Monday, November 8, 2010

LBJ and the Shackled Runner

Imagine a hundred-yard dash in which one of the two runners has his legs shackled together. He has progressed ten yards, while the unshackled runner has gone fifty yards. At that point the judges decide that the race is unfair. How do they rectify the situation? Do they merely remove the shackles and allow the race to proceed? Then they could say that "equal opportunity" now prevailed. But one of the runners would still be forty yards ahead of the other. Would it not be the better part of justice to allow the previously shackled runner to make up the forty-yard gap, or to start the race all over again? That would be affirmative action toward equality.
Commencement Address at Howard University (June 4, 1965)



3 comments:

sybil law said...

What a great metaphor?
Or, simile? I think it's a metaphor.

dmarks said...

Affirmative action is rather racist, because it relies on stereotypes and generalizations such as those in the example.

It punishes and rewards people solely for skin color.

Look at the shackles example, Pres. Obama's daughters have none and are at the front of the race (political and economic elite). There are more non-blacks in poverty than there are total black people in the US.

But what does affirmative action do? It hobbles those non-blacks in poverty (those pushed to the back of the bus by racist job quotas), and gives rich blacks even more of a boost.

The metaphor is great if you want to deny the existence of millions of middle-class African-Americans.

The only justice is if there is to oppose all racism.

Phillip Dennis said...

Privilege and justice have been denied and are denied to African Americans in ways that the white race in America has never experienced. If the past centuries have not made that clear, then the events of the past year have.