Gov. Pete Wilson, commemorating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., on Monday condemned the “sick and insecure” skinheads and Klansmen who continue to espouse racism, and he promised to stand with black leaders to oppose such hatred.
Wilson also urged his audience to help him persuade more young blacks to forgo the professions and start their own businesses so that they can provide profit, jobs and opportunity for those who follow them.
“We will stand together in solidarity in a spirit Dr. King called the solid rock of brotherhood,” Wilson said at a breakfast honoring the slain civil rights activist. “No skinhead, no Klansman, no sick and insecure peddlers of hate and prejudice can prevail against that rock of brotherhood.”
The Republican chief executive’s address to about 300 members and guests of the Business, Professional and Career Women of the Northern District Baptist Assn. was interrupted several times by applause.
Wilson praised such prominent blacks as Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. But he said a shortage of black entrepreneurs represents a threat to the nation’s capitalistic system, which he said “cannot survive” unless it is accessible to all.
“We must see to it that there is full participation in the free enterprise system for it to be worthy of its name,” Wilson said. “We must have, in addition to the doctors, the lawyers and the teachers, business leaders who can bring into their communities real economic opportunity.”
As he has at almost every opportunity since he took office Jan. 7, Wilson also gave a pitch for his idea of “preventive government,” under which he would cut existing social programs he considers “remedial” in order to expand or create programs to head off expensive problems.
The governor mentioned his proposed expansion of prenatal care and drug rehabilitation for pregnant women and the Head Start preschool program for 4-year-olds. He did not call attention to his plan to pay for these proposals by cutting grants to welfare mothers and their children by 9%, or $61 a month for a family of three.
Wilson also plugged his proposal to create a statewide “mentor” program to recruit volunteers from the business community to work with poor youths and motivate them to stay in school.
He said many minority children who do well in junior high school then mysteriously drop out of high school presumably lack the self-esteem needed to carry on.
“I’m talking about kids who think they’re tough,” he said. “Inwardly, they’re insecure. They have not been taught to value themselves because no one has ever indicated to them that someone cares about what happens to them.”