Posted by Joe Baker on July 01, 2003 at 10:37:25:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: isn't this is a good thing? Re: VPO posted by Bill Nazzaro on July 01, 2003 at 08:05:28:
Hey Bill, I just couldn't stay away from this any longer.
I think you're seeing "racism" where there is more likely just a fear of "overshooting".
We had a terrible situation in this country for most of our history. Slavery, followed by a century of institutionalized racism, left black Americans poorer and less educated than whites, and victims of a caste society that taught them early in life that they were not to have aspirations. There is no getting around the fact that this was a terrible, terrible thing, and anyone who is the least bit honest and decent would have to agree that some amount of extra help for some amount of time is necessary to level the playing field for future generations, and where possible for the present generation. Thus, during my youth in the 60s and 70s, while many individuals' prejudices continued to slant against black people, official policies began to slant in their favor. As I say, this was necessary in order to see that they got a chance.
But just as any fair and decent person would agree that some amount of favor was needed for some amount of time, any fair and decent person must surely also agree that this favor must come to an end at some time.
For the last several years, I have begun to see a backlash against affirmative action among non-racist whites. This backlash is borne of frustration, as they have stepped aside to make room at the table only to be told (by many self-annointed "leaders" of the black community) that things are just getting worse, and that there are no opportunities for black young people. They have nodded in understanding when their children were denied admission to schools to make room for less academically qualified minority applicants. They have been passed over for promotions in favor of less qualified minority workers. Then, after having made these sacrifices, to be told that it's of no account -- it's a slap in the face of those who don't deserve it. These are people who have seen the sins of their parents, and want desparately to do the right thing, but don't know what else they can do.
But perpetual favored status for blacks is not only unfair to the unfavored group; it also engenders an attitude of entitlement that is both addictive and poisonous, that some in fact have labelled (with good reason, I think) the "new plantation". After four decades of affirmative action and entitlements, there is a huge schizm within the black community. On the one hand are those who have seen the opportunities and taken advantage of them -- and as a result no longer need special help. On the other hand are those who have taken the "free ride" -- a ride into multi-generational poverty, fatherless homes, and skyrocketing crime and imprisonment rates.
The question, then, is how and when does the special status end?
Many people, myself included, fully supported many of the policies that gave black people a 'hand up' during the 60s, 70s, and even the 80s, but feel that it's time now to at least start taking our foot off the accelerator. We don't want to slam on the brakes, and we sure don't want to throw it in reverse; but we want to be sure we don't radically overshoot equality to the point that there is a new downtrodden class or a class of the perpetually dependent. Welfare reform was a ground-breaking first step, and it has helped make life better for former welfare recipients, as well as saving a little bit of taxpayer money. We mustn't be
Joe Baker, who hopes he is judged by the content of his character, not the color of his skin.