Former CNN anchor TJ Holmes has a new show on BET called “Don’t Sleep.” I’ve been meaning to check it out because the ads are everywhere, on blogs, online magazines, on buses and the trains. It is a show that talks about issues relevant to the Black community by using informative stats followed by a discussion between panelists. Sounds good right? And it is on BET, I’d say that this is an improvement considering BET’s history of creating shows like “Frankie and Neffe,” and “Tiny and Toya.” Despite my own personal feelings about BET, I decided to watch the show and see what it was all about.
Last night’s topic was centered on affirmative action and whether or not we still need it in 2012. Though this is not an old question, it has recently resurfaced due to a young woman named Abigail Fisher. If you haven’t heard, Abigail Fisher is a white woman who is suing the University of Texas on the grounds that she was denied admissions because of affirmative action policies that favor minority students. And as of yesterday, it falls in the hands of the Supreme Court to determine whether or not affirmative action is or is not constitutional.
With that being said, I eagerly sat down to watched TJ Holmes, along with guest panelists Marc Lamont Hill, Alfonso Rachel, and Tony Rock, as they began to talk about the relevance of affirmative action in 2012. Now, I know that not everyone is going to have the same thoughts or opinions. We are all people and we are all different. I also know that not every Black person is the same. We have the right to hold our own unique opinions (ie: Stacey Dash and her support for Romney) and express them however we choose. But with all that being said, it is still a little strange to hear a Black man in spite of institutional barriers (mass incarceration, police brutality, employment discrimination) say that there is no need for affirmative action in 2012.
According to Alfonso Rachel, a conservative social commentator, his skin color has never been a hindrance to him. This is a little strange and I am not sure it is factually correct. Especially if he was raised in the United States or any European country. Perhaps it is a little bit of denial or the need to deny racism’s existence in order to make it through the day. I can’t lie, there are times where I have to turn a blind eye in order to make it through my 9-5. That is called coping. This coping only last for like a day or two, until I am brutally forced to acknowledge my Blackness and the tension between the races in this country.
He also says Black people would get more respect if there was no affirmative action because then the world would be able to recognize us for our talent, merit, and skill. Our talent alone will allow us access to good jobs and a good education.
If this is true, then does that mean that we, the citizens of America, have come to point were race does not matter? Have we moved beyond, academic, job, medical, and housing discrimination? That would truly be the sign of a changing world and way of thinking. I think it is fair to say that every person wants to be viewed according to his/her character, talents, and skills. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Skin seems to dictate what you are and who you will become instead of merit and talent.
What are your thoughts about affirmative action? Is there still a need for it in 2012?
Click here to hear the rest of Alfonso Rachel’s comments at TJ Holmes show “Don’t Sleep”