Sunday, July 25, 2010

Virginia Senator James Webb wants to narrow the focus of government "diversity" (aka "affirmative action") programs

Virginia Democratic Senator James Webb ruffled some liberal feathers with a July 22 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “Diversity and the myth of white privilege: America still owes a debt to its black citizens, but government programs to help all ‘people of color’ are unfair. They should end”, link here

Webb has generally been progressive. Back in the 1990s, he supported President Clinton in his desire to lift the ban on gays in the military.

Webb points out “Also lost on these policy makers were the differences in economic and educational attainment among nonwhite cultures. Thus nonwhite groups received special consideration in a wide variety of areas including business startups, academic admissions, job promotions and lucrative government contracts. “. He then writes “Nondiscrimination laws should be applied equally among all citizens, including those who happen to be white.” In some ways, he is talking about reverse discrimination that at least one conservative tried (incorrectly and unethically) to tie to Shirley Sherrod.

Webb does discuss the specific history of African Americans relative to slavery, reconstruction, and segregation in this nation, and admits that some historical wrongs continue to persist. He does not mention reparations, which have sometimes been proposed.
I do recall at least one job interview in IT (back in the late 1980s) with a minority-owned company in Washington, and the interviewer described what sounded like preferences in contracting because of minority-owned status. I did not react or comment (even if I was surprised), and actually got an offer, although I went somewhere else.

Ben Pershing ran an article in the Washington Post Saturday July 24 “Va. Sen. Webb restates opposition to some affirmative action programs in op-ed”, link here.

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