Ready for change?

To the editor:

In a recent article entitled “Equity: Are We Ready for Change?” the Journal reported on an equity “training” sponsored by the New Ulm Human Rights Commission (HRC).

According to the article, the event highlighted two facts: 1) in coming years, the percentage of non-whites in our area is likely to increase, and 2) black Americans, taken as a group, have lower annual incomes than whites, as a group.

As far as the coming change in the racial and ethnic makeup of our city is concerned, there is nothing in that change that requires special preparation on our part. Such changes are common. Whenever a racial or ethnic group comes to a new area, they bring their own culture and customs, which are then slowly and naturally assimilated into the culture of that area. We are ready for that kind of change — if we are willing to exhibit an attitude of friendly helpfulness toward our new neighbors.

Second, the HRC presentation also promoted another kind of change — one that has to do with the income disparity between blacks and whites in America.

The HRC set forth the narrative that the primary cause of current-day economic disparity is racial discrimination that took place in the past. It suggested that all blacks in America are injured parties, to whom reparations are owed in order to make up for a wrong that has been done to them. According to the HRC’s narrative, such reparations are just, fair, and “equitable.”

The question is: Does the HRC’s narrative tell the full story, and are we willing to fundamentally change our country’s legal system to support that narrative?

The HRC’s narrative falls far short of telling the full story of economic disparity. It focuses solely on past racial discrimination, but ignores elements of present-day black culture and government social policy that play a significant role in determining where on the economic spectrum a black person ends up. It isn’t popular to say it, but much of the explanation can be found by turning the mirror back on American black culture itself.

And the “equitable” solution that the HRC suggests is anything but just and fair. It requires laws that hold the present generation responsible for wrongs committed by their ancestors. It requires the law to judge us not as individuals — each responsible for his own actions — but as groups to which we are assigned membership — with each one being responsible for the actions of his assigned group.

The “equity” that the HRC suggests is a radical departure from our American legal system. It is neither just nor fair. It is radical.

Are you ready for that kind of change? I’m not.

Michael Thom

New Ulm


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