Discrimination fight is not over

Despite Obama’s successes, affirmative action still necessary

By Kimberly S. Johnson
Denver Post

The very presence of Barack Obama’s name on the ballot may be a setback for civil rights advancement in Colorado.

Here’s why: On Nov. 4, Coloradans also are being asked to vote on Amendment 46, which seeks to end affirmative action programs for minorities and women. Some voters may make a leap in logic and assume that because a black man has a chance to become president, discrimination is thing of the past and affirmative action is no longer needed.

They’d be wrong, of course.

Obama is an intelligent, highly successful black man. He has reached echelons of success unattainable for many Americans, regardless of race.

But his rise is an exception, not a rule. His candidacy cannot possibly end the systemic discrimination reflected in state hiring, college admissions and contracting.

Obama has the opportunity to interview for a job on a national stage, whereas most minorities and women have one person or a small group making a hiring decision. If one or more members of the group hold prejudiced attitudes toward a certain racial group, that could be the deciding factor between a new opportunity and nothing, argues Tim Wise, author of “Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White” (RoutledgeFalmer, 2005).

“Unless you have something that requires people to seek out differences, they will do things the same old way,” he said. “Racism and inequality are still entrenched.”

The true goal of affirmative action, before it was twisted by conservatives and liberals, was to forge a path to end the disparity between the races due to slavery, Jim Crow and segregation.

Affirmative action does not intend for unqualified minorities and women to get “a helping hand,” but rather a “hand up” to a more level playing field. It’s not about quotas (which are illegal), or having the Rainbow Coalition in the office, classroom or boardroom. To put it plainly, it’s about not being overlooked because you’re qualified but happen to have a bit more melanin in your skin or have breasts.

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Due to the trauma that Hurricane Ike caused the Houston community, AAJC had decided to postpone this event, initially scheduled for September 30.  We are proud to announce that the event has been rescheduled for WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19.  Please join us!

Asian American Justice Center

in partnership with

Asian Chamber of Commerce, Houston Minority Business Council, Pakistan Chamber of Commerce-USA, Prudential Financial and South Asian Chamber of Commerce

proudly presents

FEDERAL CONTRACTING:

How Can Asian American Businesses in Houston Earn a Piece of this Multi-Billion Dollar Pie?

Speakers include:

Valerie Coleman, U.S. Small Business Administration

Ed Pringle, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Chad Frasier, U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division

Jo Casady, Prudential Insurance Company of America

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

International Trade Center

11110 Bellaire Boulevard, 2nd floor

Houston, TX 77072

Attendance is FREE. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

RSVPs are required.

Reserve your spot by Monday, November 17 by calling 202.296.2300, ext. 131 or emailing hpark@advancingequality.org.

This program has been made possible through the generous support of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.

Civil rights or civil wrongs?
A trail of fraud, deception and suspect motives follow Ward Connerly into Nebraska

by Bryan Cohen -Omaha Weekly Reader

This was supposed to be Ward Connerly’s year.

Following successes in California and Michigan, Connerly announced in March 2007 his “Super Tuesday for Equal Rights” campaign — a push to effectively ban affirmative action policies by amending as many state constitutions as possible in 2008. From a list of 10 states, Connerly narrowed his efforts and petition signature gathering machine to five: Arizona, Oklahoma, Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska.

Connerly is controversial as his campaigns. In interviews he has praised the Klu Klux Klan for supporting his initiatives and questioned the legitimacy of the civil rights landmark decision in Brown v. The Board of Education. His “civil rights” efforts have earned him over $7 million since 1996.

But November 4 is panning out to be less super than he hoped.

Connerly has dropped three campaigns. His petition gathering company, National Ballot Access, has been dogged by lawsuits. In Oklahoma, the state with the shortest petition period at 30 days, the machine failed to get enough valid signatures. In Arizona and Missouri, opponents pressed legal and administrative charges of fraud, over 130,000 signatures were found invalid and his amendment failed to make the ballot.

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