Was your race or ethnicity a factor in your ability to build trust with the disputants?


Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

What we often try to do is, if we can, have a team. I prefer to have a team, especially in high profile cases when there is a lot of contentiousness and racial conflict; if for no other reason than to have all the parties feel comfortable with the process and with the team.

Question:
Implicit is that it's an inter-racial team?

Answer:
Yes. Inter-racial team is usually what I'm talking about. We tried to use it in a lot of work and high profile cases, such as in the Latino community.

Question:
Do you think race tends to be a factor in generating trust in terms of the race of the mediator?

Answer:
I think so. What we try to do is neutralize anything that could adversely affect the process. I think it's easier to gain trust when you have a biracial team. The history of long competency of the mediator is critical, but it's another part of the process. Sometimes you don't have the luxury and you have to do it yourself and we do it. In the UMass case we felt that because of the high profile and the intensity of the tensions that it would be important to us to start right away with a bi-racial team.






Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

No, you never write when you can call, you never call when you can visit. on-site assessments are essential in this business.

Question:
You can look at them and they can look at you?

Answer:
Absolutely, absolutely. I mean you know coming from New York, the first two cases I ever had, one in Dublin, GA, and one in Cairo, GA. The sheriff said to me, "You sound like one of them Yankees. You don't know what a n****r problem is until you get down there and see some of these n****rs." I said, "Well Sheriff, I just may do that." I flew into Tallahassee, rented a car, drove across the state line, and I went into the sheriff's office, and the female deputy said, "Can I help you?" I said, "Yes, I am here to see sheriff Lane Waldroff." She said, "Go out there and have a seat around the corner where the rest of the black color people are." I said, "Thank you." I saw him come out, walk around and everything, and that's when I said, "Darn, he should've been here by now." I called the airport, that plane landed. So after a while, he came and said, "Can I help you boy?" I said, "I'm Bob Ensley." He said, "Well I'll.....You're a n****r!"




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Was your own race, ethnicity, age, or gender, ever a problem with you gaining trust?

Answer:
Oh yeah. I went into Monroe Prison, in the state of Washington, in response to a request from some of the African American inmates. They had arranged for me to talk with some of their members of the Black Prisoners Organization. Two or three of the members of this group, when we sat down to talk, upon hearing my accent, they asked, "Where you from?" "Alabama." It was immediate skepticism that anybody from Alabama could be of any help in this situation, or would be willing to be of any help. Really, there were times like this.

Question:
How were you able to get around that initial skepticism?

Answer:
Well, the same way I would when making a presentation to any group. I'd first try to get myself out of the way, by saying, "My name is Bob Hughes and as you notice, I am not from this area. I was born and raised in Alabama." Try to be up front and honest and open, and hopefully, get past that quickly in order to deal with more substantial issues. Deal with issues at hand. I would usually try to or make a joke about it. "I'm Bob Hughes, and as you noticed, I'm from South Mercer Island, or south Seattle."




Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
So there are two things I'm hearing. One is that in this instance, your own race and history was a significant trust building opportunity for them.

Answer:
Absolutely, and we say that in CRS. Sometimes, color itself is one of the greatest credentials to be in a room. Had nothing to do with exceptional ability, it has to do with our dignity. My identity with the struggle, not just my color, was the thing that nobody in the room could deny, and they knew that, and being black, I pursued the black struggle. It was long and every once in a while successful. I was able to convey that to them, and I do a lot of things.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Taking yourself outside of this particular place, because you mentioned race earlier, were there times when race and possibly your gender, or your age affected your experience?

Answer:
You mean in this case?

Question:
In this case, I'm sensing that it really didn't, that they accepted you for who you were, based on your abilities. Taking yourself outside of this particular case, was race, gender, or age a problem or a concern?

Answer:
Not to my knowledge. Very few times has that happened. I'm not naive enough to think that there were people who might not have wanted me there because of my race or gender or whatever. It just didn't become an explosive issue very often. I think that might have been because there's one thing that people do respect, whether they trust you or not and that's the fact that you come from the Justice Department because it carries a lot of weight especially with the official community. I didn't dwell on anything like that going into a situation and being somebody other than who I was. In thirty years, I have had very few experiences where somebody has said, "We're not going to meet with you because you're black." I can only remember one time where we were two African American guys going into a situation that had nothing to do with African Americans and the people wanted to try to sell us short. That was way up in Blue Sky, South Dakota. They were straightened out very quickly by a white female who came in and laid it on the line. She was just an outspoken person up in that town. That's the only time I can ever recall where race was an issue. You go in, you're official and if you act like that, you're going to be treated like that.

Question:
Can we ask you a hypothetical question, though, going back to when you first went to Montana and the women said, "My gosh, I wasn't expecting a black man." Do you think if you had been a white man, that the reception would have been considerably different? Do you think that your race helps generate trust?

Answer:
No, it didn't generate trust. She was just surprised they had any of us working. That's all that was. It didn't have anything to do with whether she could trust a white man or not. Because as a matter of fact, I knew she knew quite a few white people that seemed to like her and she seemed to like them. No, she said it because she just wasn't expecting the person she got. And that's about it.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Although, there were times when being a black person and going into one of these big-time white police establishments like New York or Chicago or some place like that. Or even here, it was like pushing. They didn't want to trust me. The first time I rode with the Boermont police department, who were called in during the riots in Denver, it was said by some of the department's good old boys, "You can't trust that guy." They didn't even know me. They had never met me. That was the first time I had been introduced to this particular district. Here you've got these guys shooting their mouths off. "You can't trust that black guy. What is he going to do out there? He's not going to do anything but... So be careful about what you say around him." And the way I found out about it is a white friend of mine on the police department came back and told me. He said, "Watch your back. Because they're saying that you can't be trusted." And I was just as dumbfounded as I can be trying to figure out, "Why in the heck did they say that? I don't even know these people. I haven't even been out." That was the life. That was the way it was. You had to learn to deal with that.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

See, that goes back to some people being concerned about, "Hey, you got a black guy coming into a black situation? You know he's not going to be impartial." That's because that's a reflection on themselves. Because they know they're dishonest. And they see you coming in, they figure you're going to cheat.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

It was difficult to get in to see the black inmates. They were a Muslim group. I was the "white devil", (which they later called me in their newsletter) who could not be trusted. They verbally abused me. You know, you expect some of that. The BBDCO said "we canít end the lock up," and it became apparent to us that they were using the lock up, as leverage against the institution.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Let me now get us to the table. It took a lot of prodding to get the inmate groups to complete their agendas. The BBDCO didnít really buy in, and they loved the time out of their cells. They were negotiating, and a coffee cart or donuts would come to the room where they were putting their agenda together and theyíd be sitting with their feet up doing no work. It took forever, but with the help of the outside groups, we finally got some agendas together. One day the Hispanic inmates came to Efrain Martinez and said, "Hey can we trust that guy Salem?Ē He said, "Ah, what do you mean?" "Heís white, how can you trust him?" "But what do you have to lose?Ē I was the white devil.

Question:
That never changed?

Answer:
I doubt it. I wouldnít expect it to change in a prison environment and sometimes its true outside. It is hard to tell how much is real and how much is rhetoric. When Mandela was negotiating with deKlerk, one of them, because his constituency demands it, stands up and blasts the other ruthlessly over an unacceptable position or statement. This happens, and then you figure out how to make it right. They understand what is going on, so they can see their way through it, and this was happening here. For some of the BBDCO members, I was white and had to be the enemy. Ok they needed an enemy and I was the target at that point. We finally got the agendas, and we called a meeting of all of the residents.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did you ever feel that your race or gender was a factor in your gaining trust with the parties?

Answer:
Here in Boston in particular or in general?

Question:
Well, Boston first . . .

Answer:
If I had not been white I couldn't have gone there everyday, just for safety reasons, so it would've been difficult. Now we had black staff and a Hispanic person who could sort of get away with going out there, but I did it more. We didn't have any permanent Hispanic staff in the regional office at that particular point. If the black staff knew exactly where they were going, and how to get there, and they didn't get out of the car until they were in the parking lot, well in the school they were safe, but otherwise they were not. We had one conciliator who came up from the Atlanta office who got lost and got in trouble. He just managed to get back in his car and almost threatened to run some people over to get out of there, but he was feeling very unsafe, trying to figure out where to go and how to get there safely. So if we had staff from out of the region, there was no way we could safely send them into that part of the community. It got to the point where I felt much safer in the black neighborhoods than I did in South Boston, because there were folks in South Boston who knew me and who weren't crazy about me. During the day it was pretty much safe, but I didn't want to walk dark streets at night alone in South Boston.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Going in a very different direction now, let's talk a little bit about how you build trust with the people you are working with. One of the things that I am especially interested in is that you are a white woman.

Answer:
You noticed.

Question:
I did. But the people reading your interview won't know.

Answer:
Quick story: I belong to a church out in Montebello which is predominately African American; I am not the only white, but I am the exception rather than the rule. Anyway, our minister out there is African American as well, and he was preaching about race relations one Sunday the idea that color really doesn't matter, and how we ought to get along with everyone, and how inclusiveness is part of what we pride ourselves on in that church. And that's true. And he said, "You know, sometimes I forget that Silke is white," and I said, "Well, don't worry about it. Sometimes I forget, too." So it depends on the setting, it depends on who I'm talking to. Early on in some cases, I'll say, "Look, I understand that I am a white woman who used to live in New York. What do I know? So help me understand. What do I need to know to be able to work here? I don't try to pretend that I know what you are going through because I don't. Even if I do, I am not going to say that I know, because I recognize that I need to learn from you." And, most people appreciate talking to someone who doesn't think they have all of the answers. And again, I do a lot of listening. Time is no object. Those first few trips I schedule very few meetings, because I want people to have as much time as they need to tell me everything that they think I need to know. If they get angry, that is fine. If it takes a long time, that's fine. And if you want to beat up on the government, that is fine too. You know, I have broad shoulders I can take it. I also try to be very clear about what I can and can't do so that people don't have false expectations, and I think for the most part they appreciate that. "Now, here is what I can do and here is what I can't do." The other thing that I have found is that in many cases and particularly in some of these grassroots communities people just appreciate you returning their calls, not dismissing them, just acknowledging and validating their concerns. Even if I can't change the racism that prevails in a particular area, it doesn't take terribly long to have that common human denominator and get past the "Well you are white and I am not" or "You're Indian or you're black or your Hispanic or whatever, and I am not" phase.




Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I don't know whether they rejected the advice when the other CRS staff person told them the same thing the day before because he was an African American. They finally did all the things that we recommended. The day before they had not. Two things I think happened. The problems continued and there was a sense that their rejection of our recommendations did not work for them. Maybe the fact that I was a white person stating it to them helped them accept our recommendations.



Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

When you come into a case, does your own race or ethnicity play a role?

Answer:
Well, being of Asian ancestry, I think it has really been an asset in a lot of ways. I'll tell you why. With Native Americans, they respect Asians because we have a strong family values and a high regard for education. When I talk to Native Americans, they say, "Oh, your people believe in family and elders. They hold a high respect and reverence for families and elders." There's a click there. They can identify with that. When I work with Latino community, they tend to be more passive and they tend to have strong family convictions, and they respect that of the Asian population. When I work with African-American communities -- I used to live in South Central -- often I fall into Black dialect very naturally. When I tell them I grew up in South Central, and where I grew up and what church I went to and all that, it takes a lot of tension and distrust out of the relationship. Asian Americans are accepted as minorities that have experienced prejudice, and that opens doors for me in race related mediation.






Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

But I think race has not been a problem for me because I grew up in a multi-racial community and I think I have strong interpersonal skills and for that reason it hasn't really come up. In particular, communities often say we like your people because I know they are really looking at me as a cultural person.





Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The same thing happened with the African American community. I'd make contact with someone who was working with these kids, and he would take me in there. Of course, they immediately see that I'm not African American, so there's a lot of questions about, "Whose side are you going to be on?" So I said, "Look. The only way we can get past that is for you to try me out, and then I'll come back and talk to you." I didn't dare bring in an African American worker with me, because the response would be, "Look at you! You need that guy to come in here and talk to us. You can't do it on your own." So I kept going back and eventually the guys agreed that maybe we ought to get together and talk about the issues. In the meantime, there was a high school principal that agreed to work with me, as well as an African American gang worker. There was another school representative as well, an African American, that agreed to work with us to bring these kids together and help determine what could be done. They had a much greater influence on those kids than I ever could. So there was an agreement: "Let's confront those cops and see what we can do about this whole situation."



Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Immediately. "You're Mexican, well, we know whose side you're on." With the community folks also, "You're Department of Justice? Well... We don't expect much." And with the police, "You're with the community? Oh. For a minute I thought you were one of us."



Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

He's a Mexican American, number one. I had a few drinks with him. When he first met me, he looked at my shoes, and he said, "What kind of shoes are those?" And I said, "Well, they're the kind of shoes that I like." At the time, during that era, they were the kind of boots that were up to your ankle and you zipped them up and they shined. And that just didn't go with him. I had to wear cowboy boots. "No," he said. "Here, I'm giving you a pair of cowboy boots." "I can't accept them." "Well just wear them during this." I finally agreed to wear them, so that was good enough for him, and so once that was done we sat down.



Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Do you ever think that your race or your gender affected the trust of a party? And in what way?

Answer:
With Latinos, negative and positive. With African Americans, negative and positive, mostly negative. More so than Latinos, of course. With whites, you were there and they tried to get you out of there as soon as they could. So you had to build your trust with them. With the Latinos, I already brought some level of trust because I'm "one of them." But there are situations where, although you're a Latino, they still don't trust you. Especially in law enforcement cases where in many cases, Latino officers are a hell of a lot more vicious than similar white or African American officers. The same way in the African community, but not as much in the Latino community. They want to be as much of a cop as the white cop. In some cases, not all cases. With the African American community, if the case didn't involve Latinos, the question would be, "Why not an African American mediator?" So then you had to work through that, and in most cases they'd be able to develop some trust and would be able to carry out the mediation. And if they say, "We insist on an African American mediator," you'd have to take off, go tell the boss and the boss will send an African American mediator. Although my boss believed that everyone should be able to do mediation, that's not necessarily the case. An African American mediator, from the very get-go, is going to be better working with African Americans. That's as good as anybody else working with the officials. And with the Latinos, it's going to be the same way. It's going to be much easier to work with Latinos than working with officialdom. With officials, you're there and they've got to do something about it. With whites, it's the same way. You're going to have to prove yourself with the Latinos, you're going to have to prove yourself with the African Americans.




Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did you ever feel like your own race or ethnicity was a factor in gaining people's trust?

Answer:
Yes, most certainly. Because they know no matter where you come from, what area in the country you're raised in, there's a commonality. We just gravitate toward one another because of our color and pigmentation and there's a certain measure of understanding. I know what suffering they were going through. I've been the victim, I've been subject to a lot of that myself. So I fully understood.




Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So the Panthers wanted to have a ...

Answer:
They wanted confrontation. They wanted to always engage in this confrontational rhetoric. They had a slogan, talking about the power of the ice pick, and this didn't help anybody. So finally I went him and said, "What would happen if it became known that you said that? You know, when you get out here in the limelight, you attract an awful lot of attention. Why don't we just try to find a way that we can all work harmoniously? I said, "I have no problem with you out here, nobody else does, and you're out here supporting JoAnn Little." I said, "Most of the people out here are supporters. Why do you feel as a need, you have to be the dominant group?" I said, "Come on now, you don't need all of this." It was enough to persuade him. But then he got into a fight with a local minister. They were going to kill one another. So I had to step in and get them to stop this nonsense. I had to use some unkind words. Sometimes you have to talk tough, because if they feel you are a little weak then they can run all over you. I said, "I may be small, but I'm one mean SOB. And I'm going to show you how mean I can be," I said, "if you don't stop all that bull. Now it's time to sit down and refocus and let's see where we're going to go. Here we are, all of us black, but I can guess that a redneck out here with a badge and a gun scared the hell out of all of you. But you're big bullies, and bad with one another. Now it's time to realize that you are powerless without unity!"




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

It's interesting that you were able to convene the meeting with the KKK. Did your race or ethnicity ever become a factor in the negotiations?

Answer:
Sometimes. But I had meetings with them, the Imperial Grand Wizard and the Grand Dragon, and they differentiated between me and rest. I was Hispanic and the rest were wetbacks. They were planning a demonstration, and they don't say anything about Hispanics, but they say wetbacks, chinks, gooks, Jews, and all that. So I was sort of different. In fact, that guy called me a year or so ago, and he had some problems over there. But he had reformed. He said, "I no longer call people wetbacks. They are Hispanics." Great, that's progress. It's always personal. If I only dealt with people that agreed with me, I'd be the most lonely person out there. It's when they start putting some of these racist beliefs into action that it becomes a concern of mine. Depending on what that action is.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

And just like you were saying, "I'm Hispanic, right," so the other side would think I'm biased toward Hispanics. But it was a way of asking the question that does not convey a bias. It's a neutral question and it comes back with what information you need. Instead of saying, "Oh that's a beautiful sky, the sky is blue and it's got some white." Well that's my opinion, I would say, "What do you think about the sky?" Or, "A lot of people think the sky is blue." So it's not me anymore, it's a lot of people, it's somebody else. Then I'm still clean as to my position. It encourages that person to give you their perception without my influencing what he/she is going to tell me.



Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

They were reluctant at first, of course, because they didn't know us. But being Hispanic, or Chicano, and them being Chicano made them feel more at ease. They felt that" maybe this guy can help, and maybe this agency can help."



Wallace Warfield


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Have you ever had a problem where you werenít trusted because of your race?

Answer:
Sure. I did an intervention in one of the bigger midwestern cities. Again, it was a situation of police using excessive force. It was a mediation, and I donít think the police chief trusted me; I think he felt that I was not neutral. So I think there was a situation where the mediation broke down. I donít know that it broke down completely because the police chief didnít trust me; I think there were other factors involved....

Question:
Were you able to get around that?

Answer:
Again, without fully knowing the real reason the mediation broke down, itís hard to say. I was there on two occasions for relatively short intervals, for maybe two days. Itís hard to say, without a lot of discourse in between the actual sessions, what aspect of this had to do with the fact that he didnít trust me. I donít think he would have ever said that, and I would have had to attempt to ferret that out in some form or fashion, which would have been difficult to do without more exposure to him and more feedback.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What about the outside world? Was your race an issue when you went into the field?

Answer:
Sure, race was an issue for anyone who went into the field and interacted with other races. Itís a fact of life. Factors that influence that were, were you new on a scene, how did you compose yourself, what were the tension levels, who were you meeting with locally, who were you with from your own staff, who invited you in, who was there from the community? All of these things could be factors in how you were treated. Like mediation of any kind, your job was to build trust. You had to build trust. If you didnít, you couldnít work effectively. Some will say "If you canít build trust, get out of there and go home.Ē Well, you canít always get out of there.

Question:
What do you do?

Answer:
You do the best you can. You canít tell in advance how it will work out.

Question:
If you were dealing with a black/white situation, did you try to get a black staff person involved? Did you try to match the race of the mediator to the problem?

Answer:
Yes, depending on the problem and the circumstances. Iíve given you some examples where that was not the case, but some people came over the years and theyíve been working in this office for many years and have built constituencies. So there was a black member of my staff in Chicago who had a lot of rapport. He would go to the NAACP state meetings, which was appropriate, he was a senior person. He would get calls, sometimes directly from them. They would call him, not me. That was appropriate too, because they knew him and he had been there for them.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Red Cross had a couple women there, so I wasn't the only woman in the room. And so, even though they were all sort of the white establishment, if you will, they were not one party. They were different entities. And so for those three days, all of them were there.





Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Do you think that your own race, or ethnicity, or gender played any significant part?

Answer:
It played a very significant role. Little question about that, because what was at stake was the fact that few or no minorities were in the media. Minorities were playing almost no roles, and the fact that here was someone who had broken through those barriers and was able to talk to them made an impact.




Ernest Jones


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Let's talk about trust, the significance of trust, not only in this case of Louisville, and the police officers, but in general as a mediator, how important is it for you to gain the trust of the parties?

Answer:
Well, I think it's extremely important. Let's say I'm doing mediation and during the process, my sense is that I didn't gain the trust of one of the parties, or both of the parties, and the mediation is not successful, and maybe we go back to court or whatever else they were doing. In that particular situation, I would then not view that I had made my goal. I would not have accomplished the goal because that element, not having gained that trust which is part of the mediation process, is unsuccessful. So the mediation wasn't successful and I accept the blame for that. I also recognize that there are going to be individuals that are not going to trust me no matter what I do, simply because I'm a Fed or simply because I am white.

Question:
Before we took a little break you were talking about how race may affect your job. How your position with the Department of Justice may affect your job. Could you just continue talking about that?

Answer:
What was the context?

Question:
I think you were talking about it in terms of the trust issues with the parties who were involved in this particular case, the Louisville police department and black police officers.

Answer:
The trust issues there were ok. They got better as time went along which will happen in all situations unless you've had a history or experience with somebody in other circumstances of the case activity or something. At the initial point of contact I think the trust level is generally low because the other people just don't know who you are or where you're coming from. Often just the term the Department of Justice pops these pictures into people's minds of all kinds of things and most of them (but not all of them) are kind of pointed away from the trust as opposed to toward trust. But you work around that and you build it. You can build it over a short period of time if you put some effort into it. My experience has been just shoot straight with people and generally speaking that is enough.

Question:
I think that also before we broke you were talking about the building trust or sustaining trust in a group and that's when you were explaining that some people are simply not going to trust you because of maybe some exterior factors or whatever. Was that the case with the Louisville police officers?

Answer:
No, first of all we went in with a biracial team.

Question:
Why was that important?

Answer:
Again it creates pictures in people's minds. A lot of that takes place on a subconscious level. I'm speculating here but I guess that most people don't say "Oh good a biracial team. We trust both of them now." But I think on a subconscious level they could sense a message that there's some equity here because the picture is kind of even.

Question:
How would it have been different for instance if only you went into that situation or only your partner had gone into that situation?

Answer:
Well, if only I had gone into it, I would have had to work harder with the black police officers organization because all of the FOP people are white. Actually the city team was diverse, and just by the very nature of how we are in this county, how we've been categorized, and the same holds true the other way. In fact it's probably more devastating the other way. I think a lot of times the people representing the Community Relations Services of the Department of Justice, if they are a minority, are perceived to be advocates more so than I am.

Question:
And what are you seen as?

Answer:
I'm the typical federal employee. That's what I'd expect from the Department of Justice kind of thing.

Question:
Is there a certain amount of validity, credibility that goes along with that?

Answer:
I'm sure there's some but I wouldn't attach any weight to it but I'm sure it's happened. And I don't know that it makes that big of a difference to be honest with you.

Question:
You don't feel that race or ethnicity affects...?

Answer:
Oh no, I'm sure it does I just like to think it's not that big of a factor.

Question:
Well, yeah we'd like to but by the nature of the work into which this organization was born, we know that that's not exactly true, so that's why I think we asked the question about how does your race and ethnicity affect the job that you have to do.

Answer:
It just makes it tougher to go in a minority situation particularly a black community, and find acceptance.

Question:
Were you ever able to work effectively when you felt the trust levels were low between either yourself and the parties, or between both parties or all of the parties?

Answer:
Yeah, I mean I go in and I know who I am and I realize that the people that I'm meeting for the first time don't know who I am but because I feel comfortable with who I am I don't worry about that thing. I know it comes up. When it comes up I'll deal with it. I don't go in thinking I have to deal with this.

Question:
So no one ever comes to you and says, maybe not in the Louisville case, but other cases that you were involved with. When you went into minority communities, did people approach you and say what are you doing here and I don't trust you because you are white, because you are male, because you are a certain age.

Answer:
I don't think I've ever had anybody say that to me. I'm sure that people have thought it but I don't think anybody has ever said that. I don't recall anybody ever having said that.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

It's the same idea with being Hispanic, dealing with issues involving Hispanics. I'll never stop being who I am, but I will try to be as fair and as impartial as I can.



Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Earlier, you mentioned the idea of same ethnicity, how do you think that factored into the trust level?

Answer:
I think it does. That isn't always the case, but in this case it did. I guess because you're familiar with the same thing, what I mean by that, you're not talking about food or those type of things, but you're familiar with people. Like Corky Gonzales who's a real active person in Denver. I knew of him and they knew of him. Other leaders in the community, we knew of them and they knew of them. So because you know them, and you mingle with them ,and now you're dealing with this group, they feel that the trust begins to build. They don't say "wow, because Manuel knows Corky we trust him." No, it's because they way you speak and the way you talk, what you provide and because you're there at all the various meetings that trust begins to build. Because you're taking an interest in them and you're there.







Copyright © 2000-2007
by Conflict Management Initiatives and the Conflict Information Consortium at the University of Colorado