American Experience
Early Years: Pivotal Decisions
Pivotal Decisions: Higher Wages or a Better Classification?


You chose Choice Two. Dr. Blalock should quietly lobby for a new job classification for Thomas.

Although he can't do anything about the money, Dr. Blalock could probably influence the decision about Thomas' job title.

PROS

Changing a job classification in a university medical department could be less difficult than trying to wrangle a pay raise.
Reclassification would affirm the importance of Thomas' contributions and provide some measure of dignity.
Thomas should be recognized for performing his lab duties as well or better than many of his peers, black or white.

CONS

Changing a job classification for a black man in the segregated South could be more difficult than raising his pay.
The change in classification may not necessarily lead to a change in pay.
Despite the change, Thomas may have to leave to find better paying work.




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