In the concluding days of this week, I will focus on my own problematic and troubling accounts of my local political scene. I ask that you bear with me, as my city is dying right before my very eyes and there is nothing I can do about it…except leave. My personal engagements with friends only serve to strengthen my desire to pack up and head west,south, east- anywhere but here. What is especially frustrating for me is my futile attempts to understand why people continuously vote for those who are obviously a part of the problem and not a solution. In Chicago, it has been relatively easy for Democrats to carve out a historical niche themselves. This would not be possible without the large percentage of African Americans in the community.
I have always said that if any city was likely to be the first to produce an African American president, it would be Chicago. For that I am proud. Regardless of how I feel about Barack Obama, I am happy that Chicago gave America its first black president. I am happy that Chicago is being taken seriously by the media, however I am not happy with the headlines. “Seven murders in 24 hours”. This news has weighed heavy on my shoulders. How can I stop this? Can I? I am just one person and I am a conservative at that. Who would ever listen to me about anything? Is it wrong to worry about the state of my race? By being fearful that Obama’s presidency has perhaps made matters worse for blacks, am I being paranoid?
I would answer No. And there is a great article at Town Hall.com that explains why perhaps better than I can.
Two cases likely to be decided this month by the Supreme Court — one of them an appeal in a Connecticut case decided by a panel including Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor — could result in significant changes in our civil rights laws.
One case involves a utility district in Texas that is challenging the Voting Rights Act requirement that any changes in its election procedures receive approval — “preclearance” is the technical term — from the Justice Department. The other involves the city of New Haven’s refusal to promote several white firefighters and one Hispanic after they passed a promotion test but no black firefighters did… The betting among Supreme Court analysts is that a majority of the court will rule for the Texas utility district and the New Haven firefighters. Defenders of the status quo will view this as a dangerous undermining of equal rights. Others — include me on the list — will see it as a step forward for equal rights and for Martin Luther King’s entreaty that Americans be judged on the content of their character and not the color of their skin. That’s because in both cases, the legal rule the court seems likely to overturn is no longer relevant to life as it is in America today.
What does Mr. Barone mean exactly by that last statement: “That’s because in both cases, the legal rule the court seems likely to overturn is no longer relevant to life as it is in America today”
How could that be? Blacks are still murdering one another in Chicago. The teenage pregnancy rate among African Americans is the highest in the nation. How could affirmative action not be relevant? We still need it, after all how would we assure that we as women, blacks, the disabled get hired at all?
Mr. Barone continues:
The New Haven firefighters were denied their promotions because, the city of New Haven claims, it feared that the promotion tests would be challenged under a 1971 Supreme Court decision raising a presumption against tests that have “disparate impact” on blacks and whites. That presumption made empirical sense in 1971, when many employers used any stratagem they could to avoid hiring and promoting blacks. But those days are mostly gone, too. The city of New Haven wants to promote blacks. That’s why it denied the white and Hispanic firefighters the promotions they had earned on a test the city paid thousands of dollars to develop as fair and racially unbiased.
Similarly, most employers these days want to hire and promote blacks, both to prevent bad publicity and to avoid lawsuits — and because the vast majority of Americans today want to be fair. But fairness, as the New Haven case shows, inevitably produces disparate impacts.
Talents and abilities are not distributed evenly among people whom we insist on categorizing as white, black, Hispanic, and Asian and Pacific Islander. The Supreme Court’s 1971 disparate impact standard, like the Voting Right Act’s 1964 standard for voter turnout, was fashioned at a time when racial discrimination was exceedingly common and was pursued cunningly so as to escape legal detection.
That is not the America we live in today. It is not the America that elected Barack Obama president. Retaining these standards today does not prevent racial discrimination, it promotes it — as the New Haven firefighters can attest.
Amen Mr. Barone. I have tried to say the very same thing myself yet was called names.
Can someone please tell me again HOW CAN I HELP MY RACE?
Is there a way that I can do so without being an enabler? Or should I just walk away–never to look back for fear of turning into a pillar of petrified arugula? In most respects, I would enthusiastically endorse the latter. This is not a happy place for me. These worse years of my life have all happened here. I was homeless and hungry. Every corner I turn there is a ghost of Afrocity’s past. The homeless shelter mother and I stayed in during the summer of 1981 was still standing until several months ago. On my way to a regular business meeting, I had to pass by the building every Thursday. I hated it. I don’t know why. The shelter is one of the oldest in Chicago and it made an important contribution to my life. For some reason, passing it was like walking by a huge spider. I was little again and it was big. We all see many vestiges or signs of our past; some may hurt more than others. I could look up at the window where I sat one day wishing that mother and I had an apartment of our own again.
A place where she could fix me a tuna fish salad sandwich and wash my hair in a sink where other mother’s babies were not changed. Making sense of my past is what makes me reject much of liberalism today. I may be a product of it but I will be damned if I need a favor from anyone to get a job. At the shelter, leading Bible study was occasionally taken up by the young children. When it was my turn, I chose to tell the story of Job, the man who lost everything but still had faith in God. I would pretend that I was Job and everything I lost that summer would return to me. It did. My point is that if I have faith in God, I do not need affirmative action to do anything for me. My good comes from him, not a white man or the supreme court and certainly not Barack Obama.
Okay I am out of my funk now, allow me to reframe my earlier question:
Is there anything that I can do to help those of my race help themselves?
Autographed Letter Signed,