John McCain said yesterday that he supports a proposed ballot initiative in his home state that would prohibit affirmative action policies in state and local governments. A decade ago, he called a similar effort "divisive."This is where John McCain and I strongly disagree. As long as racism exists and there is discrimination in the workplace as well as within the walls of education, affirmative action remains a necessary to overcome class and racial ignorance. Statistics on the lack of diversity in corporate America and the news media especially back up the fact that minorities and women are not being given the same opportunities as their while, male counterparts. What's also needed is for politicians, in particular, to educate themselves about the difference between AA and quotas as many on the far Right, who fervently oppose AA, have exploited the issue by blurring the lines of its intent. Quotas, that is, forcing employers to hire folks strictly based on their race, is flat-out wrong. AA is about fairness and opportunity, not forced diversity that'll create resentment amongst candidates, much less place unqualified folks in positions they have no right being in.
Over the years, McCain has consistently voiced his opposition to hiring quotas based on race. He has supported affirmative action in limited cases. For example, he voted to maintain a program that encourages the awarding of 10 percent of spending on highway construction to women and minorities.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week," the Republican presidential candidate said he supports the effort to get a referendum on the ballot in Arizona that would end affirmative action.
In Major League Baseball, Commissioner Bud Selig instituted a policy not too long ago that mandates that baseball owners interview at least one minority when hiring managers, general managers and other executive posts, it's not a perfect solution, but it's a step in the right direction for a sport that has far more diversity on the playing field than within the walls of the higher-ups. Perhaps, instead of pandering to the Limbaugh Right, McCain should contact Selig to get an idea as to what AA is really about. Granted McCain isn't going to win the black vote no matter what he does, but considering his past history in voting against creating a holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. (which McCain later admitted was dumb on his part), there's no need to re-antagonizing a base that holds affirmative action dear, and rightfully so.