NAACP fries Webb for call to end affirmative action
The head of the Virginia NAACP has skewered U.S. Sen. Jim Webb for arguing in an op-ed piece that affirmative action programs should end.
King Salim Khalfani, executive director of the state NAACP, wrote: "Do you really believe that affirmative action has hurt white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants or are you pandering to the divisive, conservative, Tea Bagger types whose votes you will need in 2012?"
Webb created quite a stir with his Wall Street Journal commentary titled "Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege." I thought he presented a lucid and engaging discussion of how the old stereotype of the privileged Anglo-Saxon should have died years ago.
And, having grown up partly in the South, I could appreciate how negative images of the region and the people held by non-Southerners often lack a basis in reality. After leaving my North Carolina home for college in the Boston area in 1970, for example, I was struck by how many highway patrol stories I heard from classmates who had never really visited the region and whose views had been shaped by movies such as "In the Heat of the Night" or television footage of civil rights protesters being beaten (mostly in Alabama or Mississippi).
Furthermore, I have always admired Webb as a writer, notably his Vietnam war novel "Fields of Fire" and "Born Fighting," his history of pugnacious Scots-Irish immigrants, which fits perfectly his ancestors and some of mine.
But at the end of his Journal piece, Webb, out of the blue, hits us with: "Beyond our continuing obligation to assist those African-Americans still in need, government-directed diversity programs should end."
Whoa, I thought, how did we jump to this conclusion? He offers no support for that particular point, and I have to agree on this one with Khalfani, who wrote:
"Your opponent then and coming George Allen would not have had the gall to write about the 'myth of white privilege' even though I am sure he feels that way."
| July 28, 2010; 12:45 PM ET
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