Who Is Special?

Before going on with this post, I would like to assure all of the readers of this post that I am not a racist, a bigot, and nor do I believe that any one race is superior to another. People are people, and how they conduct themselves is a reflection upon themselves, not about the color of their skin. Whether or not they want to make an issue of skin color, I leave that to the well-established organizations that have a history of such actions & views. Any comments alluding to the contrary will be subject to my commenting policy.

As many of you know, February is Black History Month. This means that my work is now plastered with placards, posters, and art celebrating the ethnicity of Americans of African descent. I personally do not have a problem with this – everyone should be able to relate to and celebrate their heritage.

Other months and weeks celebrate Hispanic, Asian, and Native American ethnicity, and also have their own posters, art, and whatnot showing the rich culture that these groups have. And yes, there is a Gay, Lesbian, and Trans-gendered display for that community that gets put up once a year. But there is nothing celebrating the White, Caucasian, or European stock that populate this country.

Why is it that only certain groups get their days in the sun while a certain group does not? Now while I admit to being of mixed-Irish decent, St. Patrick’s Day just doesn’t cut it in my humble opinion. One day of revelry (?) does not make up for a month of hoopla (and even then there are some accounts that the day has a negative connotation about the Irish, but I digress). But if I or others of my ethnic background make a fuss about this apparent inequality, we are promptly branded racist, hate-mongering bigots.

This is one of the reasons that I believe that diversity, as a whole and in practice, is a sham. If we truly want to celebrate a diverse culture, we would not single out one race or skin-color for omission nor raise one up above all others. And if one ethnic group points out the inequality, they shouldn’t be flamed for it.

From another angle on the same subject, I was listening to a local radio station, and there was a statement that Detroit was the most segregated city in the United States. There was a further announcement that there was going to be a symposium to discuss the issue (translation: problem). Is this really a problem or not?

I hate to state the obvious, but people of similar ethnic backgrounds tend to band together. There is this herding instinct, one that wants to have familiar or similar faces and backgrounds around us. Be honest with yourself – do you have more friends of a similar race to yourself, or from a different race? What is your real preference? Nothing to be ashamed of – that’s just the way humans are.

But the problem is that there are people thinking that this is inherently wrong behavior. These pointy-headed social engineers (PHSE) believe that to think differently than their paradigm means that you are racist and a hate-monger. Sorry, Professor PHSE, that is a false assumption for your perception of perceived problem.

The fact of the matter is that you and I most likely have more friends of similar skin color than not. This doesn’t mean that we are racist or bigoted. In fact, I get along with just about everyone whether or not they are the same skin color as I am or not. But the PHSEs don’t like this, and lobbied for laws and regulations to force the issue.

I’m not talking about the civil rights acts that guarantee everyone a fair shot at jobs, housing, or education. Rather, the ones that I am thinking of are ones that state quotas (explicit or implicit) for the same subjects: jobs, housing, and education.

As an example, there is a regulation that states that each large corporation must award a certain percentage of business to minority-based or owned suppliers. To do otherwise would incur higher taxes or fines. These businesses know this, and typically charge higher rates for their services. Is this fair to a non-minority owned business?

Another example is Michigan’s Proposal 2 that was overwhelmingly approved by the voters last election. It stated in part:

Ban public institutions from using affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes. Public institutions affected by this proposal include state government, local governments, public colleges and universities, community colleges and school districts.

And the courts are now battling the will of the people stating that this is unconstitutional! In effect, the courts are arguing that some places in these institutions should be reserved, i.e., a quota, for people that may not otherwise qualify or have the opportunity to attend school or get a job. Excuse me? Shouldn’t the best qualified people be hired for the job or an educational spot instead of a person that isn’t? Here would be my argument to the court:

Suppose that a person who does not have the ability or education is hired for the job of designing and building a highway bridge. They are contracted merely because the contract that needed to be filled was reserved for a person of that ethnic or social background. Would you want to be the first person to drive over that bridge after it’s completed?

Because of this argument, I have problems with quotas wrapped in the guise of affirmative action. Everyone should have an equal bite at the apple, but the deciding factor should be on the person’s ability & merit, not race, gender, or social standing. Unfortunately, what has happened is not fair and is patronizing to those people that the affirmative action programs are supposedly helping.

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post titled Equal Diversity. In it I wrote:

Government sponsored quotas & regulations will not change people’s attitudes toward diversity. All these will do is promote division, dissension, and resentment. I have noticed in recent years an increase of these attitudes. This is NOT what Martin Luther King had in mind.

His vision looked for the Negro people to stand side by side with the White people as equals, and to get there by self-sufficiency, not by a government mandate. He wanted his people to rise up to their potential, to stand on their own two feet, not by some law or subsidy. Patronage of the Negro was not his vision, but to join the human race as equals to any other ethnic group, to enjoy the fruits of hard labor through equal opportunity, and not through quotas.

So whether it is an ethnic holiday, applying for a job or education, or anything else, we should be color-blind, and so should our government, education, and employment institutions. It’s either all or nothing as far as I’m concerned – I’m fed up with the double-standards and favoritism. How about you?


About Tom Roland

EE for 25 Years, Two Patents - now a certified PMP. Married twice, burned once. One son with Asperger's Syndrome. Two cats. Conservative leaning to the Right. NRA Life Member.
This entry was posted in Business, Diversity, Government, Michigan, Opinion. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Who Is Special?

  1. Tom says:

    Mandatory busing should have taught the PHSEs a thing or two. Forcing children to ride far way from home so they could balance the racial make-up of a school was foolish and counter-productive. And what happened when those children got to school? They tended to group together, on their own, by ethnicity.

    When they do it at a college, it’s supposed to be a good thing. As long as it’s voluntary. But Whites remain outside that paradigm.

    The Scots-Irish are an important part of this nation’s history and success. But they may not say so. That would just be racist nonsense from a bunch of crackers and hillbillies.

    benning | Homepage | 02.07.07 – 9:28 am | #

    Good post Tom. I have much to say on this subject but don’t like the idea of being branded a bigot. Also it is late and I need to sleep. Try not to post to soon so I can catch up!
    Tom C | Homepage | 02.07.07 – 5:03 pm | #

    I have also wondered the same thing. We are Americans and we should celebrate American holidays–end of discussion. And, we have a holiday honoring MLK, who was a wonderful man. I have no problem with that.

    I also wonder why there is a United Negro College Fund and a Black Expo in Indianapolis.

    And, like you, I am not racist, I just think we all need to exist together without these groups that seem to seperate us more. Just my opinion.
    Teresa | Homepage | 02.08.07 – 4:14 am | #

    This is one of my pet peeves as well. Every year my wife and her family have started talking about attending the Indy Black Expo, and every year I have had to put my foot down and state adamantly that neither I nor my family will be attending such an inherently racist event–at least not until Indy also hosts a “White Expo.”

    My In-Laws first thought I was joking, and then they thought I was just being unreasonable & stubborn.

    Then I asked them how they would feel if the city actually had such a thing as a White Expo. They started off sputtering half-finished sentences with the usual pablum about “leveling the playing field” and how Whites start off at an advantage, and how the Expo is “just an opportunity for Blacks to support and network with other Blacks”.

    And then I asked them again how they would feel if Indianapolis hosted such an event exclusively geared towards Whites.

    They had nothing to say.
    Armed & Christian | Homepage | 02.08.07 – 9:37 pm | #

    This post reminds me of the child who asks their parent, “Why is there a Mothers Day and a Fathers Day but no Kids’ Day?” To which the parents respond, “Why honey, every day is Kids’ Day!”

    Sometimes, when a playing field has been skewed, it is a righteous and moral thing to level the playing field.

    But it would seem that some here reject that idea. You are free to do so.

    This is one white fella whose life has only been enriched by noting the accomplishments of minorities in this country. I expect that one day perhaps not too far in our future, when white folk are a minority in the US, we might see more acceptance of White History month IF the majority of what is talked about and written about is what the Majority race(s) are doing.

    I’ve always been puzzled by those who seem to take offense at this. Why?

    No harm, no foul.
    Dan Trabue | Homepage | 02.09.07 – 9:27 am | #

    Why?! I can’t believe you even have to ask, Dan. You obviously didn’t read my comment, which is right above yours.
    Think about it.
    If someone was to sponsor a White Expo to allow Whites to network together and support one anothers’ businesses (which is the stated purpose of the Black Expo), how many minority groups would be protesting and screaming “racism” at the top of their lungs?
    Why is it racist for one group and not for another? Why the double standard? Where does the idea of skewing the playing field in one direction become misinterpreted as levelling it? If it is supposed to be level, then make it level; fair, balanced, and equal for all parties concerned.
    I’ll tell you what is racist, Dan. One of the most deeply racist beliefs in this country is believing that one particular ethnic group is so scarred, crippled, trapped, and helpless from their history that few members of that group can make anything meaningful of their lives without significant assistance.
    Armed & Christian | Homepage | 02.09.07 – 7:46 pm | #

    Hmmmm I wonder how MLK would stand in the harsh light of day with his character? I have little or no use for black folks in general. It’s not because of the color of their skin so much as the tendency of their group. Having said that, I have some black friends that I owe a great deal.
    Tom C | Homepage | 02.10.07 – 7:08 pm | #

    Benning- Forced busing was more a political move than it was a practical one. Now, with school budgets overextended and the groups within the schools still segregated, the stupidity of forced integration is revealed.

    Tom C – Glad you could catch up on your sleep . Yes, there are actions of folks of different skin colors that baffle and disgust us, but the important thing to remember is that people are people, and they can be definitely different in interesting ways.

    Teresa and A&C – When I lived in Indianapolis, I too thought that the Black Expo was discriminatory. I would have much preferred a Small Business Expo where everyone could show their stuff.

    Dan – I have no idea how to respond to your comment except for why wait until one group becomes a minority? All accomplishments and contributions of the various groups and individuals should be celebrated. That is the true spirit of celebrating diversity.

    Everyone – While I believe that the celebrating diversity movement is nothing more than a political move, the reality is that the more one group is celebrated above the other(s), dissent and separation will result. This is not bringing people with diverse talents and backgrounds together – it serves to drive wedges between them. Why do you think that hacks like Farrikan, Sharpton, and Jackson for all their efforts have not helped reduce the divisions between the races? Answer – such continued divisions serve their own purposes (see Equal Diversity post for more comments on this thought).
    Tom | Homepage | 02.11.07 – 3:09 pm | #

    I hate to state the obvious, but people of similar ethnic backgrounds tend to band together. There is this herding instinct, one that wants to have familiar or similar faces and backgrounds around us.

    I saw this at UCLA, which prides itself on diversity. When I was there in the late 80’s-early 90’s, if you went down Bruin Walk, you could see students segregating into the African Student Union group standing around….the Chinese student group would mill about on the steps outside Kerkhoff Hall….

    You have a point.

    That said..

    Be honest with yourself – do you have more friends of a similar race to yourself, or from a different race? What is your real preference? Nothing to be ashamed of – that’s just the way humans are.


    I hate to state the obvious, but people of similar ethnic backgrounds tend to band together. There is this herding instinct, one that wants to have familiar or similar faces and backgrounds around us. Be honest with yourself – do you have more friends of a similar race to yourself, or from a different race? What is your real preference? Nothing to be ashamed of – that’s just the way humans are.

    Tom, for myself, I identify more with white folk. I am attracted to whites more than I am to Asians, my ethnic background. This is because environment shaped me more than a biological “calling” to herd with “my own”. As far as I was concerned, white middle America was “my culture”.

    I’ve been wanting to do a blog post for months, now, regarding my background and my feelings, based upon a NYTimes article about how parents who have adopted Chinese girls feel obligated to instill in them Chinese culture. My belief, as an adopted Thai baby born in Phoenix and raised by a white dad and a Japanese mom, is “No, they don’t.” Their culture is the culture of those who raise them. And to do that crosses the racial barriers at a deeper level. Now, if they express interest in their heritage, by all means, allow them the exposure. But don’t cram it down their throats. Give them your values, your religious beliefs, your heritage. That is real acceptance into the family; otherwise, there is a sense of being an outsider, as someone who is not blood-related to the family name.
    wordsmith | Homepage | 02.14.07 – 4:32 pm | #

    Wordsmith – I had not considered adoption when I wrote the post. Perhaps I was thinking more of culture than race. I stand corrected.

    And you do bring up a good point. Culture has a lot of bearing upon who we associate with. Inner-city kids (black, Hispanic, white, etc.) are raised in the same culture, and do hang out with each other (unless they are part of competing gangs).

    But regardless, the point that I really wanted to make is that there is an unequal standard in the rush toward diversity. And this gets thrown in our faces everyday.

    Thank you for your comment!
    Tom | Homepage | 02.14.07 – 5:14 pm | #

    I am not racist either! I like them even though they are green! However if they do wrong they will hear about it from me!
    dcat still @it | Homepage | 02.17.07 – 2:28 pm | #

    dcat – What about green with purple spots?
    Tom | Homepage | 02.17.07 – 3:25 pm | #

    my answer to it all. stop thinking in sociological terms. we have let the science of sociology dictate how we view ourselves as a people. we are all individuals and we need to get back into that mindset. just because sociology divides a people up into classes that does not mean we should. sociology has brainwashed us so much now that when we think of a people we automatically think in terms of different classes with each of us being a member of a class.

    i am an individual, unique in my being. and being unique i have no equal. and i’ll say that this true of each and every one of us. if you agree with this then the only conclusion that we can come to is; we are all in a class alone. and that the only way we can divide a people up into classes is to see people in a singular light. and that is not what equality is about. you cannot eliminate it by promoting it at the same time.
    The Griper | 02.19.07 – 1:34 am | #

    Diversity in any setting, particularly workplace diversity can be problematic. In many cases, a company or an organization’s diversity efforts amount to nothing more than an attempt to increase the diversity numbers resulting in discrimination against the majority and other bad (and to some extent unintended) things. Here is good example of what happens when a diversity program is poorly administered. The Beverly Hills, California school district put together a program that ended up favoring one minority group over another, rather than treating all groups (including white students) equally.
    Diversity Careers | Homepage | 04.16.07 – 3:58 pm | #

  2. Olivia says:

    Government has us in groups and they accomplished that by dividing us. The masses can’t be conquered until that is done. Presidents create chaos because you can’t have order without it.

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