Posted in Abortion, Current Events, Discrimination, Genocide, News, Planned Parenthood, Poverty, Race, Racism, Sex, Unplanned Pregnancy

Black Americans- An Endangered Species?

The Pro-Life-ies have a new tactic in the works, designed to shame black people out of having abortions.

Billboards are popping up throughout the south- most notably Atlanta, GA and Austin, TX- informing the masses that Black people are an endangered species, and that “The Most Dangerous Place for African American Children is in the Womb”.

Ouch.

Is this a blatantly racist attack against blacks, or is there a painful truth behind the messages?

The idea behind the billboards, according to Heroic Media, a pro-life organization out of Austin, is to highlight the disproportionately higher number of abortions chosen by African American women, as compared to other races. According to BlackGenocide.org (a pro-life arm of LEARN- Life Education and Research Network), while minority women account for roughly 13% of the overall female population, black women are responsible for 36% of all abortions. The site goes on to claim approximately 1,876 black babies are aborted in the U.S. every day.

I can find no independent verification of these numbers, but to be fair, I do realize that abortion among minority, low-income communities is disproportionately high.

That being said, we also know that 70% of all black babies that are born in this country are born into single-parent households. Minority children are much more likely to suffer from child abuse, neglect, extreme poverty, illiteracy, homelessness and premature death.

Sounds to me like African American kids are screwed no matter what.

Where is the breakdown? What is happening to our children in this country?

Some, like Heroic Media, would like us to believe the villain in the equation is Planned Parenthood. The group sites Planned Parenthood’s presence in primarily minority, low income neighborhoods. They also remind us of the horrible woman Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, was. She supported Eugenics, and thought minorities and handicapped humans should be eliminated as a necessary means to build the strongest human race possible. It is widely known that with the help of haplessly manipulated black clergy, Ms. Sanger was able to open free clinics in poor black neighborhoods throughout the south, giving access to birth control for the first time ever to low income African American neighborhoods.

Some say Margaret Sanger was a hero- after all, she was merely bringing reproductive opportunities long available to wealthy whites into lower income areas. Many black residents got jobs at the clinics. Others were able to take charge, for the first time ever, of their own reproductive paths.

Others say Ms. Sanger was a criminal, a miniature Hitler, hell-bent on doing whatever necessary to create a master race. Motivated by her beliefs that African Americans are sub-standard and therefore worthy of nothing less than elimination, Margaret Sanger unapologetically charges into black neighborhoods feigning concern for the poor, while quietly plotting to annihilate an entire race.

Planned Parenthood does exist predominantly in low income neighborhoods, though I would submit the reasons for that have less to do with blatant racism, and more to do with the wealthy yuppies of America wanting nothing to do with such a negative societal reminder in their neighborhood. Wealthy women have no problem driving to the ghetto when PP’s services are warranted, so let the ugly underbelly of society stay where it belongs- right in the heart of the ugly underbelly of the city!

As for Ms. Sanger, the illustrious founder of all things birth control/women’s health/abortion related, I say she, like many of us, was an intriguing combination of women’s rights hero, champion, and monster.

I find myself thankful for the opportunities Planned Parenthood offers women- and I speak of so much more than just abortion services. Planned Parenthood offers women’s health care for those who do not have insurance. One can obtain pap smears, STD tests and birth control from their clinics, and not have to choose between paying their electric bill and taking their birth control pills in order to do it.

One thing we can all agree on is the fact that unwanted, unplanned pregnancy is an all-out epidemic in this country.

Why don’t we stop fighting over how to handle the issue once it’s too late, and the woman (or girl)- black, white or otherwise- is already pregnant, and put our collective heads together to figure out how to avoid the actual pregnancy to begin with? For millions, neither option- be it abortion OR bringing a baby into a family/society that doesn’t want them, resulting in abuse, neglect and often death- is acceptable.

What can we do about that problem?

Posted in Blogging, Bucks County, C-Haze, Children, Current Events, Discrimination, Education, Lenape Middle School, Matthew Curran, NAACP, News, Off The Wall, Parent, Parenting, Pennsylvania, Race, Racism

Racism, No Wai and George Bush Eats Cats

After reading some recent posts of mine, a friend forwarded the following story to me. She was curious- since I have not jumped on the bandwagon to yell racism at some higher profile stories- to see if this one would be any different.

An 8th grade math teacher, famous for the silly images he places on the homework worksheets he gives to his students, has found himself in a very uncomfortable situation.

While surfing the internet, looking for funny pictures to place on a homework assignment, teacher Matthew Curran came across what he believed at the time to be a perfect choice. The picture was one that would surely cause his students to laugh, and the caption, “NO WAI!” (internet slang for “No Way”) was even better. Mr. Curran had an inside joke with his class- whenever he would assign difficult math problems, and expect them to show their work, the students would always exclaim, “No way!”

The picture was of a black man wearing a straw hat. The man had his mouth wide open, displaying an almost completely toothless mouth.

After assigning the worksheet, a student turned in her seat to the only black person in the class, asking him if the picture depicted the child’s father.

The offended student went home and told his mother about the incident. Upon seeing the image, the mother immediately contacted the NAACP.

The NAACP released a statement:

“It brings into question whether all of our children are being provided a safe and fair environment in which to learn. What happened here is unacceptable, and we will take steps to make sure it never happens again,”

Mr. Curran has since apologized to both the school faculty and the student body. He claims he was doing a Google search on the terms “multiply and divide”, and this image was one of many that he came across. He thought the caption was funny, representing an inside joke with his students, and says he truly did not mean to offend anyone.

The child’s mother states she will not send her son back to school again until she feels it is safe for him.

I did a quick internet search, using Google, as Matthew Curran did, and I can verify that this image is in fact returned as a search result when typing in the term “multiply and divide”. Why this is the case is beyond me, but at least in this regard, the teacher is telling the truth.

Since this incident occured, many students, ex-students and co-workers of Mr. Curran’s have come forward in his defense. Most people agree that the image was a poor choice, but all are steadfast in their support of the teacher, stating that there is simply no way this man meant to offend anyone.

I do not believe we are looking at a case of overt (or even covert) racism. I think, at worst, sine he has already apologized, Mr. Curran may need to take a racial sensitivity class so that he can be more aware of what may be considered offensive to some students and their parents.

I take bigger issue with the student who asked the only black kid in the classroom if the man depicted on the worksheet was his father. The student should be given detention or something. Bang a few erasers together after school for a couple days.

Truly, I am angrier at the black student’s mother than I am at anyone else. This obviously was not a case of blatant racism. The math teacher simply made a mistake when choosing an image he believed would make his students laugh… and therefore make the classroom a little more fun. Hell, I wish my math teachers would have tried half as hard to keep me interested as this guy apparently does. The child’s mother, when deciding not to even try to work the issue out with the school, instead immediately contacting the NAACP, sent a message that is much louder than anything Mr. Curran inadvertantly did.

In bypassing the school, in refusing to allow her son to return to class, she in effect told everyone that she is less interested in working together towards a solution to this problem, and more interested in causing a scene. Getting her face on TV, and causing a ruckus.

15 minutes of fame and all that.

This, my friends, is not the way to racial equality. Actions like this breed animosity and resentment, and are not conducive to the open conversations we so desperately need to have.

It doesn’t mean the kid’s mom shouldn’t have been offended by the image on the worksheet. It doesn’t mean the worksheet was appropriate for the class. It simply means that in handling the situation the way she chose to, she may very well have created a racial divide that perhaps didn’t otherwise exist.

Had the student’s mother first reached out to the teacher, the principle, the superintendent of the school… had she tried to understand what Mr. Curran was trying to accomplish… perhaps this story could have been one of hope, communication and education.

Had she been willing to do her due dilligence, the mother could have learned that this particular image, while perhaps offensive, is part of a widely circulated collection of images, all captioned with various internet slang. Some of the pictures depict the black man while others depict animals with the words “owned”, “pwned”, “my wai”, “o hai”. I even located one of these stupid pictures with an image of George Bush eating a cat with a caption that reads “We can haz… stop teh madnez”. A quick Google search of these images shows that they’re all part of the “I Can Has Cheezburger” internet sensation- a blogsite that has gone viral since its 2007 inception. Click on the website, and one will find plenty of images to offend just about anyone, though I personally find the kittehs (kitties) adorable.

As a bi-racial woman, I have lived both worlds- black and white. I was raised by a white family, I was married to a black man, and I have two beautiful black daughters. It is through these life experiences that I have learned that not everyone who makes a bad judgment is a racist person. Some people, for varying reasons, are simply unaware of the pain their actions can cause. Most of these people truly mean no harm. Once their errors are pointed out to them, once they are educated about the stigmas certain words, images, jokes, etc. contain, they are more than happy to adjust.

When we handle situations like this one in battle mode right off the bat, without knowing or understanding why or how it occured to begin with, we lose our credibility. All too often, once our credibility is gone, so too, are many of the opportunities to open minds and educate each other that may have otherwise existed.

This is a sad story to me. Not because of a racist teacher, but because I realize that yet again, we’ve lost another chance.

Posted in ACLU, C-Haze, Current Events, Discrimination, Heather Ellis, KKK, Ku Klux Klan, Missouri, News, Police Officers, Race, Racial Profiling, Racism, Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart, the Heart of America and Racism’s Ugly Head

Ah yes…

The issue of race has again reared its ugly head… this time, at Wal-Mart.

In 2007 a black woman named Heather- then a college student from New Orleans- was in Kennet, MO to visit family. She took a trip to the local Wal-Mart with her teenaged cousin to pick up a few things, and after shopping, the two opted to stand in seperate check-out lanes. Heather realized at some point that her cousin’s line was moving faster than her own. She left the line she was standing in and joined him, butting in front of several patrons to do so.

The customers that Heather moved in front of were not happy that she wasn’t willing to wait her turn, and told her so. At one point, the customer directly behind Heather put her things onto the conveyor belt while the two exchanging heated words. Heather, in response, angrily moved the woman’s things off the belt, replacing them with her own merchandise.

Heather claims that while this was occuring, other customers began hurling racial slurs at her. Witnesses dispute this, saying Heather was the one hurling insults, and that she was so loud, patrons at the rear of the store could actually hear her. She went “ballistic”, they say.

Upon paying for her items, Heather became further enraged when the cashier refused to give her back her change, opting instead to call the police.

The officers, upon arrival, stated that they tried to escort Heather to the parking lot, asking that she leave the facility because she was causing a scene. They said she became extremely beligerent, and was cursing, yelling that she wasn’t going anywhere without her change. Heather states that while attempting to escort her to the parking lot, one of the officers told her she should “go back to the ghetto”.

The incident ultimately escalated to the point that the officers chose to arrest Heather. When attempting to place the handcuffs on her, it is alleged that Heather kicked one officer in the shin, and busted the other officer’s lip. She was booked on charges of resisting arrest, assaulting police officers and disturbing the peace. While being placed in the police car, Heather’s cousin claims he saw her getting her head, repeatedly, slammed against the vehicle. When asked why they were being so rough with her, the officers responded that “she cursed”.

If  convicted, she was looking at a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Heather has always claimed the charges were blown up, and disputes all of the allegations against her but two- she admits she did switch check-out lanes at the Wal-Mart to join her cousin in line, and she does admit to touching another customers merchandise after it was placed on  the conveyor belt.

She has always believed that she was the target of racism.

The incident has opened old wounds in Kennet, MO, a small town with a history of racial intolerance.

Minorities- mostly black and hispanic- have for years accused the all-white Kennet police department of racial profiling. The ACLU staged a peaceful protest in Kennet after Heather’s arrest. The KKK joined the crowd of onlookers during the protest, carrying signs with swastikas and Klan slogans. At the end of the march, officers reported finding business cards allegedly printed by The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan stating that the Klan had been there, and that the “next visit will not be social”.

Heather, this past week, finally stood trial for the charges against her. Her lawyer, the well-known Missouri criminal defense attorney Scott Rosenblum, did not use the issue of race in Heather’s defense. It is important to note, she has no criminal history, has graduated from college since the incident, married, and is a school teacher.

Just as the case was given to the jury for deliberations, Heather reached a deal with prosecutors. In exchange for their dropping the more serious felony charges against her, Heather has agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and disturbing the peace. She will do no jail time, instead receiving a suspended sentence, one year of unsupervised probation, and will attend court-ordered anger management classes. If she completes the class and breaks no laws over the course of the next 12 months, the conviction will be sealed, and will not be part of her permanent record.

So what really happened that day in 2007 at the Wal-Mart in Kennet, MO? Was a woman unfairly targeted because of her race? Or was the woman, who just happens to be black, at fault here?

Unfortunately, we will likely never know.

Racism is all too real, and sadly, small town America is not exempt from this ugly fact. In actuality, many would claim small town America is where racism is at its worst.

The problem with this particular case is that we wouldn’t even be having a racial discussion at all, had Heather behaved herself. Had she stood in line, not butted in front of anyone, simply paid for her things and gone home, none of  this- not her arrest or her subsequent racial allegations- ever would have come to pass. By her own recollection, no one had given her any trouble whatsoever until she jumped in line and was confronted for doing so. It’s not as if she had been harassed from the moment she came into the store… it wasn’t until after she began displaying inappropriate behavior that people began reacting and saying inappropriate things.

It is not in dispute that Kennet, MO has had racial problems in the past. It is important to note, however, that the ACLU has never gotten itself involved in that particular town until Heather graced the scene. 

Seems to me that the ACLU would have had more success in bringing this town’s racial issues to light had they chosen to protest on behalf of some of the many minorities that have been targeted in that town while they were actually obeying the law. People who were simply driving through the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time, and were stopped by racially profiling police officers. Not some half-crazed black woman who was being treated just fine- as just another customer- until she decided to raise a ruckus, cause a scene, and show her ass. 

As minorities, we must stop using racism as a defense to our own bad behavior. We cannot expect to be taken seriously when, by our own admission, we are treated badly after behaving badly.

We have to do better.

The ACLU and the NAACP both have picked some terrible examples of late in an attempt to showcase racism in America. Be it this particular case or the one in Cambridge, MA when a black Harvard Law Professor acted a damn fool and was consequently arrested by a white police officer.

In both cases, racism was never a factor until after the minority in question behaved completely inappropriately.

Heather committed a crime in Kennet, MO, and unfortunately, because of her bad behavior, that town’s legitimate history of racism will not be discussed. We have missed yet another opportunity to hold a responsible conversation about the ills of racial disparity in America today. Heather has given the people of Kennet, MO, an excuse not to have to analyse their own behaviors and prejudices. They can simply look to her outlandish behavior, shrug their shoulders and say, “Just another black person behaving badly”.

The sad truth is that in this case, and in too many others, they’re right.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Cambridge, Current Events, Discrimination, Extremists, Harvard, Hate, Henry Louis Gates Jr., James Crowley, News, Police Officers, Policy, Politics, Race, Racial Profiling

The Emperor Really Is Wearing No Clothes

Before delving into the true topic of today’s post, I want to point out some things about me personally.

I am different.

I am not black or white, but both… as are my thoughts, my feelings, my emotions and experiences.

I am a smorgasbord of things…

… I am half white, a quarter black and a quarter Native American.

I am a walking contradiction.

I am a person of color, raised by a white family.

I married a black man, and had two daughters by him.

I have lived a life of priviledge.

I have lived a life of pain.

I have lived a life of prejudice.

I have lived a life of contempt.

I have been victimized.

I have victimized others.

All of these things make me who I am.

They, like my own skin tone, muddy my views, color the waters of what I see in the world around me.

I cry out when I see real injustice.

I get angry when people claim to be victims of said injustice, but are really perpetrators, finding reasons to make excuses for own their unreasonable behavior.

I have no sympathy for a black man who does not take responsibility for his destiny, instead finding himself wallowing in self-pity and poverty.

I have no love for a white man who believes that by virtue of his skin color, he has inherited the keys to the world, and is entitled to keep his black brothers from having them too.

My views clash with those of my white friends and black ones.

I do not always see injustice where they do.

Sometimes, a white police officer is doing the unforgivable when targeting a black man simply because of the color of the man’s skin.

Other times, black men are taking advantage of tumultuous times, exploiting growing racial discomfort, highlighting racial tensions and using it all as an excuse not to have to take personal responsibility for their own actions.

I am sick of it.

I hear stories like the fiasco that occured in Cambridge, MA, and I am filled with shame.

A white police officer responded to a call of a buglary in progress at a residence in his jurisdiction. Sargeant James Crowley had no way of knowing, upon arriving at the residence, whether the man inside the home was the legal occupant or the same burglar a neighbor woman had called 911 about, claiming to have witnessed two men attempting to break into the home.

The man, it turns out, is Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. He is a prominent African American, but none of that matters to me. What is important is not Professor Gates’ prominence, but rather, his behavior on the night in question.

There is no doubt that Gates is the lawful resident of the home, nor is there any doubt that Professor Gates came home that evening, after a period of time overseas, to a house with a jammed front door. With the assistance of his driver, the door had to be man-handled, but was finally opened. It was the image of Gates, at night, accompanied by his driver, ramming his body repeatedly into the door that caused a neighbor to become alarmed. She called the police and reported what she was witnessing- two black males attempting to break into a residence.

Initially, upon responding Officer Crowley’s arrival, the professor refused to open his door. He accused the officer of simply targeting him as a black man in America. The officer, not to be swayed, refused to leave the premises until Professor Gates could prove that he was, in fact, the occupant of the house.

Gates, at this point, opened the door, told the officer to stay where he was, and went into the kitchen to obtain the requested identification.

The officer, not listening to Gates request to stay put instead followed him into the home.

I wonder why there was so much public outrage at this single act.

The officer did not, at this point, know that Gates was the resident of the home. Gates had yet to produce ID, and was overly defensive over the officer’s very presence. How was Crowley to know that Gates was not an intruder? How was he to know that Gates would not go into another room and produce a weapon? How was he to know that Gates was not claiming to leave the room for his identification, while actually planning to flee the scene through a back door?

It seems Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and (dare I say it) even President Barack Obama have lost sight of the fact that this was the investigation of a burglary in progress.

The professor, it is now obvious, did not like the fact that Officer Crowley inserted himself into the residence, and immediately became beligerent. While he did ultimately produce his identification, he began threatening the officer. Not with physical violence, but with such things as, “You have no idea who you’re messing with” and “You haven’t heard the last of me!”. He demanded the officer’s name and badge number, and followed the officer outside, continuing to scream at him.

Ultimately, deciding that he’d had enough, Officer Crowley arrested Professor Gates, charging him with disorderly conduct, though the charges were dropped the next morning.

Obama has spoken publicly, during a prime-time news conference, claiming Officer Crowley acted “stupidly”.

The Civil Rights icons are coming out of the wood-work, crying foul… screaming that this is yet another example of white-cop-on-black-man abuse.

Professor Gates’ attorney is making the rounds in a full-fledged media blitz, defending his client’s honor the best he can.

The mayor of Cambridge, MA is meeting with the professor over lunch to apologize on behalf of the city.

The Cambridge Police Department has called the incident “unfortunate”, but stands behind its Sargeant’s actions.

Sargeant Crowley himself refuses to apologize.

Personally, I don’t believe Obama should have inserted himself into this issue to begin with. As he stated during the press conference, he was not capable of giving an unbiased response, as Gates is his friend, and even admitted to not having all the facts available to him.

In short, the President had no idea what had occured on the night in question, was not capable of reacting to the facts, once available, in an unbiased fashion… so what he did was simply stand up for a friend…

He vouched for Gates simply because they have a personal history, not because there is any evidence to support the professor’s blown-up allegations.

How irresponsible indeed.

Now we have police officers the entire country over claiming Obama is a disgrace to them.

Perhaps, had he waited for all the facts to come out, he would have learned of Gates’ completely ridiculous, childish, temper tantrum-like behavior. Or of Officer Crowley’s distinguished career within the police department. Perhaps he would have learned that Crowley himself has taught Cambridge’s well-respected racial profiling course for the past five years.

He would have understood that there is no evidence of any sort of racism on the part of Officer Crowley… not when analyzing his behavior during this incident, or in reviewing his record on any other issue.

I was raised (by my white family) that if one chooses to act like a complete idiot having a mental breakdown in the presence of (and most espeically while being investigated by) a police officer, the crazy-acting guy pretty much deserves whatever the heck it is he gets.

This was not a case of racism.

This was the unfortunate result of a pissing contest between two men of considerable stature.

Period.

I have lost friends over my views on the Cambridge matter.

I have been accused, as a “woman of color”, of denying my “true” heritage in siding with the police officer in this case.

It hurts… I have never claimed racism is dead in America. I have blogged- multiple times- on this very site about its existence.

I refuse to bow down and call an ugly situation that could have been altogether avoided racism simply because the black man involved wants me to believe that’s what occured.

The Emperor really, truly, is wearing no clothes.

I will not pretend otherwise.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Change, Congress, Current Events, Discrimination, Elections, Gay Rights, Homosexuality, News, Policy, Politics, President

Obama, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Lame Excuses

Oh, Obama, you’re breakin’ my heart!

To say the least, I am extremely disappointed in Obama’s recent flip-flop on gay rights- most specifically, the military’s discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.

If he keeps this up, he’s gonna become nothing more than just a regular ol’ politician in my eyes.

That’s a heartbreaking thought.

Back in January Obama’s Communications Chief, Robert Gibbs, held a question and answer sessionon YouTube. One of the questions asked was whether or not the President intended to repeal the current policy regarding gays in the military.

Gibbs’ response?

A resounding yes.

Yes, yes and hell yes.

Now, however, we’re hearing something a li’l different, and it’s coming straight from the horse’s mouth.

Obama, it seems, doesn’t think the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is something he can do on his own… he says the legislative branch really needs to tackle this one, not him.

Sigh.

I believe I’m both getting whiplash and smelling some really rank B.S. all at once.

Yuck.

This guy can introduce a health care bill, a huge climate control bill, stimulus packages and everything else…

… But Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is too big a challenge?

Sorry, Mr. Prez.

I’m not buying it.

In fairness to Obama, he makes no bones about the fact that he still supports a change in the law- and that he’d like to see the change sooner, rather than later- but one kinda’ gets the impression that this isn’t the type of hot-button issue he wants to get behind right now…

… And is therefore deciding, not so gracefully, to pass the buck.

I wonder specifically, what “change” he’d like to see take place?

Beyond that, the whole thing just sounds disingenuous.

He certainly didn’t just wait for congress to decide it was time to act when he’s wanted to address other things that have been important to him during his short time in office.

He’s much more of a go-getter than that.

At least when the issue at hand is an important one- to him, at least.

I don’t know…

… Just doesn’t sit right.

Posted in C-Haze, Change, Current Events, Discrimination, Frank Ricci, Hope, New Haven, News, Policy, Politics, Race, Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court

The Death of Affirmative Action?

We are getting news today that the Supreme Court has ruled on the infamous New Haven Firefighter reverse discrimination case.

Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, in a strange coincidence, was one of the presiding judges during this case’s original appeal.

The High Court has ruled in favor of white firefighter Frank Ricci, reversing Judge Sotomayor’s ruling.

As most of us are aware, the New Haven firefighter case was about whether or not Mr. Ricci was unfairly discriminated against when he passed (with flying colors, I might add), the city of New Haven’s standard test, the results of which determined one’s eligibility for promotion within the department.

Ricci, unfortunately, did not get the promotion, because just after taking the test, the city threw out all test results because no eligible black firefighters (and only one Latino) had passed it.

The city’s defense was that they were following applicable federal law- Title VII, if you want the name for it- that prohibits an employer’s discriminating against any race in its hiring or promotion practices. Even if the discrimination is not purposeful, it is still illegal, according to the law.

When Ricci initially brought suit against New Haven, he lost, and the trial judge ruled in favor of the city.

Not to be deterred, he appealed the ruling at the federal level, where it fell into the lap of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s federal appellate court. Sotomayor (in a unanimous decision, reached along with the two other judges on the panel), upheld the trial court’s decision, ruling in a depressingly brief statement, that the applicable law- love it or hate it- had been appropriately applied.

Ricci then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. The High Court has spoken, and Frank Ricci is likely a very happy man.

I have had feelings that were difficult for me to reconcile about this case from the start.

I do not fault Judge Sotomayor in her decision, as she was merely charged with determining whether or not New Haven had been on the right side of the law when the city decided to throw out the test. Simply looking at legal precedent, New Haven’s officials acted the way the Title VII statute requires them to.

This case is a true eye-opener, and is a symptom of the challenges that can develop as a result of changing times.

In the not too distant past, reverse discrimination was a myth. It was an excuse used by lazy white people who did not have the education or the drive to get a real job and go to work. This country, at that time, was so terribly stacked against minorities that the notion that white people could possibly be victims of discrimination was absolutely ludicrous.

Now, however, things are different.

We have multiple laws- both state and federal- protecting workers from discrimination. These laws cover everything from gender to sexual orientation, from race to religious background. Not only are these laws on the books, they are actively in use. We have affirmative action- require some organizations to hire certain percentages of minority workers; we have colleges and universities that give preferential treatment to qualified minority applicants over equally qualified white candidates who apply for admission.

I have never been against affirmative action, as in my lifetime I have seen a real need for it. These laws, these practices, in my liberal mind, have always been my definition of reperations, the much-needed apology of a nation who has done dastardly deeds to minorities for centuries.

Today, however, I am conflicted.

Make no mistake- I am not so naive as to believe racism or (and perhaps especially) discrimination is dead. No, I still see evidence of it in my day-to-day life, and I am as appalled by it today as I ever was…

… But something has changed in this country.

The change is called progress.

No longer do we, as minorities, live in a nation where reverse discrimination is a ridiculous figment of certain people’s imaginations. On the contrary, we have made enough progress, moved far enough forward that reverse discrimination has become a real problem.

This case never could have happened had we not successfully begun to level the playing field.

For that fact alone, I am quite proud of my country today.

Make no mistake- we aren’t there yet.

There are still companies that will find silly and illegal reasons to keep from hiring a black man. 

Or a woman.

Or a Muslim.

Or a homosexual. 

… And apparently, in some cases, even a white person.

It is important to remember this fact, and to continue to fight against discrimination in all its forms. Companies still need to be held accountable for their hiring and promotion tactics, ensuring that they are not excluding anyone from realizing their true potential and achieving greatness.

The enemy here is, and always has been, discrimination.

We must be careful that we are not missing the forest for the trees. As Americans, we are the best- perhaps in the world- at doing just that.

It is discrimination we fight, and we fight it in all its forms.

Frank Ricci, while yes,  a white guy, is a man with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

He dedicated himself most thoroughly to passing the test administered by the New Haven fire department; a man who worked harder than probably anyone else to earn this promotion… quitting his second job so that he would have more time to devote to studying, spending large amounts (approximately $1,800) of his own hard-earned money on study materials and even hiring a tutor to come and read the materials to him, as his learning disabilities were so great, he could not have gotten through all of it on his own.

Some say the fact that Ricci had the resources to take such extraordinary measures to pass the test constitutes a bias. Simply put, not everyone has the luxury of quitting their second job, buying extra study materials, and hiring tutors to help prepare them for an upcoming test.

I agree, to an extent.

However, what I have not seen mentioned, at least not as point of fact, is that most people do not suffer from the learning disabilities Ricci has either.

How many of the other candidates had the unique challenge of overcoming dyslexia in order to prepare for and take this test?

Ricci went the extra mile, and in doing so, I believe he merely leveled the playing field.

He did not have an unfair advantage- in fact, he had a significant disadvantage- but rather than fall victim to the fact that he came to the starting line handicapped, he found away to overcome his disabilities.

This man was dedicated, he refused to let his shortcomings deter him. He found a way around his own handicap, and he knocked it out of the ballpark.

Since when is hardwork, creativity and digging up helpful resources not worthy of reward in this country?

He deserves his promotion.

Discrimination, in all its forms, is ugly.

Whether the victim is black or white, gay or straight, man or woman, Christian or Buddhist, learning disabled or not.

The goal is to create a level playing field, not to give minorities a free pass over all else.

It is because we are charged with fighting discrimination in all its forms that we should not be in support of hiring or promoting practices that tip the scales in the opposite direction either, causing a new group of people- fellow humans- to miss out on hard earned- and deserved- opportunities.

Regardless of race.

Past injustice does not constitute an excuse to inflict future injustice.

So…

… Today the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the white guy in a discrimination case, and strangely…

I’m ok with that.