Jewish World Review Nov. 3, 2003 / 8 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764
Two cheers for loopy loudmouth Sharpton
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Two cheers for Al Sharpton, that loopy loudmouth running for President in the Democratic primary without a snowball's chance in Miami at winning. On Tuesday he nailed Howard Dean on the race issue good and hard by raising the Vermont Governor's 1995 interview on CNN's Late Edition.
"I think we ought to look at affirmative action programs based not on race but on class," Dean said.
To a race hustler like Al Sharpton, whose only work is stirring up grievances among minorities so he can attract television cameras and raise money, that statement makes Dean "anti-black." To a normal person, that statement makes Howard Dean sound like he has common sense.
Too bad Dean's running away from his common-sense past now that he's seeking greener pastures than Vermont.
Why should a wealthy black kid raised in Bedford and educated at Exeter get into Dartmouth ahead of a white kid from a struggling North Country family who went to Berlin High School? That's not leveling the playing field. That's reparation for slavery.
A few years ago, Howard Dean was plain-spoken enough to acknowledge that. As the governor of a small rural state with similar demographics to New Hampshire, Dean was an honest liberal.
He believed a person's environment was responsible for his performance. And he believed that the people who most needed a hand-up from the government were poor people, black or white.
But you can't admit that and still win the Democratic primary, Dean apparently thinks. He is back-pedaling from his 1995 statement.
"Governor Dean has always been a strong supporter of affirmative action, and he believes there is still a great need for affirmative action in America," his spokesman said.
What happened between 1995 and 2003 to change Dean's mind?
Was there a spike in racism at universities and businesses that justified his shift away from an economic-based system of preferences to a race-based system?
Were new scientific studies released showing that minorities need special help?
No. All that changed were Dean's political aspiration and his principles.
In fact, race-based affirmative action has only been feeding a backlash since Dean made his comments on CNN in 1995.
Two high-performing white women were rejected by the University of Michigan allegedly on the basis of race in the mid-1990s. They took their case the U.S. Supreme Court in 2002. Disappointingly, the Court ruled that institutions could continue to discriminate against whites because "diversity" of race on campus was a lofty enough goal.
It's OK for an institution to give a underqualified minority a qualified white's spot, this theory says, because the mere presence of a minority on campus is saving the souls and broadening the minds of other white students. The ends justify the evil means.
College Republicans at the University of California at Irvine held an affirmative action bake-sale last week at which they charged minority students less money for donuts, to highlight the inherent reverse-discrimination at play in the kind of racial favoritism Dean now seems to support. The university shut them down after Asian and Hispanic students complained about the point the bake sale was making.
(To his credit, Sen. Judd Gregg chaired a hearing on Wednesday in Washington to investigate restrictions on free speech, such as this one, on college campuses.)
Howard Dean claims he wants to improve race relations, but race-based affirmative action is making the climate worse.
If Dean only had the guts to stand by what he said on CNN in 1995 about class mattering
more than race, he would be doing much more to steer this country toward a peaceful
resolution of the race war than he is by pandering to the Al Sharptons of the Democratic party.
10/20/03: And who can blame them?