August 28, 2022
Race before it went woke
On this day in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. touched a nerve with the following words:
"I have a dream....that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today."
We remember it today as the "I Have a Dream" speech delivered before 250,000 people at the March on Washington.
A year later, we passed the Civil Rights Act and other legislation intended to eliminate discrimination based on race.
Our family landed in the U.S. in the fall of 1964. I can still remember my late father speaking in glowing terms about how the U.S. corrected its mistakes and brought everyone into the fold. He would say something like "what other in the country has done anything like that?"
That was then, and this is now. Have we made progress on race relations? The easy answer is 'yes' but there is something in the air today that makes me wonder.
For example, look at Brown University:
Brown University has expanded eligibility for a teacher training class after initially restricting enrollment exclusively to racial and ethnic minorities.The "Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction" teacher training course at the Rhode Island-based Ivy League school had initially been restricted to "BIPOC" students. BIPOC is an acronym for black, indigenous, and people of color.
Translation: Whites can apply.
Second, let's look at what's happening at American Express, a company that has apparently gone woke:
A former American Express employee on Tuesday sued the credit card company, alleging that he was fired because he is white and objected to the company's "racially discriminatory" policies, Fox Business reports.Brian Netzel, who lost his job in 2020 after 10 years at American Express, filed a class-action complaint against the credit card giant. He said he and other white employees faced discrimination because of the company's "diversity" efforts.American Express poured billions of dollars into "antiracism" policies in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in 2020. Earlier this month, the company pledged to devote an additional $3 billion to a "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan."According to Netzel's lawsuit, American Express's implementation of these "antiracism" policies "gave preferential treatment to individuals for being black and unambiguously signaled to white employees that their race was an impediment to getting ahead in the company."Executives were given monetary incentives to "decrease the percentage of white employees in their departments."
Once upon a time, we used to say that two wrongs don't make a right. Honestly, I would not be surprised if we see more of these lawsuits in other companies. I've heard about these "diversity training" programs and it's woke all the way.
Where are we so many years since Dr. King told us to focus on character rather than race? We are focusing too much on race and that is wrong and poisonous.
Image: Circe Denyer via Public Domain Pictures, CC0 public domain. Image filtered with FotoSketcher.