The only certainty to come out of Tuesday's election was that blacks and Hispanics would vote in record numbers to protect affirmative action. Good job, Houstonians of color. You won't come out to vote for your congressperson, president, or governor, but as soon as someone threatens your handouts, you get angry enough to vote. That's something to be proud of.
That's what affirmative action is, after all - a handout. There's no way you could get a government contract if you had to play by the same rules every Anglo or Asian male struggling to run a small business has to play by. So the government gives it to you, and you take it. You want it. You need it, because like any true junkie, you just can't get by without it. That's what affirmative action says to the world, "Give us another fix."
So here's Houston, the functional equivalent of a methadone clinic in city contracting. Is this what we want the world to see? A city that judges those it does business with not by their bids, but the color of their skin? Where do we go from here? Studies have shown that thin and attractive people are more successful. Should we pay for plastic surgery and liposuction for the fat and ugly? Maybe we shouldn't let good-looking applicants into law school. Where does it end?
Why do blacks and Hispanics get preferential treatment and not Asians or Jews? Certainly both of these groups have been subject to discrimination throughout history, yet they get no relief, nor do they ask for it.
What are the criteria for aid? It certainly isn't given to all minorities, just a select few. Why? We can't ask the difficult questions, no one wants to answer them and they force generalizations about cultural and ethnic groups. This is ironic, as people feel free to make generalizations and damning accusations about Western European and Anglo-American cultures, but won't submit themselves to the same scrutiny and call those who try to do so racists.
The most disturbing twist of fate is that the Civil Rights movement, a movement begun by Lincoln and carried on by Martin Luther King, Jr., has turned from a struggle for freedom and equality to a race for entitlements, from a four-year war that took 600,000 lives to a melee in which factions fight over spots in line at a soup kitchen.
Good night, Dr. King. May God rest your soul, because the dream is over, and Freddie Krueger is having a field day.
Williams is a second-year