Naturally, Starnes cites Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to suggest that the late civil rights leader would criticize the program as racist against white people.
I applaud the president’s initiative – but what about the young, white man looking for a job?
Where are the special programs designed to help him get a leg up in the world? Where are the mentoring and interning opportunities for white kids from impoverished neighborhoods?
The Rev. Martin Luther King Junior once had a dream that his children would one day live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
Let’s hope in the future that President Obama applies that same standard when it comes time to helping all young men find jobs.
Or better yet – why not just hire the best person for the job – regardless of their skin color?
Perhaps Starnes should actually read some of Dr. King’s work, as he will find out that King supported a full employment economy and backed policies specifically addressing the black community:
We call our demonstration a campaign for jobs and income because we feel that the economic question is the most crucial that black people and poor people generally are confronting. There is a literal depression in the Negro community. When you have mass unemployment in the Negro community, it’s called a social problem; when you have mass unemployment in the white community, it’s called a depression. The fact is, there is a major depression in the Negro community. The unemployment rate is extremely high, and among Negro youth, it goes up as high as forty percent in some cities.
We need an economic bill of rights. This would guarantee a job to all people who want to work and are able to work. It would also guarantee an income for all who are not able to work. Some people are too young, some are too old, some are physically disabled, and yet in order to live, they need income . . . It would mean creating public-service jobs, and that could be done in a few weeks. A program that would really deal with jobs could minimize —I don’t say stop—the number of riots that could take place this summer. Our whole campaign, therefore, will center on the job question, with other demands, like housing, that are closely tied to it. Much more building of housing for low-income people should be done. . .
King also claimed that the anti-black racism is heavily ingrained in the US economy:
Depressed living standards for Negroes are not simply the consequence of neglect. Nor can they be explained by the myth of the Negro’s innate incapacities, or by more sophisticated rationalization of his acquired infirmities (family disorganization, poor education, etc.). They are a structural part of the economic system in the United States. Certain industries are based on a supply of low-paid, under-skilled and immobile nonwhite labor.
Starnes might also want to know that King advocated black solidarity in pursuing social and economic change.
The economic highway to power has few entry lanes for Negroes. Nothing so vividly reveals the crushing impact of discrimination and the heritage of exclusion as the limited dimensions of Negro business in the most powerful economy in the world.
We have many assets to facilitate organization. Negroes are almost instinctively cohesive. We band together readily, and against white hostility we have an intense and wholesome loyalty to each other. We are acutely conscious of the need, and sharply sensitive to the importance, of defending our own. Solidarity is a reality in Negro life, as it always has been among the oppressed.
But all of this will probably fall on deaf ears since it might get in the way of Starnes’ efforts to level attacks on Obama and distort King’s actual beliefs.