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Response to DeadEyeDyck (Reply #9)

Sun May 17, 2015, 09:53 AM

38. Are you speaking for MLK?

He was a proponent of affirmative action.

http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/the-right-has-a-dream/

King was well aware of the arguments used against affirmative action policies. As far back as 1964, he was writing in Why We Can’t Wait: “Whenever the issue of compensatory treatment for the Negro is raised, some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they agree; but he should ask nothing more. On the surface, this appears reasonable, but it is not realistic.”

King supported affirmative action-type programs because he never confused the dream with American reality. As he put it, “A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for the Negro” to compete on a just and equal basis (quoted in Let the Trumpet Sound, by Stephen Oates).

In a 1965 Playboy interview, King compared affirmative action-style policies to the GI Bill: “Within common law we have ample precedents for special compensatory programs…. And you will remember that America adopted a policy of special treatment for her millions of veterans after the war.”

In King’s teachings, affirmative action approaches were not “reverse discrimination” or “racial preference.” King promoted affirmative action not as preference for race over race (or gender over gender), but as a preference for inclusion, for equal oportunity, for real democracy. Nor was King’s integration punitive: For him, integration benefited all Americans, male and female, white and non-white alike. And contrary to Gingrich, King insisted that, along with individual efforts, collective problems require collective solutions.

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