of racism within the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are drawing yet more scrutiny.
State Rep. Sylvester Turner, chairman of the black caucus in the statehouse, said his office continues to receive allegations of racism or discrimination from game wardens or their families.

"The smoke keeps coming," Turner said. "I've been hearing this since last year and (the agency) keep telling me, 'That's not the case, that's not the case, that's not the case' and they keep trying to excuse it. But at some point in time, something is amiss here."
Only 13 blacks, and only 65 Hispanics, in a 3,000-person department? Sounds like some definite pro-activity is needed.

Pro-activity would include not apparently trying to run off a black cadet like Brukendra Jackson:
"They told me that I had traits inside me that I couldn't overcome, that I just needed to leave and quit," Jackson said. "(An instructor) never explained to me by the 'traits,' but I just assumed he meant me being a black female."

Anyway, why the hell would I tip jar an agency with such alleged problems, even if a number of state parks are good places to visit? (Let's not forget that a number of them, due to years of lean budgets, are becoming more run-down places to visit.)

And, the agency's claim about "ooh, other state agencies are also having trouble recruiting minorities"? First, that's not a valid excuse. Second, maybe their troubles exist for the same reasons yours do.

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