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by Maxine Waters May/June 1995 issue of Poverty & Race

...This [California anti-affirmative action] initiative is a product of a climate that has nothing to do with affirmative action per se. Unemployment is still high in California. Many manufacturing jobs have fled to Third World countries in search of cheap labor. We've been buffeted by fires and floods and quakes.

Governor Pete Wilson and others are telling white males who are working people that Blacks, Latinos, women, etc. are taking away their jobs, their businesses, their admission to higher education.

That's easier than explaining to working people about economic policies that have shifted good-paying American jobs overseas, rewarded financial speculation over real investment in jobs, and caused working people's incomes to stagnate or decline. There's a word for this. It's called scapegoating....

White males make up one-third of America. Yet, white males constitute 80% of the membership in the House of Representatives, 92% of the Senate, 92% of the Fortune 500 senior executives, 67% of the Supreme Court, 80% of tenured university faculty and 90% of newspaper editors. Given these numbers, can anyone tell me how white males are being put upon by affirmative action?...

In fact, even white males have a stake in affirmative action. They have wives, daughters, mothers and others who are in the workforce, making money to pay the mortgage. Without affirmative action, those women would have less
opportunity and bring home less pay.... There is already too much political posturing in the debate about affirmative action. I do not support wide-ranging, ill-defined reviews. All this talk about "reviews" signals that perhaps something is wrong and needs to be "fixed." I do not want people starting with the idea something is wrong before first understanding what affirmative action is and is not.

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