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Affirmative Action Levels Playing Field, Jackson Says

By Yvonne Samuel Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 24, 1995 | Go to article overview

Affirmative Action Levels Playing Field, Jackson Says


Yvonne Samuel Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Jesse Jackson said here Wednesday he plans to urge President Bill Clinton to hold a White House conference on equal employment opportunities for all.

"It is not in the best interest of America to oppose affirmative action," Jackson told a national meeting of Blacks In Government.

Jackson, president of the National Rainbow Coalition, addressed 3,500 delegates at the meeting at the Adam's Mark Hotel. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ronald H. Brown also spoke.

Jackson said it is a myth that affirmative action has hurt people of color, women or the nation.

"Affirmative action has benefited the whole nation," he said. "The first beneficiaries are U.S. corporations. We have the strongest most diversified work force in the world.

"Affirmative action is about opening up closed doors," Jackson said. "It's about being on a level playing field."

Another myth is that affirmative action hurts and discriminates against white males, Jackson said.

"Since the inception of the nation, white males were given preferential and differential treatment for the right to vote, the right to own land, to apply for loans, and (at) institutions of higher education," he said.

Jackson said white males are 33 percent of the American population, but 80 percent of the tenured professors, 80 percent of the U.S. House of Representatives, and 90 percent of the U.S. Senate, 92 percent of Forbes 400 richest people, 97 percent of school superintendents, 99.9 percent of professional athletic team owners and 100 percent of United States presidents.

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