by Mason Weaver, published in the San Diego County North County Times on October 11, 1996. Received from Duffy Tweedy on the ConChr-l listserver on 10/10/96.
The Affirmative Action debate has heated up all over the nation. With California taking the lead, other states, schools and courts are looking at "race management" in a new light. In the last three months I have spoken in Washington, D.C., Seattle, Los Angeles, St.Louis and even Green Bay on this subject. Why? Why are we still struggling with race relations in America? Because there are a lot of money and power in poverty and hopelessness. The real question all Americans should ask themselves is "should the government decide which race or gender will get benefits in hiring, promotions or contracts?" Those who answer no will have a natural support for state proposition 209. This ballot initiatives will forbid the state of California from considering race or gender in its hiring or promotions. This is what the civil rights movement was all about, merit and competition. I keep hearing that the playing field is not level, what nonsense! It need not be level since the opportunity to prepare for the playing field is equal. As a black man, I find offense in the idea that I need a government program to assure white people will not overpower me. Let me make it clear, I am not the pet of white America, I am not the white mans burden and I certainly am not a natural resource that has to be managed by the government. The condescending attitudes of the opponents to proposition 209 are actually suffering from a superiority complex. They honestly believe they are superior to "minorities" but because of their kindness they want to make sure they don't abuse their superiority. If they had their way I would be placed on the Endangered Species list , captured and tagged. I would be preserved in a zoo somewhere taken care of and provided for. Folks the plantation life is over and black people do not need the co-dependent, enabling, racist liberals managing our lives. Wake up, we have left the plantation a long time ago and we are not going back on it. Every time the government is in charge of race management, it always has a negative affect on black people. Why would I trust the same government that legalized slave murder, gave us segregation, beatings, separate but equal and lynching, to administer a program to benefit me? The government has never changed society, society has changed government. As a people we direct government and government reluctantly follows. It was the people that developed the underground railroad, boycotts, demonstration and civil disobedience. This caused change within the government in response to the pressure from the people. Now some of us want the government to lead the people and oversee the development of racial harmony among us. The government cannot, only we can. It was not the government that brought down the "colored only" signs, it was the people. Some think that the Affirmative Action program is fighting discrimination. If you have that belief you may think I support racial discrimination and that is far from the truth. I support strong anti discrimination laws and a vigorous enforcement of them. But Affirmative Action is discrimination and that goes against everything I fought against. There are many problems in America's race history and know one is denying them. But to resolve them needs fairness. No one is free until all of us are free. If a government program can deny white males, what will stop them from denying a black male? I have been there and will never return. Doctor Martin Luther King never asked for special rights for black people, he did not dream of a society where master would treat us better. What King hoped for and died to obtain was a place where the color of his skin was not noticed by his government. Long Live the Dream!