This post will be entirely related to the recent US Supreme Court decision that The Wall Street Journal so kindly outlines for us here. Basically, the decision ruled in favor of a group of white firefighters that sued the city of New Haven, CT for denying them promotions solely because of their race. Juicy enough for you? Let's talk it out...
OK, so Race War is something I'm familiar with. Just kidding. Actually the opposite is true. Being a recent alumnus of Reston College, the amount of diversity we experience puts the graduates of our fair institution probably in the top 1% of liberally-minded people when it comes to race. Boundaries simply should not exist because of color. People are just people!
But boundaries do exist. And color does matter. Just as it did for these firefighters. After taking a test to EARN a promotion (I will come back to the word EARN in a minute), they were told the test would be thrown out. The reason? Not enough minorities did well on the test, and the city wanted to avoid being sued by affirmative action supporters. The merit of the individual was disregarded because of the failure of a group, and that group happened to be made up of people that shared one similarity: they were minorities. Thus, personal performance and achievement were trumped by race. The race card once again acted as a net to save minorities that stumbled and a governor on the engines of advancement for the white individuals that worked hard to succeed and move forward.
Did the department intend for the test to hold minorities back? Decidedly not. They even testified that the reason they threw out the test was because it made them liable to suits by affirmative action supporters! In my mind, that means they did nothing wrong. They intended for the outcome of the test to act as a basis for promoting deserving individuals, and they even hoped that a significant number of these individuals would be minorities. So intent to make things fair was clearly their.
And that is all that matters. Or at least all that should matter. And the Supreme Court apparently agrees with me as their decision favors the white firefighters. And I thank them for entering the debate on race not on the side of white or black or any other color, but on the side of fairness.
I'll sum up now. For a long time race was used as a way to hold people back. Just as sex was. People feared difference, and fear turned to hatred and violence and simply evil. And good things have happened in the last fifty years to turn that around, thanks to heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others.
But we all know that. The question is where do we stand now? And I think the answer is that we have come nearly full circle. People see each other as equals, as people. We are now, finally, starting to look past race. No, not in every situation, but in both institutional and individual instances, and it's a noticeable change.
So we're down to the final question: where do we go from here? I fear that if things continue in the affirmative action vein, then race will begin to be used not as a reason to offer aid to minorities, but as a way to hold the majority back. And the Supreme Court seems to share my view in this manner. In this case it was clear that the city was holding white individuals back in order to allow for the group that did not do as well to succeed. And that group contained a substantial number of minorities, and it was clear that this was the SOLE reason that any action was taken at all. Situations like that cannot arise, and the Supreme Court was right to condemn this instance of it and all future instances as well.
EARN. I said it before, and I'm returning to it now. People, all people of all races, need to EARN their advancement. That is the American Dream. When people are held back or pushed forward without EARNING either treatment, the tenets of our great nation are put at risk, and that we simply cannot afford.
Given the same opportunities, race should not matter. Only what someone earns. However, people should be given the same opportunities, and the attempt to create equality, then, should come through balancing out the opportunities afforded to young people everywhere in terms of getting an education! If students are motivated to succeed, they should be given that opportunity. By the time they graduate from college, all students should have been given the same opportunities. What they chose to do with them, and what they choose to do after them, are entirely up to them.
Rx: Ignoring race completely
Monday, June 29, 2009
Posted by Doctor Dozer at 10:33 AM
expr:id='"post-" + data:post.id' >