“Administrative leave”

So one of the things that has happened in the course of my lifetime is that now everyone carries cameras around with them all the time. And this has a bunch of not-necessarily-foreseen effects, some good and some not good. One of the surprising good effects (also, of course, helped by an active activist movement) is that all sorts of low-level racial discrimination has become very documentable, to the extent that when the Times publishes an article about individual incidents, it sometimes includes a paragraph at the end explaining the broader nature of the phenomenon:

The incident follows several high-profile confrontations between white people and black people who are engaging in everyday activities, including several at pools. Many of them have been popularized by hashtags — the Indianapolis encounter has been tagged as #SwimmingSheriffSusie, in apparent reference to the off-duty officer.

In Memphis, a white manager of an apartment complex was fired after she called the police on a black man wearing socks in the pool on the Fourth of July.

In North Carolina, a white man was fired by his employer, a major international packaging supplier, after he demanded identification from a black woman at a private community pool on the Fourth of July and called the police when she refused.

In South Carolina, a white woman was charged with assault after she attacked a 15-year-old black boy at a neighborhood pool, telling him and his friends that they had to “get out” or she would call 911.

To me, this seems like a promising sign for the future. Actually, though, the reason that I decided to write a blog post about this particular article is the following sentence:

In a statement posted to its Facebook page, Barrett and Stokely Inc., the company that manages the apartment complex, said the apartment manager had been placed on “administrative leave” as the encounter is investigated.

I like the scare-quotes around “administrative leave”, but I would have liked even more to know what they said when asked to explain what that actually means.

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