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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Affirmative action illustrated


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Affirmation action illustrated. What does the controversy surrounding Rod Blagojevich and Roland Burris have to do with affirmative action? As I was formulating this article, I did some research to find others who have taken this angle and as far as I can tell, I am the first. And so once again, you are in for a unique treat here at Political Agenda.

I am going to make my point by using an analogy. Remember what an analogy is; it is a tool used for gaining clarity by comparing two things that have similarities and differences all at the same time. This is important to remember throughout this article because you will be tempted to think that Danian Michael believes that affirmative action is at work here in the selection of Roland Burris by Governor Blagojevich; I of course do not believe that. In fact, affirmative action is the thing I hope to make clearer in using this analogy, or at the very least, certain aspects of it.

Let’s start with affirmative action: What is unclear about it? Well in my opinion many who advocate this way of leveling the playing field, remain in the dark about the negative effects it has on its beneficiaries, mainly minorities and more to the point, African Americans. They, that is to say advocates of affirmative action, believe that the country is still way too racist to expect a level playing field in the pursuit of the American dream. A point that I have strong disagreement with. As a matter of fact, I believe that African Americans are now more likely to judge based on race than any other group, including white Americans. I refer you to my blog titled, “How the table has turned,” where I argued that the election of a black man to the presidency could not have been possible in a racist country where only 13% of the population is black. White Americans had to have voted for him in great numbers for this to have been possible. Furthermore, when senate democrats rejected Roland Burris for reasons I thought were obvious, a group of black congressmen, also know as the Black Caucus, decided to call their fellow white senators a bunch of racists. They might be a bunch of fools, but racists, I don’t think so. Now let me set up my analogy using the Blagojevich-Burris controversy. And remember, I’m trying to clarify a point about affirmative action:

Rod Blagojevich represents the government, Roland Burris represents African Americans and senate democrats represent the rest of us (oh if that were true) in this analogy of affirmative action. Now what happened when Mr. Burris tried to take his seat on the senate, well he was rejected by the senators. And why, because they believed that something stunk about the way in which he got there. Furthermore, they believed that his dubious selection by a tainted Governor would cast a cloud over everything he will do as a Senator. What’s my point here? When we the people, people who have worked hard for the positions we hold in life, see someone else (who may very well be qualified) who is given a position of privilege for reasons that do not measure up to a standard, (affirmative action being one such standard which doesn’t measure up) then of course -like congress- we will protest and reject that appointment. But even more importantly, the people who are supposed to be helped by affirmative action will always have a cloud over everything they do. Think about this, if Roland Burris is allowed to take a seat on the Senates and it now looks like he will, and knowing Blagojevich tried to sell that very seat to the highest bidder, how will we ever be able to take Senator Burris seriously? And so affirmative action boils down to this; selling seats to the blackest bidder. President Bush had something similar to this taint his presidency, because many Americans thought he won Florida through questionable means and he was never able to fully shake that stigma even though by all accounts, he actually won Florida.

Affirmative action must not be allowed to continue anywhere because it undermines the legitimate accomplishments of minorities and it impedes their growth. If African Americans are just left alone and allowed to compete by the same standards as everyone else - and that includes not holding us back because of our color - I have no doubt we will surprise everyone and we may even surprise ourselves.

Danian Michael
Political Agenda

7 Comments:

Blogger BiGhEaD said...

hmm. It didn't really cross my mind that affirmative action had anything to do with Roland Burris... what did surprise me, is that he would have been the only black Senator. Does that mean Barack Obama was the only black (or half black) Senator before he was elected the next deceiver in chief?
I'm not surprised that you take this absurd stance against A.A., considering some of your other views on the issues.
Let's look at it this way, less than 150 years ago, black people were still held as slaves in this country. once they were "awarded" their "freedom", they were basically dropped into the streets to fight for themselves, into a system completely biased towards those who already had wealth and education, i.e. whitey.
I would agree that A.A isn't needed, if the deck wasn't already stacked against those of color. But it is, so it is :)
Peace,
BiGhEaD

January 11, 2009 at 2:58 PM  
Blogger Danian Michael said...

Bighead,

Welcome back, I really do look forward to your insights, I really mean that. Thanks for visiting the site.

I have only one question for you: How can you say my stand against affirmative action is absurd while at the same time say it would be a good thing if A.A. didn't exist. My position maybe idealistic, maybe even a bit naive but absurd; not by your own standard.

January 11, 2009 at 8:32 PM  
Blogger BiGhEaD said...

Welcome back to you too... I've missed these little chats.
What I meant when I said, "it would be good if Affirmative Action didn't exist", is that it would be good if it wasn't necessary.
I believe it is necessary, due to the power structure of our society, and how it is slanted against people of color.
The hard part, is how does one judge when Affirmative Action is no longer needed...
The fact that the president is going to be a black man doesn't mean much. He is a leader that is black, not so much a black leader. There's a difference.
MLK was a black leader, as are Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson. All of these men stand and fight for peace before war as well as equality, not diversity in place of it.
If the governing bodies in D.C. were proportioned to represent the people of the country, that might be a good start.

January 14, 2009 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger Danian Michael said...

Bighead,

You said, "The fact that the president is going to be a black man doesn't mean much." My question to you is, why not? Because his approach is different than other black men? It sounds like you are calling him an Uncle Tom because he is not, "down for the cause." You are probably calling me an Uncle Tom right now aren't you... come on admit it.

So then only black people with a certain worldview are considered black. I have always said that the civil rights movement along with the women's movement are no longer about minorities or women; they are about liberal minorities and liberal women. And so my accomplishments as a black man will never be lauded because I'm a conservative black man. And you have just proved what I have always suspected and quite frankly known now for quite a while.

January 17, 2009 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger BiGhEaD said...

Ah Danian, once again you put words in my mouth as opposed to support your argument.
To the point in your analogy; I guess I don't see the comparison between how the only black man in the senate got there and how Affirmative Action taints the achievements of blacks. Let alone to compare it to how the current president's brother helped him to steal the vote in Florida ;)

"Uncle Tom" isn't part of my vocabulary. Everyone's different, and that includes different people within the same race. Do you think Barack Obama would be the president elect if he looked or spoke like Lil Jon? Not likely. I'm not being racist in this analogy, just speaking candidly about the race discussion in this country...

And in saying that I think Affirmative Action shouldn't be abolished, I'm certainly not saying that black people are less intelligent or able. Just that there are people out there that are racist. There are people of power in this country, who are racist. Just drive to any rural area and you're likely to see a few confederate flags. Wonder what that flag really represents...

Lastly, let's look at some numbers. According to the US DOJ website, at yearend 2007 there were 3,138 black male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 black males in the United States compared to 481 white male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 white males. That means per capita, there are over six and a half times more blacks than whites in our prisons today.
I feel that these numbers are one strong piece of evidence that the "American Dream" is tougher to attain for blacks than for whites. I'm not saying they are less able, just that the deck is stacked against them. And by the way, how do you know I'm not black?

Peace,
BiGhEaD

January 17, 2009 at 3:59 PM  
Blogger Danian Michael said...

I don't know your nationality but where did I make any assumptions to that effect? If you are referring to my uncle Tom accusation, I will say this, black conservatives such as myself are more likely to be called an uncle Tom by black Americans than by any other race.

I have to tell you that I hate all this talk about which group is the most racist. Although in all fairness I did say that blacks have over reacted to racism. I want racism to end and people like you want it to continue. You may pay lip service to the fact that you want racism to end, but whenever someone like me propose that we actually end it, people like you throw your hands up claiming everyone is too racist for that. You point to anecdotal evidence like the black inmate population then say, see there is racism. Ignoring the fact that these people actually committed crimes and the illegitimate rate in the black community to name a few things. The fact is, lack of fathers in the black community is a far better indicia for the disproportionate black representation in the prisons. And since people such as yourself continue to give irresponsible black men options other than personal responsibility, I fear the problem will only get worse.

January 21, 2009 at 3:55 PM  
Blogger BiGhEaD said...

Of course I don't' want racism to continue, but just declaring that it's over, or ignoring is not going to fix it. I agree that not having a father could really mess somebody up, but there has got to be more to it than that... what about poverty, drugs in the inner city, poor schooling, the fact that the CIA has been pumping crack into south central for 20 years. OOPS. :)
I caught the tail end of a pretty cool movie this weekend, it's called The War on Drugs: the last great white hope. It's a documentary about the war on drugs... very interesting stuff.
I'm not going to vote for any law that would release violent offenders from prison, white or black, but the amount of people in prison for non-violent drug offenses is ridiculous. Per capita, we have the world's highest imprisoned rate. does that mean Americans are worse people than the rest of the world? OR, could there be something wrong with the system!!!
~BiGhEaD

January 28, 2009 at 10:20 PM  

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