Chicago – On Wednesday, Chicago mayoral candidate James Meeks said that only African-Americans should be able to participate in affirmative action programs– and that Hispanics, Asians, and women should be excluded. Later, he tried to clarify his remarks.
Speaking to a candidates’ forum Wednesday on black-oriented WVON radio, the South Side state senator said it’s unacceptable that the share of city contracts going to African-American-owned businesses has shrunk in recent years.
“I think that the word ‘minority,’ from our standpoint, should mean African-American,” Meeks said. “I don’t think women, Asians and Hispanics should be able to use that title. That’s why our numbers cannot improve, because we use women, Asians and Hispanics, who are not people of color, who are not people who have been discriminated against. We fought for these laws based on discrimination. Now, groups that have not been discriminated against are the chief beneficiaries.”
First of all, can we please stop using the word “clarify” when what we really mean is “attempt to put on a raincoat mid-shitstorm?”
Second, thanks to Meeks making shoe leather cassoulet, the conversation is now an elimination round in my most favorite thing, the Suffering Olympics:
State Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) said she agreed with Meeks, at least in part. Davis said white women should be excluded from affirmative action programs.
“I have friends, plenty of white gals, who are doing very well,” Davis said. “White women don’t need affirmative action.”
“Sen. Meeks is wrong. White women, like other women, do face discrimination: the same discrimination facing racial minorities,” said Hedy Ratner, co-president of the Women’s Business Development Center.
Ratner said any progress achieved in recent years was “a direct result of affirmative action programs by business and government.”
Later on Wednesday night, Meeks attempted to clarify his earlier statement, and said that he would remove from City Hall affirmative action set-aside only businesses owned by “white women.”
We’re now fighting about who has it the worst, as opposed to fighting about how everybody except old rich white men has it kind of shitty.
Well done, Meeks. Well played.