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Some Fun Facts to Know and Tell on Martin Luther King Day


The president of the United States of America is an African American. His father was black and his mother was white. He is married to a woman who has both slave and slaveowner ancestors.

The chairman of the Republican National Committee is also an African American. This means that both major political parties in the United States are headed by African Americans.

It is illegal under U.S. law to discriminate against African Americans and other racial or ethnic groups in just about any public transaction: employment, housing, voting, education, public accommodations (that is, restaurants, hotels, theaters, etc.), lending, contracting, you name it. Thousands of government employees spend millions of dollars enforcing these laws, which have transformed American society.

If, as we should, we define “segregation” as making it illegal for children of one race to go to school with children of another race, there are no segregated public schools in the United States in 2010. Zero. Same thing for workplaces, neighborhoods, hotels, etc.

According to the Coalition for Fairness for Hispanics in Government, there are no “underrepresented” racial or ethnic groups in the federal government except Hispanics. Plus, it turns out that Hispanics aren’t “underrepresented” either, if you take into account the federal government’s citizenship requirement.

(The term “underrepresented” is pernicious but ubiquitous, by the way, as are its predecessors, “diversity” and “affirmative action.” All are embraced by our elites. On the other hand, real people belittle and ridicule such political correctness. Nobody wants to be known as a “diversity” or “affirmative action” hire.)

Thus, in a Quinnipiac University Polling Institute survey last year, a majority of Republicans, Democrats, Independents, men, women, whites, blacks, and Hispanics all answered “No” to the question, Do you think members of some racial groups should get preference for jobs in private companies so that the workforce has the same racial makeup as its community?”

According to Abigail Thernstrom’s book Voting Rights — and Wrongs, “Today, most southern states have higher black registration rates than those outside the region, and over 900 blacks hold public office in Mississippi alone. Between 1970 and 2002, the number of black elected officials in the seven southern states . . . jumped from 407 to 4,404, nearly double the rate at which black representation increased nationwide.”

Fifty years ago, it was as easy to be vilified for thinking too much of African Americans as for thinking too little of them. Now, it is socially unacceptable — even career-ending — to say anything that sounds remotely prejudicial. Just ask George Allen.

Racial discrimination still exists. Racial discrimination will always exist, and there will always be prejudiced people of all colors. But there is a lot less of it now.

In fact, there is apparently not enough of it to keep the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil-rights division busy. So its announced new priority is challenging police tests, bank loans, and the like that are nondiscriminatory in their terms, intent, and application, but that have a “disparate impact” on this or that demographic group.

Oprah Winfrey is really, really rich and influential (at least among women).

Another really, really rich and influential institution (at least among men) is the National Football League. It has the “Rooney Rule,” which requires at least one minority to be interviewed for any vacancy in head coaching or “senior football operations positions.” Fortunately, this illegal and discriminatory rule is often bent by NFL teams.

Colin Powell could have been president if he’d wanted to, and probably either party would have nominated him.

The voters in California, Washington, Michigan, and Nebraska have banned preferences and discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, and sex in government contracting, education, and employment. A similar measure lost by a razor-thin margin in Colorado, and one will be on the ballot this year in Arizona.

On the other hand, Congress continues to insert racial classifications and preferences in all kinds of legislation (for example, health care and financial reform), and federal bureaucrats continue to insert them in lots of rules and regulations.

There are Hispanics in the Bush family. There are Asians in the Obama family. Michelle Obama also has American Indian ancestry.

Seven out of ten African Americans are born out of wedlock. This, not discrimination, is the single greatest cause of racial disparities in the United States.

According to a study published this month in the University of Chicago’s Journal of Labor Economics, if racial preferences in college admissions were abolished, black and Hispanic representation at all four-year colleges would decline by only 2 percent (and by only 10 percent even at the most selective schools). Perhaps this will convince colleges that such discrimination is, therefore, not worth the myriad costs inherent in such a divisive and unfair policy. But probably not.

Likewise, a liberal UCLA law professor, after exhaustive empirical analysis, has concluded that racial preferences in law-school admissions have resulted in there being fewer African American lawyers, since students and schools have been systematically mismatched.

Asians, a racial minority that is more of a minority than African Americans or Latinos, are often even more discriminated against in university admissions than are whites.

California’s Department of Transportation — with the blessing of the U.S. Department of Transportation — now discriminates against whites, Latinos, and some Asians in its contracting, and in favor of blacks, Native Americans, and some other Asians.

The most recent appointment to the United States Supreme Court is a liberal Hispanic woman. There are no conservative WASPs on the Court, by the way, of any race or gender.

A bare majority of the Supreme Court is deeply skeptical about racial preferences. We are one vote away from a Court that views politically correct racial discrimination as no big deal. None of the justices likes politically incorrect discrimination.

President Obama does not want to be viewed as endorsing special treatment on the basis of skin color or national origin. His appointees and allies do not want to be viewed as not endorsing special treatment on the basis of skin color or national origin.

Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”


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