Letter to the Editor
St. Petersburg Times (appeared in Sunday, November 14, 1999, issue)

 Bill Maxwell’s intemperate attack on three leading black intellectuals in Sunday’s (November 7, 1999) newspaper was another depressing example of the double standard evident in the Democratic consensus that supports affirmative action.  Ward Connerly, Clarence Thomas, and Alan Keyes are demonized for supporting the kind of society that civil rights’ leaders in the 1960’s demanded, i.e., a color-blind society.  At that time, Martin Luther King wanted a society in which people would be judged by their characters, not by the color of their skin.  Nowadays, such men are castigated as “darlings of white conservatives,” a thinly veiled “Uncle Tom” description, because they speak out against racism coming from the opposite direction.  The racial set-asides that these men oppose judges people exactly according to the color of their skin.

 Maxwell would have us believe that Ward Connerly and Clarence Thomas deny that they have ever been discriminated against because of their race and play the race card only when “convenient.” Such personal attacks are fallacious and hateful.  These men have honored the commitment to the level playing field that this country made as a result of the drive for true civil rights.  The real race card is played by those who slur the characters of those men and insist that the black middle class owes its existence and success to preferential treatment rather than to its own achievement.

[Note: The following paragraph, in bold type, was included in my letter-to-the-editor, but was edited out of the newspaper version by the St.  Pete Times editorial staff.]

 Tony Welch’s attack on Ward Connerly for “hypocrisy” disguises the real culprit, which is himself.  The real hypocrites are those who demand government-enforced quotas based on nothing but race, which re-inforces the old stereotypes of black Americans who cannot achieve without help.  Such charges feed black paranoia and white resentment and provide obstacles to addressing the real problems within the black community. 

(Note: In the interest of brevity, the following two paragraphs were not included in my original letter-to-the-editor, but are included in this on-line version since the contents of these paragraphs expand and enhance the thesis of my argument.)

 David Horowitz correctly identifies the coalition of Democratic Party liberals who “need the economic dependence and monolithic political choices of the African-American community in order to secure their own political power.” This power can be sustained only by inflaming racial fears of black Americans and making them feel insecure without the help of the government programs through which they have created this dependency.  The billions of dollars that flow from such programs into the administrative bureaucracy and public sector unions -- particularly the teachers’ unions -- form the heart of the Democratic Party’s political machine.

 The primary beneficiaries of these programs that constitute affirmative action are the black elites who benefit.  In The Shape of the River, Derek Bok and William Bowen focus their attention on racial preferences in admissions at twenty-eight colleges.  Their study shows that 86% of the African-American beneficiaries of these racial preferences already come from the upper-middle and upper classes of the black community, and that they go on to top leadership positions in government and society.  Horowitz identifies this class as a “neo-colonial bourgeoisie” that is granted privileges by the imperial power to maintain its control over the colonial masses and secure the profits that flow from the system.  This privileged class benefits at the expense of minorities and the poor, and  spokesmen for the elite interests, like Maxwell, are collusive in the character assassination of black conservatives who threaten the coalition, like Ward Connerly, Clarence Thomas, and Alan Keyes. 

Linda Teasley

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