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"I Cannot In Good Conscience
Oppose Affirmative Action"

Press Statement from
Angry White Guys for Affirmative Action

Angry White Guys for Affirmative Action. Photo by Bruce AkizukiThe following statement was delivered as part of the campaign against the anti-affirmative action "California Civil Rights Initiative" .

My name is Paul Rockwell. I'm a member of Angry White Guys for Affirmative Action, and I am here to raise some new questions for my white brothers in California.

First, are you a veteran? If so, you get a preference in contracting, hiring, school admissions. Lots of women who are more qualified on tests are often passed over by less qualified male veterans. Are you ready to give up your veteran preference?

Second, are you protected from layoffs by seniority? Wilson's anti-labor policies are causing layoffs throughout the state. And many older white males like myself are protected somewhat by seniority. But seniority is a preference. Last-hired-first fired is not a strict merit system. Do you want to give up your seniority? I don't.

Third, are you a homeowner? Then you get a preference that renters and tenants don't receive. Thousands of dollars-- the homeowner deduction. Women and minorities, even the poor are
helping to pay off your house note, my white brother. Are you ready to give up your homeowner preference? I'm not.

Affirmative action is not unique to women or people of color. Preference for those perceived to be in need is a basic concept in American society. We all benefit from affirmative action, and we're all bound together in a mutual support system we all take for granted.

I cannot-- in good conscience -- accept a veteran's preference, a homeowner preference, a seniority preference, only to turn against my sisters and compatriots of color.

Wilson's hypocrisy is divisive and unpatriotic. His Civil Wrongs Initiative not only threatens the Progress of women -- our wives, sisters and daughters -- it destroys the fabric of mutuality on which we all depend.

If Gingrich and Buchanan, Pete Wilson, David Duke, Jesse Helms, and the Aryan Nation come after our sisters tonight, these same haughty men will surely come after all of us in the morning.

White guys, like myself, have a duty to defeat CCRI because an injury to one is an injury to all.

Paul Rockwell, formerly an assistant professor of philosophy, is a librarian in the Bay Area.

Published in In Motion Magazine March 5, 1996.