Mistakes.I'm sure a lot of folks just think, "Why don't you quit?!" Well, there are a number of good answers to that question. One is that such inequity is not unique to any given employer or position. I've seen it at various companies, as a "worker bee" and as a manager.
West can't put the wrong font on a page.
Others can produce reports with unbalanced data.
West is at-fault if someone asks for A, B, C but really wanted X, Y, Z.
Others who hear West say one thing are free to assume he means something else entirely.*
West is a problem because he must be reminded to do things he can't do until others do their part.
Others who fail to do their parts, due to their own faulty memory, are excused because... ummm. Well, just because.
Whenever this comes up, someone usually makes a ton of excuses for the employer. This is probably no exception (assuming anyone comments), but here's a more specific example:
I worked at a place where almost everyone had a pager so they could be contacted at any part of the facility. Not long after I started, I found out that I had a reputation for being unreachable.There's always a reason why these types of things couldn't POSSIBLY have anything to do with skin color, yet I can't help notice the similarities between those that have experienced this kind of thing... and those that usually haven't.
Why? Well, it seems that someone messed up and put a pager number next to my name on the directory, but no pager had been issued to me, yet. So people thought I'd been consistently ignoring their pages - but they never said anything about it in-person.
Later, that pager number was eliminated from the directory.
Later still, I'm exiting the manufacturing area when my boss walks by. "There you are. I've been paging you all morning. I didn't think you were in."
"Uhh. J, I don't have a pager."
He looks at me sideways.
"No, really. You said you would, but you never gave me one."
We walk and talk, as I maintain that I've never received a pager from him. We stand by his cubicle for a while, then he seems to have an epiphany and tells me to follow him. We walk toward my cubicle as he says, "This is your and my fault."
I couldn't wait to find out how it was my fault.
We reached my "desk," slips his hand under it, and pulls out a black, plastic drawer I never even knew was there. The drawer was underneath the "desk" writing area and recessed so you had to feel for it to pull it out - which meant, of course, that you needed to know it was there in the first place. I didn't.
In that drawer he pulled out... a pager. He'd put it there some time before, but never told me, so it'd still been sitting there.
I got how that was his fault, but I never got how it was mine. Yet and still, my reputation endured... especially when it was discovered that the pager number they put in the directory was the wrong one. It wasn't even assigned to the pager I'd been given.
By the way, the reason I knew I had this reputation was because a Black guy, whom I hardly knew, took me aside one day and told me what people were saying. Apparently, they had a nickname or an in-joke associated with me. He said not to sweat it too much because the same kind of reputation was attached to him when he first arrived (although I didn't ask if he'd received the same kinda "your fault and mine" blame I had) and he eventually shook it.
He just wanted to let me know, (Black) man-to-(Black)man, what was going on behind my back.
Oh yeah, that boss of mine... he held that pager thing against me when evaluation time came around.
* - Example: "In the future, we should make sure x is done before y," means "I don't want to do my job."