NAACP attacks Missouri Civil Rights Initiative

Relying on flawed logic and outright falsehoods, Kansas City NAACP president Anita Russell attacked the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative in the Kansas City Star on Tuesday.

In the half of the column that wasn’t an NAACP promo piece, Russell invokes much of the usual rhetoric, saying that “until we can remove all barriers that keep African-Americans from achieving the American dream, we still need the NAACP and affirmative action.”

She cites socioeconomic disparities between whites and blacks, but is unwilling or unable to point to specific barriers, in her words, that supposedly cause them. She confuses equality of condition with equality of opportunity.

But here’s the real kicker:

“Affirmative action is a tool to give qualified individuals equal access to opportunities. It does not impose quotas or preferential treatment or force the hiring of unqualified people.” (emphasis added)

WRONG. This is a factually inaccurate statement, and I’m surprised it’s too bad that the Kansas City Star let it stand.

Affirmative action does involve preferential treatment, and that’s exactly what MoCRI seeks to address. MoCRI would eliminate preferences in public employment, public contracting and public education on the basis of race (or gender). If affirmative action did not involve preferences, then Russell should not have a problem with eliminating such preferences as a matter of law, and thus no problem with MoCRI.

Instead, she labels MoCRI, which is anti-preferences, as “anti-affirmative action,” but then claims affirmative action does not involve preferences. This is intentionlly misleading, to the point of being dishonest.

Alas, I suspect this is only a mild preview of the irresponsible rhetoric, let alone nasty behavior, that we will see come from opposition in the next two years.

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