in the pages of an obscure White House statement on energy
policy are 50 words that reveal the Bush men's actual affirmative
action policy: they oppose all programs that can be interpreted
as providing special benefits to minorities. The four-page
"Statement of Administration Policy," or SAP, raises
red flags on three programs scheduled for funding, significantly
narrowing the scope of what the White House interprets as
permissible under the "due process" clause and equal
protection provision of the Constitution. The May 8 document,
revealed by the Washington
Post, shows that the administration plans to tolerate
no program that even smacks of minority advantage. These are
the suspect items:
931, relating to small business, said at least $5 million
of grants "shall be made available for grants to Historically
Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges, and Hispanic-Serving
Institutions." Section 987 calls for national laboratories
to "increase the participation of small business concerns,
including socially and economically disadvantaged small
business concerns." Section 1005 says science education
programs should "give priority to activities that are
designed to encourage students from underrepresented groups
to pursue scientific and technical careers."
interpretation goes far beyond the fine points of "quotas,"
drawing a bright line against special attention to any minority
institution. Policies including phrases such as "increase
the participation" and "encourage ... underrepresented
groups" are to be considered constitutionally flawed.
These are the barest bones of any race sensitive policy, after
which there is nothing left.
immensely pleases the anti-civil rights outfit that calls
itself the American Civil Rights Institute. Spokesman Edward
Blum had been worried about Bush's stand on race, but not
anymore. "They were 50 percent right in the Michigan
case," Blum told the Post, "but they are 100 percent
right in this SAP. This is what colorblind policy calls for,
and it goes beyond Michigan."
Blum rates Bush 100 percent right, we can be assured that
the White House is a 100 percent enemy.
American Civil Rights Institute and the equally fraudulent
Center for Equal Opportunity play tag team in targeting programs
that can be construed as giving minorities even a whiff of
a break. The anti-affirmative hit teams convinced the Bush
Department of Education to pressure universities to drop programs
designed to help minority youth, according to an excellent
article posted by Sharon Smith:
least 10 universities--including Princeton and the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology (MIT)--announced they will eliminate
summer programs for Black and Latino teenagers after the
U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights began
investigating whether they violate the 1964 Civil Rights
programs aimed at redressing decades of racial discrimination
with violating the Civil Rights Act would once have been
dismissed as an absurdity. But that absurdity has become
reality in Bush's America, where organizations masquerading
behind names such as the Center for Equal Opportunity and
the American Civil Rights Institute dedicate themselves
to fighting for the rights of whites only.
you're a member of the wrong race, you're not eligible for
the program - period," huffed the Center's spokesman
Roger Clegg in indignation at the idea of educational programs
for Blacks and Latinos.
notes that the Bush Administration's relentless attacks on
minority education opportunities was the stimulus that brought
tens of thousands of demonstrators to the steps of the U.S.
Supreme Court building, April 1 - most of them students. The
March on the Supreme Court was organized by BAMN,
the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration,
and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.
calls for a New Civil Rights Movement, with young people in
1st was only the beginning. Youth all around the country
now are waking up all across the country and beginning to
recognize our own social power. To express this new power,
our new movement must have more organization and more young
leaders stepping up to the challenge and the opportunity
that this turning point in history represents. We still
have a window of opportunity to affect the outcome of the
two University of Michigan affirmative action cases. Now
is no time for idle waiting. There are concrete tasks that
we can do now in order to win these pending cases.
national conference is May 30 - June 1 at the University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor.
sympathy for the wicked
Clarence Thomas is always found on the anti-civil rights side
of the equation at the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet, writes Counterpunch
contributor Elaine Cassell, Thomas is constantly reliving
the painful rejections of his youth. Cassell has no sympathy
for the man from Pin Point, Georgia.
is an enemy of equal opportunity, an enemy of the 14th
Amendment, an enemy of women's rights, and enemy of justice
and fairness. He says there is no such thing as cruel
and unusual punishment. His lust for the death penalty
is reflected in an unseemly bloodthirstiness as he rails
against any procedure that will delay a prisoner's execution.
got his breaks in life because others-from his grandfather,
to the nuns in his Catholic high school, to the administrators
at his college and Yale Law School, to John Danforth,
to Bush the first-gave him a break.
cannot give thanks or gratitude, he can only resent. Resent
that his color, or so he says, kept him from all that he
really wanted - a job in a Georgia law firm. Not being able
to recognize what others gave to him, he has nothing to
give to others - not from the bench, not from a podium.
a difference a venue makes. Seven of the nine Democratic presidential
candidates answered to the leadership and delegates of the
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
(AFSCME) in Des Moines, Iowa, over the weekend. AFSCME President
Gerald McEntee set the stage for the discussion: "Our
job is to take back America from a President who coddles corporations.
He's gotta go!"
1.4 million members, AFSCME is "the most politically
powerful union in the American labor movement," in McEntee's
words. Secretary-Treasurer Bill Lucy called his members "the
backbone of America. Our work makes the country work."
State and local public employees also learn quickly when the
country is in trouble. "We are the first to see the already-vulnerable
placed in even greater jeopardy," said Lucy.
most refreshing aspect of the candidate forum was the absence
of corporate distractions from the likes of ABC's George Stephanopoulos,
whose only mission is to engage the "top tier" of
candidates in debates over issues that the host's network
believes are important. Health insurance co-payments are
not deemed worthy of discussion. At the AFSCME forum, candidates
were confronted on bread and butter questions of job security
and, repeatedly, universal health care, issues that matter
to most TV viewers, but are effectively censored by the millionaire
candidates were absent. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was
otherwise engaged, and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman begged
off the Saturday affair on religious grounds.
Lucy also heads the Coalition
of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), holding its 32nd Annual
International Convention in San Francisco, this week. 1,400
delegates are expected to attend, representing Blacks in 50
different unions in all 50 states and Canada. The theme is
"Advancing the Working Families Agenda."