Racism continues to raise its ugly "head" in the midst of our political arena. Current events are creating a picture of strange bedfellows.
The consummate Uncle Tom and Poster Boy for the libertarian movement, Wardell Connerly, has become a hero to the vile and evil organization known to all as the Ku Klux Klan. That's right. The Klan is starting to follow Wardell around the nation as he seeks to dismantle affirmative action, state by state. They follow him to cheer him on and to provide unsolicited assistance wherever and whenever they can. He has even stated that if they support his efforts that is fine with him. That speaks volumes as to his wickedness and anti-American values. The Right and the Klan moving together for philosophical reasons – it has finally come to this. Wardell does it for the money, regardless of the damage caused to minority and women communities and the Klan does it to move its agenda of hatred and the destruction of people of color. They are a perfect match.
We, as a people and targeted victims of the above, have been too polite and docile. Our defense has been pure reaction. We have got to take to the offensive with a vengeance reminiscent of the past Civil Rights Era. The Klan wants us dead and the libertarians want us to return to Jim Crow in a polite way. We aren't having it and we need to make it very clear that those who plot such action will be confronted straight up.
The Klan's favorite recruiting ground is NASCAR racing events. The libertarians choose country clubs and right wing think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. On the matter of civil rights there isn't too much difference between them and the Klan and we should from this point on lump both of them together.
Oh, how forgiving we are with Jack Kemp. That's the guy who claims to love Blacks so much. When he ran on the Republican ticket for Vice President in 1996, he did an about face and supported the abolition of affirmative action at all levels.
He and Bob Dole, the presidential candidate, said they were going to do away with affirmative action. As his mate, Bob Dole said, "It's a good wedge issue." Mr. I Love Black Folks was going to sell us out pure and simple. Why do we ignore this fact and let him back into our circles?
Why is this previous opponent of affirmative action, i.e. the Civil Rights Act, on the Board of Trustees of Howard University? Are we nuts!!! His resignation should be demanded immediately. He isn't sincere and is, in fact, quite dangerous.
My brothers and sisters, there should be no more forgiveness and tolerance when it comes to the Civil Rights Act. Affirmative action is the driver of the Civil Rights Act and to do away with that would stop the effectiveness of this great act and product of our civil rights struggle.
We don't tolerate the Klan and shouldn't tolerate opponents of affirmative action. Consider them one and the same.
The greatest opportunity before us is the elections of 2008. We must have an acid test for all candidates: DO YOU SUPPORT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION? Each and every candidate must answer that question as it comes from all entities – individuals, associations, etc.
If the answer is "no", or if it is iffy than we must oppose that candidate regardless of all other matters and withdraw any support. We cannot vote for, contribute to or even passively ignore any candidate for whatever position. From president to school board seat, that question must be posed. If the answer is negative or soft, we should lump the candidate with the Klan and crazy Wardell Connerly. They are no good for us, our communities or nation. Treat them like the devil.
A devil that wants to go back to the bad old days where lynchings were like fruit on the trees and institutional poverty was our destiny. Back of the bus, poor education, few and small jobs with no careers and advancement and no business development as scarce as a million dollar lottery ticket – that is where we refuse to go back to. So why are we silent and are rather docile about this?
The damage caused in California, Proposition 209, has been devastating to people of color and even White women. It's time to crush the anti affirmative action sponsors – Ku Klux Klan, Wardell Connerly and the far right.
From here on out, let the opponents of affirmative action fall on their "swords." Affirmative action is necessary and is not going anywhere soon. Justice can deal with the Klan and we voters can deal with the far right.
Harry C. Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc.