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' VZMUSTFZEVEHT ,
BlaclcTBritain and Reagan's War On Civil Rights
Gerald C. Home, Esquire
We Must Pay As Well As
Pray For Civil Rights
"We must pay as well as pray
for civil rights progress."
Those are the words of a black
business man who exemplies
black philanthropy at , its best.
Don King, boxing promotor ex
traordinaire, is known as a self
educated and very glib speaker.
Put him behind a microphone or
in front of some listeners, and he
can entertain, charm, and over- .
whelm you with his .; eloquence.
But he also believes in putting his , '
Don ', King ' practices what he
preaches not forgetting from
whence you've come; returning f
something significant to the
community which helped make
you; sharing, caring, and giving
in support of your, own people;
doing all you can to' help support
the strength of the black conw
; munity , black family, and using .
power and money intelligently ,
and effectively to support our
cause. st '.',-', -Ji'.r,s
In February, King, during a ,
visit to Howard University to
sneak to students. ' handed out
checks totalling $130,000 to ten
NAACP, the National 1 Urban
League, United Negro College
runa, ana inc . national
Newspaper Publishers Associa
tion. - Significantly, King
presented a $10,000 check to Dr.
LaSalle Lcffall, a black physi
cian, then the president of the
American Cancer, Society, , for a
national campaign to reduce the
high incidence of cancer deaths
In the past several years, King
has contributed more than a half
million dollars to "black causes.
! At the PUSH convention in
'Chicago recently, King not only,
contributed another $10,000 in
support of , Project Excel arid
other - PUSH programs, , but
brought with him four of his box
ing champions, each inspired to
otys rung, ouuicj ui uui. suc
cessful blacks, who are products
.of the black community, the ,
black ghetto, like myself, are so
quick to forget who helped make
them, the origin of their black
roots. As soon as the wrinkles get
nut rtf thir hl1tc tliv nrnMaim ;
they have done it alone. . . .made
it to the top by themselves,?
Added King, "We must deal
' with the fact that we are our black
brother's keeper, whether we
want to be or not. And our plight,
as blacks struggling for parity in
the economic market place, will
not be -changed, until we help
As the flames of rebellion begin to flicker
in Great Britain, it is appropriate to examine
the reasons for this mass unrest For the past !
. weeks, the kind of urban rebellions that dot-;
ted the landscapes of Harlem, Watts and
other black communities hit Liverpool, y
Manchester and other, staid, terribly British
Those of the United States should be
especially quick to analyze recent events in
Eneland because Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher has been pursuing assiduously the
same kind of "monetarist" soak the
poorfeed the rich policies formulated by the r
right-wing economist Milton Friedman and
presently being executed by. her Atlantic
, counterpart, President Ronald Reagan. -i
The fact is as even New York's Gover-
. nor Hugh Carey has pointed out that con-
tinued pursuit, of Reagan's program Of
throwing money at the Pentagon while
bleeding dry all social programs (Medicare,
mass transit, daycare and the like) will cause
rebellions of a sort that would make
Britain's unrest seem tame by comparison. ;
Britain? prestigious Commission for 4
Racial Equality, which was established by
' the government to monitor progress in race
relations and . to investigate charges' of
discrimination;' declared in a recent report .
that as the economic recession worsened and
unemployment rose, blacks and other
peoples of color were disproportionately af
The report noted that discrimination in
employment, far from being eliminated, is.
increasing in some areas and that at the head
of the unemployment line are blacks. But
like the USA, whites are affected too by this f
unemployment; hence, it was not surprising
that black' and white youths were joined
together in fighting the police and attacking
symbols of corporate wealth.
. What, this report outlined about
unemployment and racism plaguing the
British isles could' just as easily have been
written about the U.S. Of course, this kind
. of urban outbreak as only a few commen
tators noted is nothing new for Britain. In
the 18th century, for example, "bread riots"
and other forms of opposition to price hikes
were as common as slums. Nevertheless, the
specter of black and white youth banding
together in the recent rebellions is certainly
worthy of note. ' -
Though he is not smart enough or suffi
ciently sensitive to do so, President Reagan
would do well to study carefully the report , -Of
the Commission for Racial Equality. For -it
is certain that his policies are inexorably'
. leading to a domestic apocalypse now.
; Nowhere is this more apparent than in his
current war on 'civil rights. Reviving Presi-
dent . Nixon's discredited . "Southern
p.. ...... ..... : : ; .-. -
TTT3T i.u :.f-:4 tv. strategy wun vengeance, uip imiuci -
same .FBI that investigated Dr. B m0vie'thesDian lias been working overtitne'-
A" 'A'AUAA'Aih'- ik A'n A htiltM lAMfAj k' ArtI 1A'
As a boxing promoter who
brought the "big purse" to the
fighters, King has had a
phenomenal "rags to riches"
saga from an ex-convict to the
"P.T. Barnum of Boxing." But
when you reach the mountaintop,
as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
discovered, there are many forces
out , to knock you down, to
discredit you, to put ''the nigger'?
back . in his place. ,,, ,". J ' ' ;
So it is true with King. ,The,
extended to cover all fifty states.; The Presi
dent knows that the Justice Department can
; barely fulfill its present responsibilities in en
forcing the Act. Extending jurisdiction tp all
fifty states would mean that states where the
most serious and egregious violations occur
: w - Mississippi, Virginia, Georgia, North
Carolina, Florida, etc. would be likely to
escape notice and get away clean. Some op
' ponents of affirmative action have tried a
similar trick by suggesting that everybody
should receive "preferential treatment." But,
if everybody receives affirmative action,
then moves to give blacks a boost are
negated and we're right back where we
' started. Reagan must know that his proposal
would be the kiss of death for' the Voting
Rights Act and he should be ascorded the
same lack of respect that he is displaying
toward us. tW--' "f'!r ;-;- " ,
7 If Reagan's position on the Voting Rights
Act is bad, then" his position on school
desegregation, civil rights litigation by the
-Justice - Department ?v and i employment
discrimination is incalculably worse. ,
In response to complaints from Big
Business, the Department of Labor has
delayed the date for publication of affir
mative action guidelines by the all-important
Office of Federal Contract Compliance Pro-
, But that's not all. Since Reagan has taken
office, the Justice Department's Civil Rights
Division has filed a meager five civil lawsuits
on discrimination issues, as against 17 such
suits in the first six months of the Carter" Ad
ministration. Before a call is issued for a
return to the White House by the peanut
farmer, please note that 24 such suits were
filed in the first six months of the Nixon Ad
ministration. These statistics dramatize a
fact some of us have known all along. What .
is important is not so much the President but
the political context in which he operates. In
1968 when Nixon came to power there were
frequent demonstrations, picketing and
mass pressure to which he had to bend.
Some of us thought that just because, black
votes elected Carter, we could sit on our
hands. But it should have been recognized
that freedom is a constant struggle and the
pressure should always be on the President
he should always hear our marching feet
even if our votes elected him.
In criminal actions, mainly against
policemen accused of civil rights violations,
the Reagan Justice Department has filed 21
suits, while during the same time frame the
Carter 1 Administration filed 28. During
Reagan's reign, eight objections have been
lodged pursuant to the Voting Rights Act;
under Carter during the same period, 23
In the area of school desegregation, e.g.,
t - Kins, anrf nassed 1 alonsr Vicious!
- and malicious rumors to discredit
, him; the same FBI that helped
.destroy the life of a white movie
star by deliberately planting news
items in Hollywood gossip col
umns about the woman being im-
. pregnated by, a member of the
Black Panthers, and this samel
FBI is now allegedly looking into '
criminal violations in boxing, but;
: up to now, the focus has been on
one person, Don King. ;
- - King's No. 1 competitor, Bob
; Arum, who is white, has not been
a subject of what the FBI agent in
New York, described as
, ''comprehensive investigations."
,-: Of course, we know that when a
black man moves near the top, 1
whether in politics or the private
,' sector, racism raises its ugly head
, in many sophisticated forms.1
' We remember very clearly how
: the Federal Trade Commission
" instituted an investigation against
Johnson Products regarding the
safety of one of its products and
refused to make similar checks on
Avon and the other major white
cosmetic firms. The FTC claim
and subsequent publicity critical
ly hurt George t Johnson, presi-
? dent of Johnson Products; in the
. marketplace. .
. So, black America, let us not
be so naive to believe that every
. investigation by federal,
authorities against blacks in
power in justified and the black is
not guilty until proven guilty. K :
: In the meantime, we should call
upon the Reagan Administration
and Attorney General William
Smith to explain why one person,'
Don King, is being penned
against the wall, and is the only
subject of a prolonged investiga
td appease those who long for the g6od old
days'! when blacks "knew their place."
High on their hit list is the Voting Rights
' Act of 1965, which has .helped to brihg so ,
much change and so many black elected of
ficials on the scene. Civil rights leaders want
to renew the act in its present form, covering
. nine southern states and portions of thirteen
other states in various parts of, the country,
including Manhattan, Brooklyn : and the
Bronx in New York City. ; i Hi s ? '
' With a slyness and sleight of hand that
would cause an amateur magician to blush,
Reagan has suggested that the Act should be
North Carolina's higher education stem,
Justice Department attorneys have asked the
. : ..Hi
Department attorneys 1
North Carolina court for a consent decree
, cancelling most of the desegregation
'demands the Government has made over the
past decade. : : -i
Attorney General William French Smith
has stated opposition to busing in school
desegregation cases and affirmative action in
employment cases. There seems to be no
hurry ta confirm Reagan's appointee for
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights,
William Bradford ; Reynolds; ; moreover,,
Reynolds is vastly in experienced in the field
and has not been known for a fervent com
mitment to civil rights. , , v
Most observers agree that there is a ' vir
tual paralysis . of activity" " at ' the crucial
Equal Employment Opportunity Commis
sion, as the New York Times put it. The civil
rights community has been taking it on the
chin from Reagan, as he has won round after
round. The New York Times captured the
perversity of the situation: IronicaHy, the
civil rights forces have been sustaining major
losses in this behind-the-scenes battle while
Mr. Reagan has been inviting black groups
to the White House to reassure them of his
(.stand on civil rights." This two-faced
' strategy is fooling fewer and fewer and many
civil rights forces are in the process of taking
off the gloves ' and doing frway with the
defensive "rope-a-dope" tactic, that has
allowed Reagan to pile up points.
Changing tactics is especially critical now
because Reagan has made no bones about
his desire to sustain withering blows on the
OFCCPv At the moment, companies with
fifty or more employees and at least $50,000
in government contracts must develop writ
ten affirmative action plans. Reagan wants
to change this to make jurisdiction reach on-
ly concerns of 250 or more employees with
contracts over $1 million a year. This would'
reduce the number of companies covered
from 17,000 to a paltry 4,200. Certain sec
tors of the business community are over
joyed at the prospect of this coup; They are
also ecstatic because of Reagan's appointee
; to head OFCCP is an inexperienced attorne
who has worked her way quickly up the cor
porate ladder by being a "yes-woman." Tht
appointee, Ellen Shong, has acknowledged
already that she has no plans to bar govern
ment contracts to violators of her agency's
Meanwhile, back in the black community,
Labor Department statistics reveal a high
unemployment rate that almost makes one
long nostalgically for the Great Depression
of the 1930's. In the schools, black children
use tattered books and note books while
across town white children are using com
puters, reading machines and other fruits of
the scientific and technological revolution.
Most of all, a growing resentment is building
that threatens to explode in an orgy of
violence unless corrective measures are
The NAACP has endorsed the call of thq
AFL-CIO and the labor movement for a
massive March on Washington September 19
to protest the awful insanity of
Reaganomics. Operation PUSH, the Coali-,
tion of Black Trade Unionists and the Na
tional , Conference of Black Lawyers are.
among the hundreds of other groups whq
have similarly endorsed this manifestation
that may surpass the 250,000 that marched ,
for jobs and equality in 1963 '
"Mobilteing for this march must be ac
IUJederBttJdkso Reagan will know just as we
let Nixon know , that his policies are totally
unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Fur
ther, few look forward to seejng blood flow-.
ing in the streets and fiery confrontations
between unemployed black youth and police
officers with pistols, rifles, hoses and tanks.
Black Britain has shown where
"monetarist' Thatcher-Reagan policies in
evitably lead. Their rebellion was a warning
shot over the bow that Reagan would be wise
to heed. But unfortunately, Reagan must be
. forced to sue for peace and call a ceasefire in
his ongoing war against civil rights.
To Be Equal;
By Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.
' The ' July rioting that .swept through
British cities provoked a lot ' of soul
searching, both here and abroad. In some
ways, the responses to the riots were more
interesting than the fact of the riots,
That is not to underestimate the impor
tance of the breakdown of social order in
what is generally regarded as the most order
ly of nations. Rather, it . is because the
responses to the riots tell so much about to
day's social climate. ; "r '.
. The initial response on the part of the
authorities was to give the police more
authority and weapons. Officials were more -concerned
with putting out the fire than with
seeking the cause of the blaze.
- One Cabinet minister, noting that the
rioters were unemployed young people of all
races, called for guaranteed jobs and train
ing positions for all young people.
' That proposal was quickly shot down by
Britain's conservative , government, which
stuck to the monetary and economic policies
that have "ted in the highest levels of
unemployment since the Depression.
Finally, the government managed to bend
its rigid principles just enough to announce a
modest plan to subsidize private employers
that hire young people at below market-level
wage rates. It plans other measures too, to
expand youth job and training programs..
Such steps amount, 10 fire prevention
doing just enough to keep some semblance
side of the ocean. American editorialists
warned against such compromises with the
' finn FJfhr miMu rharopc tViniiM !. . 5 .
. wwU. proDiems mat resuu in social explosions.
be filed against King, orwe all ' But even those limited steps make more
will beWevti its nart of a racial sense than some of the comments from this
v It's Don King this time. Who
will be next? : For this reason,
black America cannot sit idly
back and let our Administration
of Justice run a reckless course,
as it has often wantonly done in
the past., ,
rioters, Many suggested that a hard-line law
and order approach was the only one that
should be taken.
Almost all American commentators ap
peared sensitive to the similarities between
Britain's angry youth and the effects of the
Administration's economic program on out
The particular mix of ingredients that led
to Britain's explosions are peculiar to that
country, including race. The attacks of neo
. fascist white hoodlums on Asians and the
police harassment of British blacks are part
of a complex form of racism that has its
roots in Britain's history and social struc
ture. But the riots were not race riots; they;
brought white, black and Asian young peo
ple into the streets in an integrated display of
anger and alienation. '
. How bad do things have to get before
social controls break down). Britain's
unemployment rate is about eleven percent,
or about what America's was during the.
deep recession of the mid-seventies. . J
) , But youth-unemployment ranges around
the fifty per cent mark, similar to minority
youth jobless rates in our cities. And that
may be a more relevant factor, one that has
to make American" officials uneasy. ?
. But unemployment and other forms of
economic hardship rarely burst into riots
such as both America and Britain have ex
perienced if poor people still feel themselves
jart of the sqciety. So long as they feel they
are being dealt with fairly, that their hopes
and needs are taken into account, and their '
condition is temporary, they will not burst
the bonds of accepted social behavior.
But once they feel they are being treated
unfairly and denied even minimal access to
If there is no struggle, there b no progress. Jhose who propose
to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation are men who want
cri yithout plowing up the ground. They want rain without
thunder' and lightning.; They want the ocean's majestic waves :
without the awful roar of its waters. Frederick Douglass
the svstem. watch out. That's whv the issue
of police harassment was so important a fac tor
in the British riots - the white and black
poor could put up with the poverty in digni
ty, but the official harassment appears 10
' have been the spark of humiliation that ig
nited their outburst.
', When poor and alienated people of any
nation feel themselves pushed against the
wall their reactions are not going to strike
well-fed, comfortable people as rational.
' LE. AUSTIN .
Editor-Publisher 1927-1971 . .'.
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