Fire Away! by Dee Jay Gude
I have a new hero! Heroes are important, especially in today’s society where there are too many rascals and kids who have no futures. Some people have heroes like Bill Gates and Michael Jordan, which probably isn’t too bad (both are very accomplished) however I sometimes think that people choose their heroes based on net worth instead of merit. Then there are the heroes who save children and old ladies from disasters – these are pretty good heroes too, in the true sense of the word. Very seldom are politicians heroes, as many times they’re the problem and not the solution. Lawyers are never heroes!

My hero is someone who has a decent net worth and is trying, despite adversity, to save millions of kids. Yet he’s also a lawyer and a politician of sorts. My new hero is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Yes, Justice Thomas, he of the Anita-Hill-you-know-what-on-the-Coke -can fame. I’d never really given him a lot of thought before, other than to watch snippets of his confirmation hearings and feel embarrassed that this ridiculous woman who followed him around in her quest for employment was now trying to portray herself as "sexually harassed".

Justice Thomas has been taking a good bit of flak from some of his "African-American" brethren because he doesn’t subscribe to those tired, insulting affirmative action policies that are dividing this country. P.S.: He doesn’t think that self-inflicted segregation is such a terrible thing, either. Here we go, a black Supreme Court Justice – a perfect example of success in America, regardless if you’re black, white or blue – who black lawyers despise and don’t invite to speak at their conventions because he doesn’t subscribe to the "blacks as victims" mentality that seems to be so pervasive these days.

One of my wonky newsmagazines called him a "slave of the conservative right", meaning that he is willing to forsake his heritage in order to ingratiate himself with the white power structure. Back in the olden days, they would have called him "Uncle Tom". Now he is merely a right-wing conspiracy perpetrator. So that you can judge for yourself, here are a few quotes from the man himself:

"... black schools can function as the center and symbol of black communities, and provide examples of independent black leadership, success and achievement."

"... It never ceases to amaze me that the courts are so willing to assume that anything that is predominantly black must be inferior."

"... appears to rest upon the idea that any school that is black is inferior, and that blacks cannot succeed without the benefit of the company of whites."

"…any effort, policy or program that has as a prerequisite the acceptance of the notion that blacks are inferior is a non-starter with me."

I love this guy! Affirmative action is merely a way of saying to black Americans, "We know you’re too stupid to make it on your own, so we’ll insult you by forcing employers and schools to take you anyway." The whole concept of affirmative action offends me because it forces blacks into the degrading position of having to trade on their race instead of their brains or other more substantial attributes.

Is there still racism in America? I guess there is, because the media keeps harping on it and Charmin’ Billy Clinton is holding "talks" to heal this great tear in the foundation of American society. I personally have never seen true racism in action, but then again I may just not be hanging with the right crowd. Do blacks get the short end of the stick when it comes to employment and education? I guess they do, but apparently someone forgot to tell my kids’ school chums – they’re still achieving despite the fact that they have no government intervention. Someone also forgot to tell General Colin Powell, Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, geneticist Mary Styles Harris, Yale University graduate Evelyn Boyd Granville, PhD, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright August Wilson…and yes, Justice Clarence Thomas.

Now before you get all huffy and try to inform me that Clarence Thomas began his great journey as a result of "token-ism", I already knew that. He was among the black students who were admitted to Yale Law School under a quota system back in the 60’s. So why would he deny other blacks the advantage of affirmative action that he had? Simply because it’s no longer necessary and it’s no longer an advantage. The Civil Rights Act was necessary in the 60’s and 70’s in order to open up opportunities to blacks that were previously denied them. But come on! Those days are gone and American businesses and public school systems have policies in place that are strictly enforced in terms of racial and gender discrimination. The Civil Rights Act and affirmative action were intended to be a short-term patch to level the playing field. After all, is replacing one form of legal discrimination with another a long-term solution or just more political expediency?

And it must have worked because when was the last time you knew personally of someone who was denied employment or school admission simply because they weren’t white? I’m not talking about the junk we read in the newspaper or in some goofy journalist’s biased column – I mean someone you know personally. There are a million programs in corporate and scholastic America designed to teach diversity and ethnic sensitivity. It’s against the law to discriminate against blacks, and even if the president of some major organization is the Archie Bunker of the Western Hemisphere, you can bet that he’s not going to pay a multi-million dollar settlement to someone because of his prejudice. When Avis’ and Denny’s stockholders saw the results of the shame brought about by discriminatory practices, you can bet one color rose to the surface as those Archie-types hit the unemployment line - green.

True, there are those who still haven’t quite gotten the hang of loving their fellow man, but if the goal of blacks is to get Bubba to love them, they’re barking up the wrong tree. Bubba is a lot like that old horse that you can lead to water, but can’t make drink. With affirmative action, you may be able to force Bubba to drink, but you can’t force him to like it. But drink he must…because it’s the law. So rather than try to muscle Bubba into liking that water that’s being shoved down his throat, can’t we just be satisfied that he’s doing what you tell him to?

Slavery has been gone for over a century so let’s get over it already. And let’s be appreciative of leaders like Clarence Thomas. He knows that the way to motivate people to achieve is not to patronize them, but to make them take responsibility for themselves.

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