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A Long Way From Race Not Being An Issue

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The US Supreme Court has ruled that race can be considered as part of admissions consideration for students. The court only confirmed the practice which has been in use ever since colleges and universities have been in existence; even before African Americans could legally apply to these institutions. Five of the justices ruled in favor of Affirmative Action knowing that this will protect the other discriminatory practices that guarantees people like George W. Bush access to Yale and other elite institutions, as legacy admits.

The other reason for Affirmative Action is that five members of the court know racial discrimination (White against Black) is still alive and well in the good old USA. They know that if you do not permit race to be considered, all of the campuses would become void of color and this would be a national disgrace.

This has happened in California since the passage of proposition 209. The educational institutions of higher learning in California are looking desperately for a solution to get Blacks and Latinos admitted.

Why did the USA have to start an Affirmative Action program in the first place? After all, slavery was abolished, but the US Supreme Court said no Black man in America had any rights that a White man had to respect. From there we went to the separate but equal doctrine and Black Codes that led to federal dollars never getting to the Black community.

There was legal discrimination in housing, employment, military service, financial lending practices, health care delivery services, educational access, all professional sports and anything else you could think of. All of this was sanctioned by the courts and society. It was not until 1964 with the passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that it became against the law to discriminate against Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, American Indians and women in the work place.

Up until the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott Blacks had to ride in the back of the bus and could not sleep in the hotels they worked in even if they had the financial resources.

Blacks had to drink water from separate fountains in public. Blacks were even regulated to the last row at drive-in theaters and could not buy popcorn from the snack shop. George Wallace stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama and said no Negro would go to school there while he was governor. We still have lots of George Wallace’s sitting on the admissions boards and committees at our institutions of higher learning.

As a matter of fact we have them sitting in our local schools of public education. We have teachers giving Blacks and Latinos lower grades in order to keep them from getting scholarships. We have gifted programs for students to gain access to prestigious colleges but Blacks and Latinos are encouraged not to attend those classes.

These are stories I hear today.

All Black Americans wished there was no need for Affirmative Action because then our unemployment rate might not be double that of Whites and the Black youth unemployment rate would not be at 37% while White youth is at 15%. I once had a White supervisor who told me when he worked for the Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer company that their summer youth employment program consisted of he and another company personnel manger swapping kids for the summer.

This was because they could not employ their own so the agreement was to employ each other’s kids who were neither Black nor Latino. Some of you might ask where did I come up with all of these examples, with the exception of slavery, I experienced everything else and I’m only sixty years old.

These five justices know what some of their fellow Americans are up to when they say they want a color blind society. They want to keep the status quo and turn the clock back to the good old days of yesteryear, when your birth into the family guaranteed you employment at the fire department, police department, admission to college, membership into the union, loans from the bank without ever having to pass an exam or meet the so called qualifying standards.

These five justices are inching us closer to that day but we are a long way from race not being an issue.

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