02-20-2019  12:56 am      •     
Harry C. Alford of National Black Chamber of Commerce
Published: 24 June 2009

When you get right down to it, you can call it just plain psychological warfare.
It is pretty much what the maniacal propaganda minister for Adolph Hitler, Joseph Goebbels would say, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, then people will begin to believe it".
That is what classic bigots of the far right movement are practicing when they claim that someone is a "racist" or a "reverse racist". They exclaim that Affirmative Action is evil and is racist in principle. 
The real fact is that without Affirmative Action discrimination and the ills of racism fester and affect a targeted class in this nation, i.e. people of color and too often females regardless of color.
Groups like the Rocky Mountain Legal Foundation, the Pacific Legal Foundation, the Southeaster Legal Foundation and the Associate General Contractors sue government agencies for applying Affirmative Action to offset past discriminatory practices claiming that the remedy is in fact illegal. 
We have the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which says it is illegal to discriminate with federal monies or through federal regulation or benefit from a federal program. The Supreme Court has confirmed that you can use Affirmative Action or race based remedies when there is documentation and specific application applied. 
The past discriminatory practices of this nation are legendary and they still exist whenever there is no regulation, monitoring or adequate justice evident.
The life story of the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor is a fine example. This remarkable Latina rose from the bricks of the South Bronx and was raised by her Puerto Rican immigrant parents through the obstacles of poverty. 
Her father died when she was nine years old and she has been on insulin since the age of eight. It wasn't until after her father's death that she became fluent in English. Still, with strong determination she applied herself and became a driven scholar.  When the Civil Rights Act kicked in she was ready to take advantage of its purpose. 
Today, she is about to become an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court. It never would have happened without the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement and the establishment of the Civil Rights Act. Racism would have been an overwhelming obstacle as it was for so many before her.
So it was so insulting that after an illustrious academic record at Princeton and Yale Law School that the Washington, DC law firm of Shaw, Pittman, Potts and Trowbridge told her in an interview that the only reason she was at Yale was because of Affirmative Action and not her skill set. 
Being the giant that she is, she filed a formal complaint against the law firm. The official faculty/student review board found her complaint justified and the prestigious law firm had to deliver a formal written apology to her. I hope they learned from that lesson.
Equally hideous are the claims by some pundants (with racist reputations) that she is a racist because of her pride in her heritage. No one of this ilk and prestigious accomplishments could have the handicap of bigotry.  That is why she is about to become a Supreme Court Justice and they aren't. In fact, there is no sitting Supreme Court Justice whose resume and accomplishments at the time of their nomination could come close to that of Judge Sotomayor. I dare say there has been no other Supreme Court nominee in the history of this nation with as much bonafides as she. 
She is going to be great and that will heighten the judgment of President Barack Obama – the one who nominated her. Oh yes, isn't he another gifted child of God who got his chance through the Affirmative Action provided by the Civil Rights Act?
It is just amazing how many people of color have risen so fast as a result of the victorious Civil Rights Movement. "Cream" will always rise to the top and with the lid of bigotry declared illegal and out of our way we are witnessing that fact. So let us be vigilant and protect our liberties and the laws that were won by ourforefathers. 
We have come too far to turn around.  The vile claims, lies and assertions by bigots with a microphone must not deter our progress. Let's move on for we are just getting started.  As the song says, "Ain't No Stopping Us Now". 
A Hispanic Supreme Court Justice is well overdue. It would have happened much earlier if it weren't for racism. It is happening now because we are overcoming the racism of the past not because we are repeating it. Please don't fall for the game.  Congratulations Sonia Sotomayor and "Ndiyo Tunaweza" ("Yes We Can" in Swahili).

Harry Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. Website: www.nationalbcc.org.

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