The Campaign Spot

I Wonder if Jim Webb’s Affirmative-Action Stance Will Get Him a Primary Challenger

Considering how skepticism of — or opposition to — affirmative action is deemed de facto racism in many corners, this is a rather surprising development: Virginia senator Jim Webb, a Democrat, is picking this moment to loudly call for the end of some affirmative-action programs.

Forty years ago, as the United States experienced the civil rights movement, the supposed monolith of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant dominance served as the whipping post for almost every debate about power and status in America. After a full generation of such debate, WASP elites have fallen by the wayside and a plethora of government-enforced diversity policies have marginalized many white workers. The time has come to cease the false arguments and allow every American the benefit of a fair chance at the future.

I have dedicated my political career to bringing fairness to America’s economic system and to our work force, regardless of what people look like or where they may worship. Unfortunately, present-day diversity programs work against that notion, having expanded so far beyond their original purpose that they now favor anyone who does not happen to be white.

The injustices endured by black Americans at the hands of their own government have no parallel in our history, not only during the period of slavery but also in the Jim Crow era that followed. But the extrapolation of this logic to all “people of color” — especially since 1965, when new immigration laws dramatically altered the demographic makeup of the U.S. — moved affirmative action away from remediation and toward discrimination, this time against whites. It has also lessened the focus on assisting African-Americans, who despite a veneer of successful people at the very top still experience high rates of poverty, drug abuse, incarceration and family breakup.

Those who came to this country in recent decades from Asia, Latin America and Africa did not suffer discrimination from our government, and in fact have frequently been the beneficiaries of special government programs. The same cannot be said of many hard-working white Americans, including those whose roots in America go back more than 200 years.

Contrary to assumptions in the law, white America is hardly a monolith. And the journey of white American cultures is so diverse (yes) that one strains to find the logic that could lump them together for the purpose of public policy.

What does the NAACP think of Jim Webb and this argument? What does Shirley Sherrod think, now that she’s decided to accuse Andrew Breitbart of wanting to bring back the days of slavery?

The “D” after the name of Robert Byrd ensured that no one got too upset about his past leadership role in the KKK. How much does Webb’s “D” protect him?


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