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March 4, 2010

An Opposing View…

Derek Shackelford

As a columnist it is an honor and a privilege to share my respective views. It can be rather difficult sometimes to articulate them, putting pen to paper. One could say it would be easier to express opinions via another medium.


While this may be so, it is definitely a challenge to contemplate, ponder and think about writing in a way that allows the reader insight into how a writer feels. This is certainly a daunting task, to say the least. As a writer attempting to express himself, I am certainly aware of the challenges that may be faced by the reader.


Criticism is fair game as it goes with the territory. I try to read all the respective columnists on this website and can appreciate the time and effort that each columnist puts into their commentaries. Not all views are similar and it is refreshing that we are not alike. Diversity of views can be enriching and enlightening. While we have the capacity to inform and influence readers on various subjects, we should expect some critical analysis of what we write depending on the subject.


In fellow columnist Nick Diaz’s commentary of February 16, 2010, entitled “A Tough Row to Hoe,” he expresses some views on why blacks, Jews, and non-Cuban Hispanics vote for members of the Democratic Party. I can appreciate his forthrightness of expression, but I strongly disagree with his premise.


Now I do not attempt to speak for all black people or any other ethnic group. Why? Because no race is monolithic; they have a diversity of viewpoints.


Mr. Diaz in his commentary appears to insinuate that all black people think alike and the reason Fox News Commentator Juan Williams shies from the criticism of President Barack Obama is because he would be labeled a sellout.


To believe that black people are under so much intense pressure to agree with each other that they are afraid to disagree is misguided and shortsighted. Black people disagree over politics just as readily as any other group. It was not just black people who voted for President Obama, but whites as well did so. He could not have gotten into the Oval Office just on black people’s votes alone.


Black people do not carry residual anger; they are generally skeptical because of past history and current experiences. Does racism occur at every turn; certainly not. Does it still exist; unfortunately yes.


It may be true that people have changed, but systems are still in place that allow certain segments of our nation to benefit greatly. If affirmative action is the litmus test for what is called reverse discrimination, then it is a bad experiment. Black people have not been the greatest beneficiary of affirmative action, women have benefitted the most. Blacks have previously voted staunch Republican and were faithful voters of the party. It switched when the agenda changed. There are no permanent friends, just permanent interests when it comes to politics.


Black people just do not vote Democratic because of the affirmative action stance, but vote just like everybody else based on the issues that matter most. Whether it is the economy, education, leadership, family values…etc.


I am not suggesting that the Democratic Party espouses all of these values. That would be naïve. But just because someone does not vote with the GOP does not mean they are less “intelligent.” Even when voting, it is not because of total support; sometimes it may be a case of the lesser of two evils. This goes in both directions whether it is Democrat or Republican.


If you would ask black people about the political system, there probably would be an overall feeling of distrust. If asked, black people probably would state that the answer to the social problems is not the government. The answer would be within the family, church, or grass roots community groups.


It is certainly within Mr. Diaz’s right to express his views, criticize President Obama’s policies, and state his approval for the Republican Party.


Mr. Diaz feels sorry for Juan Williams. I applaud his honesty. I just disagree with his analysis. So there is no need to feel sorry for me. This is just coming from a person who is able to think for himself and not because “those people” tell him how to think, but because he is intelligent enough to do so on his own.


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