Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Obligatory Rant on Racism Today

For those of you who do not know, Mississippi higher education is under court order (The Ayers Case) to equalize the distribution of funds over eight public universities (three of which are historically black universities). I work for a minority owned architecture firm that is trying to snag a good portion of this work. And yes, Shirley, we are the only "minority-owned" firm in the state of Mississippi. When I say "minority" I do not mean female, because females outnumber males like 600 to one. Maybe not that many, it just seems that way. I can't turn around in the shower without some woman telling me that I don't need to eat BUTTER. WTF?

Long story short, we have somehow grabbed a bit of work on a building that was constructed in 1830 and is on the Historic Register of the State of Mississippi as well as the National Historic Register. Can you possibly imagine the hoops that my company must jump through just to get to a bid process on these jobs? Not only do we have to submit all of our proposals to the college and to the government agency in charge of universities here, but we also have to submit all of our work to both Federal and State Archives and History organizations.

My problem with this process began when I received a letter from our State Department of Archives and History recommending that I employ the services of another architecture firm because they have extensive experience in the restoration of historical structures. Not one time did they venture to ask if our firm had that experience, they just assumed that we did not.

That said, I banged out a letter today letting them know that we did not require the services of one of our COMPETITORS to complete the project. I think that I went on the defensive a little too much, but dammit, you think that Wal-Mart calls up K-Mart to see if what they are doing is cool? McDonald's calls Wendy's? Superman calls Batman?

Not to go off on a tangent, but we WANT the work. Not too many other firms want to tackle work that occurs out in no man's land. (There is only one restaurant within twenty-five miles of the job, and it's a Sonic.) Come on folks, let the little guy have a shot at doing the job. He is going to cut you a deal for the first go around, he's probably a pretty good dude, and if he messes the thing up too bad, don't use him again. We just want the chance and who better to do the work on an historically black campus than a black architecture firm?

Oh, and by the way, personally I think that we can do better work than 90% of the other firms in Mississippi and I have experience with the other firms.

Enough about that. What about Al and them damn CHICKENS?



Wayne World said...

Hey Two Dogs,I'm confused, you want to get rid of Black history month because you want everyone to be on the same level and no race get preferential treatment. Well it sounds like if not for preferential treatment , your firm might not have a chance in hell(or Mississippi, same thing for minorities)in getting in on the action.Good thing not everyone listens to you! You know the old joke about Tubaloo, Mississippi, there were two blacks living there , they're below now!

Wayne World said...

Oh....I can't forget about Al and those chickens.Hey , why did the chicken cross the road?............because Rev.Al was over there trying to get them reparations!

Paul Mitchell said...

It's not about any preferences, you know that. What I am talking about is a person is a person is a person. One of my friends wrote on his blog something about everyone going through the same emotions, wanting the same things, etal. Government people tried to get us to go to someone else who had "experience". They didn't even bother to look at our resume' to see if we had experience doing a similar project. And just check who the Hell these people are. Can you guess who we elect in Mississippi? Our Senators are Reps, we voted for Rep Presidents ever since Reagan ran the first time, WHO DIDN'T? Minnesota?

But, all, and I mean all of our state legislators are Dems. All of our appointed officials are Dems, and most of our local politicians are Dems.

The Party for the little guy advocating using an old guard, racist snot. Who, BTW, did some consulting work for me when I was at another firm that was so substandard, I just wound up signing off on their fee and doing the work my own self.

At some point I hope to congeal these ideas into a solution that I can roll up to Washington and say, "Here, you dumbasses, I am here to bail y'all out." And yea, I'll probably actually call 'em dumbasses, but I'll smile and they will never know what hit them.

Wayne World said...

Do you guys have extensive experience with historical restoration? Cause I'm pretty sure it's not the average makeover home edition.

Paul Mitchell said...

I don't think that any firms have extensive experience in Historical Restoration or Renovation. Most of the buildings on the register were upgraded in the 1970's so they are just now coming on line for new stuff.

To put a fine point on what we are working on right now among other things, 2 buildings on an HBC campus, both constructed in the 1830's.

For the most part, a lot of people think that architects do a lot of residential stuff, but the VAST majority of our jobs are governmental, industry, or commercial. In most states, houses can be designed by damn near anyone. And that's not a bad thing for the homeowner at all. Saves time and dust.

Wayne World said...

Be careful , some of those buildings are so old , there might be a Klan rally still going on inside.

Paul Mitchell said...

You know it! Actually these building are in remarkedly good shape, which goes to show you what a determined American can do if the mind is set.