2006/10/15

Neither Civil Nor Right

I am talking, of course, about the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative.

Full text Here. Official version Here

Cameron Getto has, as usual, produced a great article on this issue.

In a previous incarnation, (reporter for the Courier) I took the mayor to task over the ignorance of white citizens to their own sense of privilege.

Quoting from the op-ed section of the Ypsilanti Courier, October 13, 2005

Should it [race] matter? In an ideal world, perhaps not. But looking around our fair city, one has to be wearing very rosy glasses indeed to describe it as ideal in that sense. The level of distrust between certain sections of the black community and city officials is well documented at any audience participation session in city hall.

Why does this matter bother me so? Like many well meaning white folks, I have the luxury of believing that there doesn't need to be any difference between people based on the color of their skin.

I am reminded, however, whenever I think of my own [black]sons in Australia, that in white dominated countries, the difference will always be there for those who are not white. Racism is a fact of life for my sons, not an optional ideology as it is for well meaning white folks like me.

Are my sons racist? Not particularly, but they cannot escape the influence of those who are, and that is my point.

The same holds true for all forms of discrimination, be it gender, race, socio-economic, regional, and so on.

The “majority” players have the luxury of feeling it doesn’t matter, while the repressed minority cannot avoid the discrimination.

The thing that disappoints me most is that, for all of the rhetoric of “equality” posited by the proponents of this regressive legislation, it entrenches elitism and actual disadvantage into the State constitution.

To entrench elitism in this way is fundamentally contrary to the way most Americans see themselves.

Equality is a purely theoretical concept in North American (or any other) society. Disadvantaged parties must, in civilized society, be given assistance to prosper, lest the unrest grow so great as to destabilize the civilization.

It is madness, in times of hardship when jobs are scarce and the outlook is gloomy, to tread on the heads of the already downtrodden. It is a recipe for civil unrest that will make the 60’s look like a bake-sale.

Our Statewide community needs to look at two possibilities. Do we step on the heads of the oppressed, and increase spending on police and incarceration? Or do we work towards a more equitable solution for all of our citizens? Both options cost money. Both options require commitment.

With jails and police forces strapped for cash state-wide, it would be both morally reprehensible and fiscally irresponsible to abandon affirmative action, let alone to go so far as to make it illegal.

A vote for proposal 2 is a vote towards repression and civil unrest.

Lots of well-meaning folks could be duped into thinking it is a step in the right direction.

I’ll be working at a NOW fundraiser in a couple of weeks because anything I can do to help in my own little corner of the world is a step in the right direction.

Take Care

Rod

5 comments:

trusty getto said...

Excellent perspective, Rod. And thanks for the link. We really need to pull out a win on this one.

Rod said...

Hi Cameron, yeah we do need to win this one. I was shocked to see the gay marriage legislation go through last election, we need to generate a "give a shit" sufficient to the task.

R

MarkT said...

The concept of race is stupid. We need to get rid of the concept, not perpetuate it. Afirmative action isn't really fixing the problem (which is stupid people) but instead legitimizes and institutionalizes the concept of race.

But I don't have a better answer, which is why I leave the political stuff to you.

Rod said...

Hi Mark,

the problem is that, as stupid as the concept of race is, its a reality for all of us because some of us are stupid.

Affirmative action is, as you say, essentially discrimination by race, but it does not serve discriminatory ends in my opinion.

Of all of the students at the minimum qualifying level, it gives preference to the minority students. All students above the minimum qualifying level are chosen by merrit alone.

Is it perfect? no. Is it better than nothing? yes. Are there likely to be exceptional cases where the wheels fall off the system? yes. Is that worth a constitutional ammendment to ban the principle state wide? No. No, no, no.

The idea is preposterous and will do a great deal more harm than good in the state.

write my paper for cheap said...

this is mindblowing Rod and thanks for the link that comes along with this xD more like a bonus pack i love your content and blogs that you post. they inspire me...