WEIR ONLY HUMAN A Change We Can Believe In By BOB WEIR

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Weir_BobNow that
an African-American has been elected and reelected to the highest office in the
land, are we ready to come to the conclusion that Affirmative Action has
worked, therefore, it is no longer necessary? In 1961, President Kennedy signed
an executive order instructing federal contractors to take "affirmative
action" to ensure against discrimination. Three years later, President
Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act which prohibited race-based discrimination
by large employers, public or private. In doing so he created the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC), which became the driving force in Affirmative Action policies. Soon, the policy was expanded to include other minorities and women,
mandating that they receive favored treatment in hiring and promotions. Since
then there have been several Supreme Court rulings and presidential assertions
about the use of quotas in hiring and in acceptance to educational
institutions.   

Anyone who has been around for the last few decades has witnessed a sea change
in attitudes by whites toward blacks. And, anyone aware of recent history knows
that the days of "white only" and "colored only" water
fountains, segregated schools and sitting in the back of the bus are ugly
memories of hypocrisy for a country that proudly touted its freedom and the
Constitution that guaranteed it. In addition, the women's movement has
successfully changed attitudes in the marketplace and in the political arena.
Undoubtedly, the country needed a balancing of the scales if those
disadvantaged groups were ever to be competitive with their more privileged
counterparts. The question that many are now asking is; how much more evidence
is needed to end a policy that uses discrimination to, ostensibly, end
discrimination? A few decades ago, the idea of a woman, or a black man, being
seriously considered for president was unfathomable to most voters. After
Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton in 2008 and Mitt Romney last year, it should
be patently evident, despite what you may think about the choice, that this
generation is more enlightened than its predecessors.

With two presidential election victories to his credit, one thing is certain,
the number of whites who have cast their ballots for Mr. Obama proves that, for
most voters, color is not a negative aspect of their decision. In fact, for
many voters, both black and white, Obama's blackness may have been the most
significant reason for their
choice. With all of the foregoing in mind, how can we continue to use a policy
that appears to refute and disregard the progress made by blacks since 1961?
With an African-American leading the most powerful nation on earth for 8 years,
is it fair to maintain a system that prolongs the discrimination of qualified
whites in favor of less qualified blacks?  

Furthermore,
the very idea of continuing a policy which drives home the message that blacks
can't make it in this country without racial quotas and preferences makes a
mockery of, not only Obama's political success, but of every black person's
efforts to reach personal goals without the stigma of having done so only
because the government gave them an unfair advantage. To say that some
prejudice still exists is to say that the sun still rises in the east.
"Some" prejudice will always exist, but as long as it is relegated to
a narrow-minded coterie of ignorant malcontents and not identified with the
overwhelming majority of decent people, it shouldn't be used to justify what is
merely another form of discrimination. If blacks are ever to be viewed as
equals, the perception of them as needy must change. 

Inasmuch as our president has mesmerized a sizable portion of a nation with his
eloquent oratory about "change," why not make a change proclaiming
that Affirmative Action had its intended effect and is now as much a relic of the past as those
"Negroes need not apply" signs that stood in the windows of retail
stores in the old South? Nevertheless, many blacks are reluctant to
relinquish the boost they get from Affirmative Action because it cuts down on the competition,
which is certainly an advantage we'd all like to have. But when that advantage
saddles them with the image that they are incapable of succeeding against
whites, even though the playing field has been leveled, the myth of inferiority
will persist. Then the question will be; how
many
African-American presidents, senators, governors and
billionaires will it take to cause a psychological shift among the black
population that will give them the confidence to compete without special
advantages awarded by the government? Obama's ascendancy makes it abundantly
clear that Martin Luther King's "dream" has been realized. Perhaps
it‘s time for Obama to say, "Ending Affirmative Action is a change we can
believe in."

Bob Weir
is a veteran of 20 years with the
New York Police Dept. (NYPD),
ten of which were performed in plainclothes undercover assignments. Bob began a
writing career about 12 years ago and had his first book published in 1999.
 Bob went on to write and publish a total of seven novels, “Murder in
Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly
to Love,” “Short Stories of
Life and Death,” and “Out of Sight.” He
also became a syndicated columnist under the title “Weir Only Human.”

 

eHeziWEIR ONLY HUMAN A Change We Can Believe In By BOB WEIR

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