In the late ’80s, I was a world-class sprinter. You may not remember me, but there are those who do. The 100-meter dash was my specialty. I ran like the wind. Few men could outrun me, and only a handful of animals had faster jaunts over land than I did. My speed and notoriety threatened Carl Lewis and he challenged me to a race in my specialty. With a smug grin, I accepted and pulled down my shiny Adidas tracksuit, laced up my sneakers and walked to the starting block. Carl, Mr. Lewis to you slow-folks, walked by me and to his starting block ten meters ahead of mine. Osama Bin Laden strode up and slid into position five meters ahead of me. He was in especially good shape with being trained by our military and all. His beard was well trimmed. Very well trimmed. I, a veteran of many races know that different distances are staggered, but the 100 meters – it was always a straight shot. Lewis kneeled into the track-starter-upper position (technical term) and I looked up and asked “Hey Carl, what gives? This is the 100, there are no stagger starts in the 100, why are you starting ahead of me?”
“Because,” Carl smiled, “I’m black.”
And with a bang, the gun fired.
The race is being run now, and people are losing, choking and gurgling on a system that wraps more than a spare tire around the waists of the majority. Everyone is losing in some way, shape or form. Whether or not people want to admit it, affirmative action is a sad attempt first at a constant apology to the minority community of the United States and second, an admittance on the part of those who utilize this flawed system that they are lesser people.
Carl Lewis certainly didn’t need a head-start on that windy August morning, but because he took his 10 meter bump to the front of the line, he did. Is this right? This essential handicapping of a race, a competition for the good of even-keel society? So why do minorities need affirmative action?
I can only defend affirmative action on the grounds that life isn’t fair. Some people are fat, some are bald, some are pretty, some are ugly, some are rich and some are poor. Life hasn’t ever been fair, and affirmative action serves as little more than a desperate reach to cultivate some level of ‘fairness’ in the United States. The absurdity of “everything being fair and equal” is a na