Initiative Will Level Playing Field

Re Ana Maria Patino's Feb. 18 op-ed article, "Affirmative Action Serves Society Well by Encouraging Diversity":

I'm that unpopular other side--the white male businessman. An endangered species, I know. Nevertheless, I'm sick and tired of the bashing from all the groups who are still crying about lack of opportunities in education and business, and who characterize all white males as racist, sexist animals whose only job on Earth is to deny others their due.

Contrary to the stereotype, I was actually raised in a working-class home. My father, a construction worker, could not afford to pay for college, but nonetheless never let me think in terms of not getting an education. I worked my way through college, got married, and earned my graduate degree and teaching credential at night while raising children and starting a career. In 1976, I started my own business with nothing, and built it into something with no help from others, or from programs like affirmative action. Contrary to what Patino would believe, this did not happen because I am a white male; it happened because I worked hard.

Patino's statement on employment, ". . . believe me, I have never seen those who had power . . . voluntarily hire or admit a woman or a minority without the government looking over their shoulder," is the most ludicrous viewpoint I've yet heard on the white male-bashing trail. I deeply resent this unqualified categorization, and want to give Patino the opportunity to know of at least one white male employer in one industry who doesn't fit the bill. My company, which employs about 100 people, had never given any thought whatsoever to what racial or gender category they were until recently.

The California civil rights initiative is simply a method to level the playing field in education and business. It will allow small businesses, which are the backbone of this country, to compete fairly even if they may be owned by the dreaded white male. It will stop the flight of such companies to other states where this reverse discrimination is not so prevalent. It scares the nonwhite male segments because it would signal a time when everyone will be judged on their own merit, and not be given special treatment because of race or gender. But wait--isn't that called equality? Isn't that what we should hope for in America?



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