Tuff enuff? Mauricia Grant received a degree in sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook but, for whatever reason, it didn't "work" for Grant and she later started turning wrenches at Los Angeles' Urban League Automotive...
Mauricia Grant received a degree in sociology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook but, for whatever reason, it didn't "work" for Grant and she later started turning wrenches at Los Angeles' Urban League Automotive Training Center.
An internship followed at what's now known as Toyota Speedway at Irwindale and, before long, volunteerism in NASCAR's Dodge Weekly Series.
In 2005, Grant's background landed her a job opportunity for which many would surrender a first-born child: officiating for one of NASCAR's upper-tier series.
After being fired in late-2007 for "poor work performance," Grant earlier this week filed a $225 million lawsuit in which is claimed she faced racial and sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination.
While it would be incorrect to say Grant got her NASCAR job solely as a result of its Drive for Diversity program, it would likewise be incorrect in saying her skin color likely didn't play any role whatsoever in moving her to NASCAR's "short list," inasmuch as Ms. Grant is of African descent (but so, too, are Moroccans and Algerians, etc., of the African continent, but for some odd reason they're not considered of "African" descent in the U.S. But that's another deal, entirely).
If anyone at this point is expecting to see this writer herein unilaterally attempt adjudication of this matter, they're not going to read such.
This writer will recommend, however, everyone "toughen up" a tad.
Now well into his sixth decade, this writer can't begin to relate the number of times he's thought himself unfairly treated but each time did nothing more than move on to the rest of his life.
Oh, sure, the experience would almost always somehow injure emotionally and, almost inevitably, involve some bellyaching and posturing afterward but, in the end, "moving on" seemed the best move to make - filing the occurrences on the bookshelf of life, to which was often turned for later insight.
Having as a youth had a mouth washed clean by a mother taking exception to his having spoken "adult" words - ones today being regularly heard in most any race paddock or garage - I still nonetheless use them though not in a "civilized" setting.
However, should my late mother's company be shared today, those words still wouldn't be used in her presence by myself or friends. For they wouldn't; couldn't be "friends" for long if I perceived their inability to distinguish behavior appropriate to a given circumstance.
Of all the words to be found in the preceding paragraph, the one I believe most important is "perceived" - for we all think differently.
A racetrack garage is full of people for whom I have considerable respect in one area, such as turning a wrench, but perhaps not so in another area, such as lifestyle outside of the track.
There are people who think dancing of any sort is "wicked" and thus damn the practitioner. There also are people who regularly engage in some of society's biggest taboos which bring harm to no one but oneself (if at all) but, if caught, can result in imprisonment.
Though many types often are encountered in the course of one's life, it is within an individual's rights to freely associate with any group but, conversely, one must be willing to also walk away from that group - even if that group might be an employer - especially if respective viewpoints substantially differ.
A past employer (a large, still-kicking corporate entity) once objected with whom this person associated outside of the workplace and issued an ultimatum: terminate the relationship or be terminated.
Indignantly refusing to do the first, the second quickly followed.
Roughly a week later, caught between a rock and hardplace and while also "granting" permission to do that which was previously deemed impermissible, the same employer pleaded with me to return to work.
Though needing the money I nonetheless refused and certainly didn't seek recourse, even though the company clearly had violated U.S. Constitutional provisions involving rights of free association.
More importantly though, was it the "company" or a particular person within that company with whom I should've taken exception? After all, companies, governments and such are comprised of people - some of whom may be good and others not-so-good. A "company" does not inherently know good or evil. Such is found within the individuals who comprise that company.
Think of just how many people you've encountered who, when confronted, didn't own up to some unacceptable act they'd committed?
"Nuh-uh, not me. I don't care who said I did it," he would say in the face of a dozen others who stated the opposite.
With damages going beyond a lawsuit's recompense and spilling over into the court of public opinion, should a company - perhaps having many, many more decent people depending on its paychecks - be required to pay the wage's of an idiot's sin and thus risk that company's - and those other "good" employees' - very existence?
Though perhaps there, I've yet to meet someone within NASCAR - and by that I mean those people who make up the corporate entity and not the teams - inclined toward capriciously or maliciously keeping someone from achieving what that someone may become.
Such is not to say that differences of opinion or work ethic won't ultimately lead to disagreements and a parting of the ways but that's just the way life works.
Having seen many changes over my many years, perhaps workplace lawsuits have become acceptable practice today and, like many other things, this dinosaur will just have to adjust.
Then again, just because some "ways" have been around for a long time doesn't mean it's time for a change.
Maybe it's just time to toughen up and get on with the rest of life.
DC Williams - Exclusively for Motorsport.com