Just because minorities are involved doesn’t mean it’s a civil rights issue

Stanley Crouch has a great column bemonaing the tendencies of some hustlers to try to color every issue that involves minorities as a denial of civil rights. So, the transit workers strike in New York City that inconvenienced black and white New Yorkers alike so that workers with cushy benefits could strike for even better benefits that would amaze the rest of us suddenly became an issue of racism by the city against the black members of the union.

I found Transport Workers Union President Roger Toussaint’s reference to Rosa Parks – in an attempt to give a salary and benefit dispute the patina of civil rights – an irresponsible distortion of the matter. I also found the Rev. Al Sharpton’s comparing our mayor to white segregationist Bull Connor an even more absurd instance of overstatement, especially since Michael Bloomberg has done nothing close to hosing down nonviolent protesters or setting dogs on them.

To the contrary, Bloomberg has done a worthwhile job in overhauling our city’s education system, which is comprised of nearly 85% minority students.

Toussaint’s rhetoric in leading the overwhelmingly minority union is just part of what has become a norm in our society, where any heated situation involving people who are not white is suddenly thrown into the arena of civil rights or the rights of an ethnic culture. For example, black basketball players cried foul when a dress code was enforced, told by the NBA that its fans do not want to see them looking like hip hop buffoons at league functions.

At the worst end, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan and Sharpton joined Snoop Dogg and other celebrities with brains no larger than mustard seeds in mourning at the funeral of executed murderer and Crips founder Stanley (Tookie) Williams.

Given the rhetoric and the crocodile tears, one would have thought Williams was one of the four little girls blown to bits in 1963 at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

I get infuriated when people use the “Holocaust” as a rhetorical club to beat up any political opponent they want to demean. I’d like to see more blacks to join Stanley Crouch in denying these publicity merchants the license to call racism for every political fight they engage in. It demeans those who really suffered under abusive laws and who struggled so long and so nobly for the civil rights that their descendants enjoy today. Being asked to contribute to your own pension plan is not a racist attack.

If you enjoyed this post by Betsy Newmark, you can read more of her work at Betsy’s Page.

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