CHICAGO (February 22, 2011)--“Affirmative action is needed to offset a history of negative action--over two hundred years of slavery and decades of Jim Crow segregation--that denied people of color (and women) fair and equal opportunities.
Affirmative action is a conservative remedy. When there is evidence of patterns of gender or race bias there must be a plan--goals, targets, and time-tables for inclusion. It is a remedy to prevent continued discrimination and denial of equal protection under the law for women and people of color.
When allowed to work, it has opened up doors and expanded our economy. We now have more women and people of color who are consumers, producers and part of an educated workforce--lawyers, doctors and public servants.
Affirmative action has been used as race bait, for purposes of division. It has been seen as undeserving blacks taking something away from meritorious whites--minority versus majority.
In every aspect of today’s society--from employment to education--there remain inequalities. In Chicago, a study showed 3,200 blacks die annually due to lack of access to healthcare. African-Americans and Latinos, whose wealth tends to come from home ownership, have disproportionately been affected by the home foreclosure crisis, with ample studies showing these communities were steered to subprime loans when they qualified for prime rate loans. According the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, nineteen million students are enrolled in postsecondary education and only thirty percent of those students are people of color.
As long as these disparities exist, race must continue to be a one of several standards applied and taken into consideration in the pursuit of higher education. Poverty, grades, ability to think and pay tuition, special skills and legacy--even military status --are taken into consideration during the college admissions process. So too should race and gender.
Judicial and legislative decisions on issues of race are necessary. Federal intervention is required to provide equal opportunity and equal protection under the law for the minority.”