Holiday entrenches hatred of diversity

During one of his patented tirades against political correctness, my old roommate Sean questioned the patriotism of those who identify themselves as African-Americans, Jewish-Americans, Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans. He said people should identify themselves as American before anything else.
At this point, I noted that in our brand of English, the modifiers usually precede the nouns (I was wearing my favorite jeans blue, a shirt green moth-eaten and shoes tennis).
“Doesn’t matter,” Sean said. “They should be Americans first.”
Exactly my sentiment regarding Black History Month. It doesn’t matter. What’s the point of this politically correct bonanza, which unofficially begins with the Martin Luther King holiday? Six weeks of multicultural propaganda, Spike Lee movies and black professionals getting fat on the lecture circuit serve no purpose besides getting people like Sean, who now practices law, all jacked up and more adamant about their beliefs.
Let’s face it. For many, the terms African-American, Jewish-American, Hispanic-American and Asian-American now carry connotations as contemptible as nigger, kike, spic and gook, their overtly derisive counterparts.
Any attempt by minorities to define themselves, express their beliefs or be proud of their heritage is counterproductive. Recent history proves just how useless black pride is.
Last year on Martin Luther King Day, the Ku Klux Klan received extensive, positive media play for planning a peaceful assembly in Madison, Wis. The Klan scored a public-relations coup most grass-roots organizations can only dream of achieving. Network news items defending their obvious constitutional right to assemble carried the day.
This year, after Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker repeated the anger-provoking comments he made about gays, single mothers, punks and minorities, people came out of the woodwork to defend him. The born-again free-speech advocates said big, fat morons have a right to speak their minds. Others made lame excuses for Rocker, such as, “Sure he’s racist, but it’s OK because he’s from a farm.”
More recently, the Confederate flag has dominated the media. Proponents treasure the flag as a part of Southern heritage and pride, while opponents think that part of history should be swept under a rug and we should focus on moving forward.
These controversial events have one thing in common: They are true to the spirit of the civil rights movement. The right to assemble, the right to speak freely and the desire to remember history — anyone opposed to that is a true bigot.
Making a mockery of hard-fought legal protection is nothing new and is not limited to issues of race.
Hooters, a restaurant chain featuring young waitresses in tank tops and short-shorts catering to male patrons, faced a lawsuit a couple years ago when they didn’t hire a man who applied to be a server. He claimed reverse gender discrimination, citing his serving ability and experience, and the restaurant’s disproportionate female/male employee ratio.
Derrick Bell suggests in his 1992 book, “Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism,” that the King holiday, the designated month and other commemorative events are nothing more than symbolic gestures designed and created by the dominant culture to placate blacks in America. Instead of addressing race, such symbols allow people to ignore racism and treat the issue as a relic from the past.
The situation today is much worse because of incendiary theories like Bell’s, which only reinforces the “Us vs. Them” mentality. At least ignoring racism doesn’t fuel the hate.
Equal opportunities
By taking race out of the equation and focusing on skill, experience and competence, the issue becomes individual ability. Everyone has the ability to work hard to get ahead in life.
Minnesota’s Public Service Commissioner/Commerce Commissioner Steve Minn is a perfect example. The governor appointed him to the dual role when the opportunity arose and allowed him to handle several initiatives prior to the confirmation hearings. As the only person to ever simultaneously handle both posts, Minn was the most qualified and experienced candidate.
Nothing else matters.
The social engineers in the Senate who ousted Minn whined about the less-than-open process by which Minn got the opportunity to test the content of his character. These same crybabies say employers play puppet-master and selectively deny crucial jobs, opportunities and experience to one applicant while giving another a leg up.
I know firsthand that this is utter nonsense. I’ve applied for five cashier jobs and was turned down every time because I had no experience — a very sound reason. If I had proven my cashier aptitude, I might have a legitimate beef.
Now the jokers are saying that rapidly changing computer technology exacerbates income disparities because only the people with access to the latest hardware and software remain qualified to do anything. Oh, boo-hoo. Don’t let this plight-of-the-poor rhetoric fool you. Our molly-coddling public officials now use “income disparities” as a code to talk about policies that develop special programs for minorities.
Need computer skills? Buy a computer. Need transportation? Buy a car. Need experience? Volunteer. Need a career? Pony up $1,500 and sign up with an exclusive career agency. Opportunity awaits anyone willing to do what it takes, whether they are white, black, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo or violet.
Black History Month, and other politically correct creations, encourage people to relive past struggles and talk about what might have been if their ancestors got their damn 40 acres and a mule. This tired rhetoric only fosters resentment from hard-working Americans.
It’s high time we stopped this destructive hate-filled holiday. It only causes people to become more entrenched in their ideology.
Ed Day’s column normally appears on alternate Thursdays. He welcomes comments to [email protected]