Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Brother, Ward Connerly by Akindele Akinyemi

Last year I wrote a series of articles supporting affirmative action here in the State of Michigan. I voted No on Proposition 2 to end affirmative action.

Today, I realize that I made a mistake in voting No on 2 and I should have voted Yes instead.

I admit I fell for the hype of the Black liberal organizations talking about if we end affirmative action in the State of Michigan that minorities will suffer and Jim Crow will come back to haunt us.

Never again, I will fall for such chicanery. I respect my good friend and Attorney General Mike Cox for standing up for the end of affirmative action in the State of Michigan.
After No on 2 failed at the polls, I was called to the table by some elders. These elders, who were African American, have lived through Jim Crow in the South. They asked me this question that changed my thinking:

"How do you think Blacks made it, were family oriented as well as obtaining education and creating a lifestyle that was conducive for our community before affirmative action?"

The next question that was directed to me was "why would I vote No on 2 when no one has ever stopped me from achieving my goals in life?"

Those two questions stood out in my mind for weeks. The next thing I began to do is find speeches and editorials written by Ward Connerly. I realized that this man has been demonized, like Justice Clarence Thomas, by the liberal media.

Then I went online to find some thoughts from Jennifer Gratz. Come to find out that she was not as bad as people thought. Again, she too, was demonized by the liberal media and liberal organizations that stirred up the race pot of fear and ignorance.

When I met Ward Connerly for the first time on Mackinac Island for the Republican Leadership Conference I told him that I could not stand him last year. Then, after seeing the light and researching what he was trying to do, not only I forgave him but told him I see what he is doing.

What I am realizing is that in liberal circles to elicit black support by telling us we can't succeed without their help. Liberal expectations of black students are obviously low. Their confidence in our natural abilities and intellect isn't strong by any means. Proof of this is how they run the Detroit Public School System.

Liberals sell us a pessimistic view of our potential. Unfortunately, those calling themselves our leaders actively support this horrendous philosophy.

Affirmative action was intended to ensure that blacks could produce at the same level of whites without fear of discrimination. They'd follow up this affirmation by actively recruiting blacks at proportionate levels to whites. Unfortunately, it has morphed into racial preferences and a philosophy demanding a minimum number of minorities. The qualifications of applicants become secondary to achieving that quota.

Obviously, it's hard work to ensure that all black children are as equally prepared to enter and succeed in college as the average white child. I would submit the main cause of this disparity is not individual ability, but the vast inferiority of inner city public schools. This inferiority lies not with the students but in the poor performance of teachers and administrators and parents who don't care.

Efforts to implement learning standards, accountability and alternatives to failing schools meet fierce opposition from liberal activists and the equally liberal teachers' unions. Although at least 40 percent of Congressional Black Caucus members and the majority of other members of Congress use private schools to educate their children, liberals insist that Americans who cannot afford this option continue to send their children to failing and underachieving public schools.

When I was on Mackinac Island I also got a chance to speak with our Jamaicans brothers and sisters in great length. The three most interesting things they told me collectively was (1) Jamaican people work hard and do not accept handouts.
(2) When I spoke to these Jamaican sisters about family they told me that they work very hard to keep the family intact. I also spoke to them about affirmative action and they told me that was a waste of time to them because all a person needs to do is work hard, have faith in God and things will fall in place.
(3). This Jamaican sister told me that she did not believe in affirmative action because she felt that it was being used as a crutch for Black Americans. I thought that was interesting. She said most Blacks in America have poor work ethics, have allowed TV to raise their children and most Blacks she have encountered in America do not take education seriously. Education is the key to eliminating poverty and the only way you eliminate poverty is through hard work. She did not understand why so many Black people use welfare as an excuse to not working hard when welfare does not exist in Jamaica.
This brother here works at Mackinac Island to save up for college. He is from Montego Bay, Jamaica. When I asked him about affirmative action he told me that he is not trying to use the government in that aspect of his academic career. He wanted to show people that he can get ahead without government's help.
This young lady is from Negril, Jamaica. When I asked her about affirmative action she was not familiar with the issue but told me how her parents gave her a strong work ethic that has carried her to medical school in the fall.
Those proponents of race preferences seem blind to the irony. Our forebears fought and died to dismantle such racist practices. For whites, one could almost excuse it. Misguided guilt, wrong-headed compassion or the embarrassment of lagging minority students who've already been given so many advantages - take your pick. But, for blacks, it's inexcusable. Children are being taught that appealing to white guilt can take them far in life.
What's heartbreaking for minority students is the apparent easy surrender to this level of ignorance. If 12th graders can't pass a 10th grade-level exam after the sixth try, what does it say about their public school education? Black parents have a right to be angry, but at the right people.
In the United States, where many group preferences have sought to justify themselves as counterweights to discrimination that would otherwise prevail, such “discrimination” often turns out to be statistical “under-representation” in desirable occupations or institutions. The implicit assumption, tenaciously held, is that great statistical disparities in demographic “representation” could not occur without discrimination. This key assumption is seldom tested against data on group disparities in qualifications. For example, as of the year 2005, there were more than 16,000 Asian American students who scored above 700 on the mathematics SAT, while fewer than 700 black students scored that high—even though blacks outnumbered Asian Americans several times over. Data such as these are simply passed over in utter silence—or are drowned out by strident assertions of “covert” discrimination as explanations of a dearth of blacks in institutions and occupations requiring a strong background in mathematics.
The history of blacks in the United States has been virtually stood on its head by those advocating affirmative action. The empirical evidence is clear that most blacks got themselves out of poverty in the decades preceding the civil rights revolution of the 1960s and the beginning of affirmative action in the 1970s. Yet the political misrepresentation of what happened—by leaders and friends of blacks—has been so pervasive that this achievement has been completely submerged in the public consciousness. Instead of gaining the respect that other groups have gained by lifting themselves out of poverty, blacks are widely seen, by friends and critics alike, as owing their advancement to government beneficence.
As I end this discussion on affirmative action we need to research the facts before jumping on the band wagon of emotional rhetoric. We have allowed Tavis Smiley, Tom Joyner and others to give us information that is not 100% accurate. I challenge you to do some research on my friends, Ward Connerly and Jennifer Gratz.


FreeMan said...

Coopted Ex-progressive - Affirmative Action was designed to benefit WOMEN & people of Color because Women suffer sexism & People of Color suffer racism in the Sexist/Racist US

Akindele F. Akinyemi said...

affirmative action has nothing to do with color...if anything white women has benefitted from AA not us!!!!!

Jennifer Bollenbach said...

Akindele - I am with Ward Connerly's office and would like to talk with you offline. Will you please send me a message at jb@acri.org? Thank you, Jennifer Bollenbach

Ms. Dynasty said...

Brother, you need to research Executive Order 11246. Affirmative Action is not about women and race. There is more to it. Look it up.