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My Views On Civil Rights

CIVIL RIGHTS

Racism has been a cancer in our society for too long now. Things have gotten better, but progress is too slow in coming. We need to recognize that it remains a major problem.

Our leaders can start by acknowledging that ďyesĒ there are too many minorities in our prisons, not enough in our colleges, not enough in upper management jobs, and not enough in leadership positions in our government.

Every police chief in every major city in the United States should also acknowledge that racial profiling is still a problem.

Beyond the acknowledgement, each city should be held accountable for having a plan in place that makes it clear that racial profiling is not going to be tolerated. When it does, any individual involved in it should be given a fair hearing, but if found guilty, that person should be immediately fired.

Our federal government should not be exempt from responsibility if the state or local government is allowing racial profiling to occur. The south had to have its arm twisted by the feds before finally accepting constitutional amendments, civil rights acts and the Brown vs. the Board of Education decision. If thatís what it takes to end the problem of racial profiling, then the Justice Department ought to get busy.

All one has to do is get out into the community and talk to people. One recent day I was playing pickup basketball in Sunland and in between games everyone had a racial profiling experience to share.

How many politicians can you think of who actually get out and talk to people? They just donít do it, and thatís why so many of them are unaware of the depth of many problems we face, such as racial profiling.

We have some good laws in the books that are designed to assure people that there will be equal treatment in all facets of our lives. So why do we still need affirmative action? --We need it because in the real world itís not yet equal.

How long should we continue with affirmative action? Until most of us can agree that the playing field is equal in the business world and that diversity on our college campuses is not an issue.

Many affirmative action opponents argue that things are equal now and that affirmative action policies are racist against whites. Some of those making such arguments have been benefactors of affirmative action.

If you ask these people for evidence to show that the playing field is equal -- they say look at our laws. I have no argument there. The laws are fine. What these people donít want to look at, though, is what is truly going on out there in the real world. In business and in education, the numbers are clearly more positives for whites.

Opponents of affirmative action will argue that the factors contributing to this imbalance in the numbers have nothing to do with unfair racial practices. Both sides of this issue could argue over that until doomsday. What is clear, however, is that affirmative action improves the numbers for minorities in business and particularly in higher education, which is something that all of us should desire.

Opponents of affirmative action will say, ďBut, itís still unfair.Ē My response to that is whites have been able to accumulate wealth and vote since arriving in North America. They have been able to design a system thatís been largely favorable to them while at the expense of minorities. The very least that our government can do is have a policy that improves opportunities for minorities.

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