Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Affirmative Action and Ending Raced-Based College Admissions by R.L. Byrd

Title: Black Coffee
Author: R.L. Byrd
Publisher: R.L. Byrd Publishing
Pages: 304 

There are ALWAYS two sides to every story. In R.L. Byrd's debut novel, Looking for Sweet Love, the Love Forum Divas told their side. 

Now it's the Brothers' turn. . . .

 The Love Forum is back and the relationship dilemmas continue within the infamous Dallas, Texas, urban radio station, K103.5. DK "Love" Niles, the popular Disc Jockey from the DK and Melissa Morning Show, takes over the reins of hosting the new Love Forum called The Brothers Speak, and man, are the Brothas talking. DK, in his pursuit to finding good love himself, discusses relationships from a black man's point of view and enlist the help of the husbands, boyfriends and lovers of the Love Forum Divas. Known as the Brotherhood; DK, Quentin, Miguel, Michael, Donnell, Pastor Levine, Dr. Houston and Brass aim to set the record straight and talk about dating black women, marriage, infidelity, personal struggles, what distinguishes a throw-back from a keeper, and answers the question the radio listeners really want to know: What really went down in their relationships? 

Along the way, the Brothers break the silence on some of the most pressing social issues challenging today's black males: Disproportionate homicide rates, unintentional injuries, suicide, HIV/AIDS, and disparities in employment and graduation rates.If you thought the Love Forum Divas were dealing with issues, you may be surprised at what the brothers have to say about those relationship woes. In the end--when all is said and done--one Diva will be asking, "Am I drinking the right cup of Black Coffee?"

For More Information

Black Coffee  is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  

Affirmative Action and Ending Raced-Based College Admissions
Prompting leaders to accept the brutal facts about our environment.

What are the Conservative Principles that based the decision to end race-based college admissions in Florida’s colleges and universities? This is the question I had after reading Robert Samuels’, Washington Post article, “After Bush order, Florida universities cope with shrinking black enrollment.”

As the article states, the former Governor’s executive order (similar, in part, to California’s Proposition 209 and Washington’s Initiative 200) would 1) uphold conservative principles; 2) end race-based admissions; and 3)help minorities as a result. Let’s review these three:

1: The Conservative Principle Concerning Affirmative Action
It’s been noted that most Conservatives oppose Affirmative Action policies. They believe giving special treatment to members of a certain group (race, sex, ethnic, etc.) is not needed in regards to education, employment, contracting, and other areas.

2: Ending race-based college/university admissions; or a plethora of reasons not to
Race is, and has always been, an integral part of our being. “The fabric of our lives” as the saying goes. A fabric interwoven into the red, white and blue that majestically flies over the landscape of this land; from the Atlantic, to the Great Lakes, to the Gulf of Mexico, to the Pacific and beyond. To reject and deny its existence denies the suffering, struggles and battles that so many have endured (and continue to endure), like:

Dred Scott’s fight to become a free man in Scott v. Sandford; a case where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that because Scott was of African descent, people of African descent (whether free or slaves) could not be, nor were intended to be, citizens under the U.S. Constitution and held no legal rights—a ruling later discarded by the thirteenth amendment (abolition of slavery) and fourteenth amendment (birthright citizenship for all).

W.E.B Dubois (a founding member of the NAACP) and Booker T. Washington (founder of the Tuskegee Institute) championing for full civil rights when Southerners would only guarantee “basic” educational and economic opportunities (and protesting discrimination within the same “basic” educational and economic opportunities the Southerners guaranteed); as well as protesting, and championing the end to lynchings and the Jim Crow Laws of the South.

Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and  Carol Denise McNair of the Birmingham Church Bombing; Emmett Till and George Stinney, two of many children who died for senseless reasons; and the thousands of others who lost their lives simply based on the color of their skin.

The thousands of men, women and children (Virginia Durr, Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Hosea Williams, Fannie Lou Hamer, John Lewis, Malcolm X and a host of others too lengthy to name for this article) who contributed to the Civil Rights era of the 1950’s and 60’s to end discrimination and racial segregation; all of which lead to the Civil Rights act, Voting Rights Act, Fair Housing Bill and other cures to the disparities faced by blacks.

Understanding where African Americans have come from, the struggles and tumultuous journeys to get to where we are today, and how much further is needed to go is pivotal for any “true leader” involved in public policy making. Additionally, understanding the Conservative Principle, and its impact, is equally important. And, yes, I would concur with Conservative thinkers that everyone should stand on their own merits when it comes to education, employment, contracting and the like; but that’s only if the playing fields are level. But as a senior, business executive reminded me, “The playing fields are never level [especially for women and racial minorities].” Can one truly think that 50 years of progressive movement, since the 1960’s Civil Rights Act, can erase 200-plus years of denied freedoms and unfair treatment? Until one walks in another man’s (or woman’s) shoes, I can totally understand the Conservative’s basis of not being able to comprehend or understand the brevity of such an argument—if one chooses to try to understand it in the first place.

Conservative Leaders (well, all leaders for this matter) should embrace the Stockdale Paradox: Confronting the brutal facts about the current reality of one’s environment. Had Governor Bush confronted the brutal facts about the current reality of his environment—the existence of racism, sexism, bias-based injustices, and the disparities within the educational system —he may have had a different outlook (or vision) concerning his decision to end race-based college admissions by executive order; but I applaud his optimism.

3: The end of race-based admissions would help minorities

As with California’s Proposition 209 and Washington’s Initiative 200, both of which saw URM (underrepresented minorities) enrollment plummet at their flagship universities, Florida is now (as the article suggests) dealing with the same impact at its flagship universities—declining black enrollment. Now in a conundrum, the universities are trying to figure out how to increase URM enrollments; but how do you do this when you continue to guarantee spots to the top 20 percent of high school graduates from a warped and biased educational system? How does this “pool of graduates” help your cause, better yet, Florida minorities; especially when the state has such a poor minority graduation record? Mr. Samuel’s article (and data) appears to indicate that it has done exactly the opposite; negating and dismissing the state’s brutal fact about its current reality as noted in the Tampa Bay 2011 article, “Florida ranks at bottom for graduation rate of black men”.  
Perhaps the executive order would have been better served by not restricting opportunities for those where the playing fields are not level, but by establishing ways to improve and retain Florida’s graduation rates where the playing fields could be level.

The basis of the Conservative Principle and the relevancy of Affirmative Action today, have fueled many a great debates. However, one must be cognizant of the fact that Affirmative Action policies and practices were put in place for a reason; a reason accepted by individuals who understood the brutal facts about their environment.

Author, R.L. Byrd

 R.L. Byrd was born in the coastal town of Brunswick, Georgia, in a time where America and the South was growing and evolving. His early upbringing there, would shape his world not only as a person, but as a writer. His passion for writing was delayed by a similar passion for Architecture which he pursued by obtaining a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1992. After many years of carrying stories, characters and images in his mind, R. L. found them revisiting him on a more frequent basis as the years rolled by; and beginning in 2007, it wasn’t a day that went by that the pull to write didn’t lure him back to the pen and paper. Looking for Sweet Love (2010) was his debut novel, followed by the sequelBlack Coffee (2012, reissued in 2014).

He is currently working on his third novel, The Art of Scandal (a story inspired by true events), scheduled to be released soon.

  For More Information
  Connect with R.L. on Twitter and Facebook
  Find out more about R.L. at his website  

No comments:

Post a Comment