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Monday, March 26, 2007

A law that could make a difference

Right now, we are in a state of perpetual gridlock when it comes to federal laws. In many ways, that's a good thing. Our national legislators are locally focused, generally more interested in staying in power than writing good legislation and too aware of opinion surveys to do what might be unpopular but best for the common welfare.

So, there's that.

All of the above is a good excuse for Congress' weird fascination with the 10 commandments, flag burning, abortion and a host of other stylized issues. Mixed in with that stew of pop culture jalapenos is Affirmative Action. And, to be honest, Affirmative Action doesn't do much. I'm African American and it's never DIRECTLY helped me. It's easily circumvented and lightly wielded. In practice, what it has done is supplement Title IX -- which is meant to aid women. White women have BY FAR benefited most from Affirmative Action. But, its intent -- which is to mitigate 400 hundred years of slavery on these shores -- still seems to piss off white people of a certain bent.

I would suggest that Affirmative Action be taken out of the pot of things that liberals and conservatives can clash over. I'm tired of hearing that Affirmative Action cheats both white people and black people; I'm weary of Ward Connerly suggesting that maybe African Americans don't have the intellectual capacity to attend UCLA or Berkeley.

What I would LOVE is for Affrimative Action to receive less emphasis and have legislators genuinely attack the problem of African American disenfranchisement in a system that we are intrinsically part of -- we and our ancestors built much of the physical and economic infrastructure of this nation.

It seems to me a no-brainer that legislators could do something like this:

Create a law that allows African American citizens to designate a SIGNIFICANT portion of their income tax towards a) homeownership loans b) educational grants and c) business loans to African Americans.

It's got a rough precedent -- Indian Casinos. It doesn't affect white Americans DIRECTLY. It answers those questions of 'What can I do to help?' of the black Middle Class. It's a self-help strategy that is immune to the "I've never owned a slave" argument. I'll even venture a guess that it would be a hell of a lot cheaper than prisons or welfare.

Still, the liberals will hate it because it lets white people off the hook and white conservatives will hate it because it won't apply to them. My answer -- grow up. People are dying and we are wasting valuable human lives playing these stupid games.

Now, if we could find a legislator -- even a city or state legislator -- with the courage and conviction to make this happen we'd have something.


link | posted by Jae at 11:13 AM |


3 Comments:

Blogger Renegade Eye commented at 3:30 PM~  

Whatever Affirmative Action legislation that exists, came through the brave civil rights fighters, as in groups as SNCC.

Blogger Graeme commented at 11:36 PM~  

Conservatives live in this fantasy utopia everyone is born on a level playing field and the rich are rich because they work harder. There is no such thing as systemic racism (or there is, but whites are the victims).

Blogger troutsky commented at 7:20 AM~  

It seems like a half measure to me,but then my goal goes beyond just seeing more people in the middle class. The question we should be asking is why do rich ,white males recieve so much institutionalized "affirmative action"? Either we as a society consider reparations to folks who were "robbed" of their rightful wealth (slaves, aboriginal people,etc)and have it done with or we perpetuate racial animosity through favoritism.I believe all workers are "robbed" of their rightful wealth so suggest a total overhaul.

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