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All Da King's Men

Getting Beyond Race

By Da King Published: June 30, 2009

The Senate formally apologized for slavery yesterday, one hundred and forty four years too late, one hundred and forty four years after slavery was abolished.

Do we all feel better now ? A bunch of people who had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery have apologized for it. Now we know that America doesn't condone slavery (and here I thought the Civil War settled that issue). Thank goodness. All those American pro-slavery groups can go pound salt. If there are any, that is, which there aren't (I hope).

But even the Senate's unaminous and meaningless kumbayah vote to apologize for slavery isn't without controversy here in grievance-based America, where it seems everyone feels slighted over something. The Senate's slavery apology contained a disclaimer which stated the apology didn't authorize any reparations claim for the descendants of slaves.

Cue the outrage. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus objected to the reparations disclaimer.

Sigh.

To be clear, I believe reparations for slavery were in order, but they were in order 144 YEARS AGO, not now. They were in order for people who actually WERE slaves. There are no reparations in order for people who are six or seven generations removed from slavery, for people who have the same civil rights as everyone else, for people who even have MORE civil rights than everyone else (affirmative action). I agree with President Obama, who said the best reparations are "good schools in the inner city." Obama embodies the lunacy of the reparations argument. Should we pay reparations to Barack Obama, the most powerful man in the world, just because his skin contains the required amount of melanin ? I don't think so.

As I'm writing this, there are some teevee talking heads arguing about whether or not the coverage of Michael Jackson's death is motivated by race. One talking head is saying it is, that the media is talking about all Jackson's drug use because he is black.

Sigh.

That talking head must not remember the teevee coverage of the deaths of Heath Ledger, Kurt Cobain, Anna Nicole Smith, or Elvis Presley. The media wallowed in all the minutiae of each one's drug use, ad nauseum. It's about celebrity, not race.

Speaking of race-based issues, the Supreme Court reversed the appellate court ruling in the Ricci case, and ruled that New Haven discriminated against 19 firefighters (18 white and 1 hispanic) when they threw out the results of a promotion test because no blacks scored high enough to be promoted. New Haven officials were afraid of protests by civil rights groups if no blacks were promoted, so they discriminated against the 19 firefighters and denied them the promotions they earned. As with so many of these types of cases, the Supreme Court vote was split. The 5-4 majority decision was resisted by the Court's four liberal members (who think discrimination is fine and dandy as long as it's done against white people). Of note is the fact that President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor, was one of those overturned by the Supremes. As one of the appellate court judges, Sotomayor thought discrimination against white people was hunky-dory in the Ricci case too.

Your going to hears lots of grievance-mongering and spin about the Ricci case, but there is no reason for any of it. This country was founded on the notion that all men are created equal, and equal protection under the law is mandated in our Constitution. We have a Civil Rights Act that says you may not discriminate against people based upon race. That goes for ALL races. That's why slavery and Jim Crow laws were wrong. All we should do in this country is give everyone the same opportunity (as in, all the New Haven firefighters had the SAME opportunity for promotion, regardless of race. They all took the same test. That's equality). When we go beyond that to dictate outcomes based solely upon race, we violate our own principles and make a mockery of them.

It's time to get beyond race, as well as all the other false constructs that divide us. I've watched the civil rights movement go from one of righteousness in the 60's to the "gimme" entitlement mindset of today. No. You aren't entitled to anything in this country, except the equal opportunity to achieve or fail. After that, it's up to you, no matter who you are.

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