Nov 27, 2006
Proposal two passed in Michigan by a 58% vote. It amends the state constitution to ban affirmative action programs by state and local governments in public employment, contracting and education. Those who pushed to ban affirmative action campaigned under the slogan of “equality.”
What a load of crap!
Anyone for real equality would be fighting for the most enriched preschool possible – for free – for every child. That way every child could enter kindergarten EQUALLY ready to read, ready for math and science, familiar with computers, comfortable with music, art and culture.
Anyone for real equality would fight for smaller class sizes in public schools. That way every child who faces obstacles to learning could be EQUALLY helped, and their talents properly developed.
Anyone for real equality would side with the working class and fight like hell to open up good paying jobs for everyone.
Affirmative action came at the very end of the black mobilization that spanned the 1950s, ‘60s and early ‘70s. In effect, it was a recognition that the movement had been tamed. The strength of the mobilization of the black population and other social movements had earlier led to vast social improvements that helped the working class as a whole – white, black, brown, female, male – and all oppressed groups.
Health care improvements were introduced through the formation of Medicare and the expansion of Medicaid as a national program.
Unemployment insurance was broadened and improved.
Social security was extended to many more workers and payments were increased – almost to a liveable level!
In many states, workers’ compensation was improved.
New education programs were added like Head Start. Financial aid for college was broadened and increased. And many more slots in colleges were opened to working class children.
Discriminatory laws were changed.
As the last embers of the social movements of the 1960s were being extinguished, affirmative action was introduced. Implicit within affirmative action was an understanding that the ruling class would offer only limited educational and employment opportunities. Affirmative action would pretend to level the playing field a bit – but only in the competition for limited educational resources and jobs.
And now today come these people pretending that affirmative action is the issue. In reality, they are only justifying this limited situation which prevents most working class children from ever going to college.
Everyone who wants should be able to attend the university of their choice. Every college should offer a superb education for a tuition ordinary people can afford. And everyone who wants to work should have access to a decent paying job.
This is the only path to real equality of opportunity.