Email Our Editor

Join Our Mailing List

View Our Archives

Search our archive:

The Last 20 Days' Editorials

Email This Article  Printer Friendly Version

Politics Mondays: An Open Letter To Black leaders: Why Affirmative Action Makes No Sense To A Black MAN by Alonzo Fleming

*Editor's note: The following was written by Alonzo Fleming in commemoration of the Million Man March and prior to the recent vote on Affirmative Action in Michigan.

October 16, 2006

Dear Civil Rights Leaders:

As America celebrates the arrival of its 300 millionth citizen, I am concerned and perplexed by your preoccupation with Affirmative Action. I don’t deny the racism that plagues America, but I can’t seem to wrap my brain around the reasoning and hope you place in Affirmative Action as a remedy. The more I listen to your explanations, the more insane you sound; so I have composed a list of reasons why I as a black man believe that a vote for or against proposal 2 in Michigan, is a vote for the declaration of black inferiority. I hope that you will summon the courage and faith to muster a coherent answer that would change my thinking if I am wrong in this matter.

You say affirmative action is an act by white men to fix past wrongs done to black men. By creating a special door for us to enter, someday the playing field will be equal. You say that without this special treatment, we don’t have the wherewithal to be successful. You further argue that although affirmative action has been in place for some time now, blacks (especially black men), have not progressed in society, but have in fact regressed. This sad fact is annually paraded before us by the National Urban League reports. With that in mind, here are my reasons for calling the affirmative action concept a “bankrupt” idea doomed to failure.

1) Mathematically improbable that we will benefit from it

In an environment of a shrinking economy, those who control what we seek in affirmative action are like parents who have four available jobs, and five children seeking those jobs. We are like people having five children, begging the other parent to give just one of those jobs to our children. However, that is a ridiculous expectation. No one in his right mind would deprive his own children, in order to feed another parents’ child-Especially when he sees the other parent has just as much strength and intellect to develop for himself. With all the hardworking individuals flooding America, just itching for the opportunity to put their hands to the plow, it is utterly insane for us to think that the good will of others (rather than our own genius) will create a proper future for our children. The age of good will for us is past; it’s time for us to get up off our knees, drop our buckets where we stand, and build, because mankind is building all around us as we beg for morsels.

2) Affirmative Action has been used as a means to deny black men opportunity

For Affirmative Actions’ success, there must first be a desire to repair the wrong; but in your arguments, you insist that white women have benefited most from affirmative action laws, while blacks are systematically excluded. If mostly white women have benefited from something designed for us, doesn’t that speak volumes to the intent of those who would fix the wrongs? “A mind changed against its’ Will is of the same mind still”. If a person does not what to do a thing, he will find ways to keep from doing it, hence white woman are double minorities. Why would you continue to appeal and beg from someone whom you clearly see does not what to repair the damage? And why would you even desire to associate with someone who does not want you around? It makes no sense! Wouldn’t it be wiser to seek justice from a higher authority?

3) Affirmative Action attempts to force others to affirm in us what we refuse to affirm in ourselves.

As you march, beg and protest for special treatment, there’s a 20-ton elephant sitting in the living room of black America. All across black America, people with little or no resources are building for themselves right in our mist. They feed us, clothe us and control the local economy of every black community in America. Although they are the minority among us, by self-reliance, innovation and determination, they silently wield an economic power that should have us marveling. They don’t need affirmative action programs to hire their youth in the summer. They create jobs and opportunities for their children by building for themselves. After they have employed their own, they then hire a few of us-Not because they like us, but because they have satisfied the basics of human nature-self sufficiency! Is it not wiser to study and imitate their success, rather than keep knocking on the same old tired door of inferiority? Blacks control school boards, yet cannot seem to develop education systems that build communities. We are city councils and mayors, yet in almost every case, the cities we control are bankrupt municipalities and ghettoes that even WE run from. So, to keep from facing our own failure and impotence, we appeal to the “great white man” to affirm our equality, in spite of our refusal or inability to conduct ourselves as true equals. And the evidence is all around us.

4) Affirmative Action is an admission of our inferiority

Don’t you feel even a little twinge of embarrassment as you shamelessly assert that without special treatment, we cannot build for ourselves? Are we that feeble-minded? Your very appeal is an admission of mental inferiority. We are asking one who is greater to cut a special door because of our mental handicap. Is that not true? Jesse Jackson proudly admitted we are inferior when he said: “We need affirmative action because while we are free, we are not equal”. That has to be the most insane statement I have ever heard! Carter G. Woodson spoke of Jesses fatal thinking when he said: “History shows that it does not matter who is in power; those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others, never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning”. Now I ask you, have 30 years of Affirmative action made us equal? Are we surging ahead economically as a result of affirmative action? If not, then what is your basis for wanting more of the same, yet expecting a different result? Isn’t that the very definition of insanity? Am I the only one in black America who sees the absurdity of this push for a special door? Am I to tell my son that he will forever be a victim?-A helpless leaf blowing in the wind of white supremacy; Forever subject to the whims of others unless a special door is cut for him?

5) Affirmative Action uncovers the hypocrisy of the democrats.

The Democratic Party is laughing at us behind closed doors. We literally worship that party, yet no affirmative action is given us when we put them in office. Look around you! Are we the leaders of the Democratic Party though we vote for them at the clip of ninety percent? Do we control the agenda of the party? It’s under the nose of a democratic governor that proposal 2 is on the ballot in Michigan; and all the polls show that it will pass. Doesn’t that tell you something about the unwillingness to give us special treatment? Why didn’t the democrats protect our interests before the fact? They always seem to get behind some useless cause to make us think they are on our team. Why are the democrats silent on reparations?-something that has more merit than affirmative action. And why are you black leaders silent on that fact? Instead, you raise millions of dollars and spend thousand of man-hours bankrupting our children’s future, for a morsel that has little, if any benefit. In the meantime the hypocritical democrats give us support, but only in our insane behavior.

6) Affirmative Action can never bring about equality

Black leaders don’t seem to know what everyone else on earth knows: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that ALL men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”--Declaration of Independence. You say that affirmative action will level the playing field, but observation suggests that the real playing field is in the mind, imagination and resilience of the human spirit. The playing field is already equal in that case. Maybe we just refuse to get on the playing field!

Since freedom and equality are unalienable, they can’t be granted nor taken by anyone. Since both come from the creator, and Jesse suggests that we are not equal; maybe it is God who deprived us of equality. The appeal for equality therefore should be made to God, rather than other men. And since most of you are preachers anyway, it is only fitting that you approach God with the question and get back to us with his answer.

A better way: I believe the only affirmative action should be FUBU (For Us By Us). Our thinking is the problem. In our minds are the psychoses that keep us poor in the mist of plenty. Poor thinking, poor health, poor behavior, short sighted goals and poor planning should be addressed first. Secondly, let’s study success and imitate it. Success is in the multitude of stores, shop and enterprises run by others in our communities. Suppose we demanded excellence from ourselves and our children in spite of our circumstances? Suppose we refused to use excuses (though we may have many)? Suppose we concentrated our energies within to pull on the resources that God has given to every man?

The entire world would then beat down our doors to shower us in recognition as equal partners with the peoples of this planet. But as it stands now, we are like infants having not the wherewithal to do anything for ourselves except beg to suck on the great white nipple.


Dr. Alonzo R. Fleming

Dr. Alonzo Fleming, Jr. can be contacted at Visit

Alonzo Fleming

Monday, November 20, 2006

To discuss this article further enter The Deeper Look Dialogue Room

The views and opinions expressed herein by the author do not necessarily represent the opinions or position of or Black Electorate Communications.

Copyright © 2000-2002 BEC