The Mood Disorder Clinic

Letter From Pittsburgh

A poem with a vivid title has started a brouhaha at the Mood Disorder Clinic at Western Psychiatric in Pittsburgh. "Nigger Do Not Speed In My Town" was discovered on a desk by two black employees who reported it to the EEOC as evidence of a racist environment at the Mood Disorder Clinic. The offended employees said their own moods were seriously jeopardized by the incendiary poem found on the desk of a white administrative secretary who was being paid $50 per hour by a personal friend to type and proofread it for future publication.

Following an internal investigation, officials of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center discovered that the author of the poem is a local black poet, Michael Robinson, who wrote it as an angry response to the beating of Rodney King. The poem that Robinson had written and asked his friend to type was critical social commentary about the behavior of white police in Los Angeles. Robinson is baffled that his poem is being interpreted as evidence of a culture of discrimination at UPMC.

Surprise, surprise. A Pittsburgh attorney who handles workplace discrimination cases said that the author's identity in this case is irrelevant. The question, says the attorney in the Pittsburgh Business Times, is "whether the poem is going to be admissible as evidence to show an atmosphere. It probably would be."

The Pittsburgh Business Times agreed, taking...

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