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Bennett Opposes Affirmative Action Goals

Bravo to The Times for its editorial (“Let’s Accentuate the Positive, Bill,” Nov. 21) which takes the Republican Party’s new chairman, William Bennett, to task for statements that both discriminate against African-Americans and at the same time ignore the benefits that affirmative action has afforded to women and other racial and minorities.

With jobs in short supply as a result of economic downturn, the temptations will increase to engage in employment discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities and women. This, then, is an appropriate moment to declare, loud and clear, for positive affirmative action, which is still very much needed to enable racial and ethnic minorities and women to enter and progress in the mainstream of American economic life.

The American Jewish Committee and other organizations are committed to helping make equal opportunity a reality for all Americans. While rejecting group quotas as inimical to individual rights, we strongly endorse other affirmative action efforts including, where appropriate, well-drafted, equitable goals and timetables, along with steps to recruit, train and upgrade those who have been historically disadvantaged or victims of discrimination.

The recently vetoed Civil Rights Act attempted to strengthen opportunities for women and minorities in the workplace. Let us ensure that the new Congress will make a strong statement on behalf of the rights of all Americans by again passing such an act in the coming year.

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JACK FINE, Chair

Legal Affairs Task Force

American Jewish Committee

Los Angeles

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