There are no black concerns or white concerns or Hispanic concerns in America. There are only human concerns.
Every time a politician uses the word "quota," it's because he'd rather not talk about the real reasons that we've lost almost 3 million jobs.
Every time a politician complains about affirmative action in our universities, it's because he'd rather not talk about the real problems with education in America – like the fact that here in South Carolina, only 15% of African Americans have a post-high school degree.
- Howard Dean, December 7, Columbia, SC
"Howard Dean’s December 7 speech is the most important statement on race in American politics by a mainstream white politician in nearly 40 years. Nothing remotely comparable has been said by anyone who might become or who has been President of the United States since Lyndon Johnson’s June 4, 1965 affirmative action address to the graduating class at Howard University."
So begins an article in today's edition of The Black Commentator. Why would this be of interest to residents of the overwhelmingly white Mountain West?
Since early this year, Gov. Dean has been making the case that poor and working-class people of all races and from all regions share a common interest in getting better jobs, education, and health care. Dean is the rare politician who dares to speak out about the way race is still used as a wedge in our country. He was wrong when he said he is the only white politician talking about race, but his may indeed be the strongest white voice calling for a serious conversation on these issues.
Skeptics may say that a five-term governor from nearly all-white Vermont lacks credibility talking about race. But the fact is, Dean's outreach to African Americans is nothing new. The New York City native requested black roommates at Yale, he worked as a student teacher and a doctor in NYC and New Haven, and he spent a summer laboring on a Florida cattle ranch where almost no one else spoke English. These experiences, which coincided with the 1960s fight for civil rights, help him speak from experience in a way that demonstrates real heart, soul, and guts on these issues.
"Not since Lyndon Johnson vowed to harness the power of the federal government to redress the historical grievances of Black America has a potential or sitting President made such a clear case against racism as a political and economic instrument – and even Johnson failed to indict corporate interests, or anyone in particular, for wielding race as a political weapon. Howard Dean points the finger straight at executive boardrooms, and directly implicates members of his own party in the coded conspiracy," The Commentator wrote.
Read the entire article, including a transcript of Dean's December 7 speech, here.)