Calvin Roach: made Cajun history

Something that I have been thinking about posting, is the fact that “a U.S. Federal court declared that Cajuns were protected from discrimination by federal law.” I mentioned something to other people before, but this is now something to bring out in the after effects of Katrina. After the storms of 2005, we saw how the promise to do better the next time, was just lip service. New Orleans seemed to be targeted, and many spoke out about how the minorities were left to die. It went so much deeper than many really understood. News agencies wanted to speak about how people were black or white when they chose how to report things. What the MSM did not understand, was that anyone that they got on film, was in fact a possible minority. The reason I say this, is that there was a case that in fact declared that “Cajuns were protected from discrimination by federal law.”

New Orleans, is part of an extended family. Those of us in the Third District, had our ancestors show up there and make their way to our present locations. New Orleans, is therefore the origin of our ancestors in this state. That is why you have to hear from the third district, that is also blue, if our brothers and sisters are harmed. After Katrina, our people went there and started rescue operations when the federal Government claimed that it was shut off. They are our brethren, and we love them. We welcomed them in our arms and showed them the love that only fellow family can give. When the current admin disrespected the citizens of New Orleans, they did the same to us! Over here, we were hit, but we did not have to deal with federal levees killing us off. we were lucky, because we are not protected here.

So what some tried to pawn off as a black thing, which in my humble opinion, did have something to do with it, the admin also turned their backs on an unknown minority. The whole state of Louisiana was disrespected.

Dr. Shane K. Bernard, author of the book The Cajuns: Americanization of a People said, “Calvin J. Roach, a Cajun from Mire, refused to be called a “coonass” by his employer, and, in the process made Cajun history when a U.S. Federal court sided with him, declaring that Cajuns were protected from discrimination by federal law.”

Mr. Roach brought to court a very important 20th Century issue: Are the Cajuns a federally recognized group subject to protection under the Civil Rights Act? Thankfully federal Judge Edwin Hunter ruled that they were protected in the case of Roach v. Dresser Industries, 494 F. Supp. 215 (W.D. La. 1980).

Now some might argue that people use the term “Coonass” every day. Well some Blacks use the term that we shall not mention, but that gives us no reason to use it, now does it? If it is used as a derogatory term, then it is offensive! The term “Coonass” is not used by many like me, because we have learned what it really means. This is what the alternative French dictionary describes the term as:

connasse ‡ cunt, bitch, etc note Insult towards a woman. No male form.

The article goes on to say that:

In holding that the case would be heard on its merits, and in rejecting the defendant’s contentions that since Acadia is not and never was an independent, sovereign nation, it could not be Calvin Roach’s “national origin,” the Judge said, “Distinctions between citizens solely because of their ancestors are odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality, and we decline to accept the argument that litigation of this sort should be governed by the principles of sovereignty.” The E.E.O.C. cited Roach approvingly in its Comments to its Guidelines on Discrimination Because of National Origin for the proposition that national origin is determined from a person’s “place of origin” and not limited to his “country of origin” (sovereignty).

For anyone that thinks this man was just a trouble maker, think again, he was a patriot!

He served in the U.S. Navy from 1942-46 in the Armed Guard as a gunner on board merchant ships that carried supplies and ammunition in the Pacific during WW II.

While attending SLI, Calvin worked part-time in the sugar mills of south Louisiana as a sugar chemist. He graduated from SLI with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1951.

Roach was first employed by General Electric in Massachusetts, then General Motors in California. While at Westinghouse, Roach was Product Manager of the Boeing Space Center in Seattle, WA. He then moved back to Shreveport to work for the Sperry Rand Corporation at the ammunition plant, which supplied 150mm artillery shells and plastic explosives used in the Vietnam War.

Dresser Industrial Valve and Instrument Division employed him in Alexandria as Manager of Industrial Engineering. At Three-Mile Island, a nuclear facility where a Dresser valve failed, Roach was asked to investigate the failures. When he presented his findings, that Dresser lacked proper quality control, Dresser supervisors became upset and called Roach a “Whistle Blower” and a “coonass.” When Roach objected to the use of the ethnic slur “coonass” by his superiors, Dresser Industries, the 12th largest company in the world, fired him in 1976. In response, Roach sued his former employer for ethnic discrimination, claiming that his outspoken refusal to be called a “coonass” had led to his termination.

Sound familiar? Can you say PLAME?

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