African Americans and the New Policy Consensus: Retreat of the Liberal State?

By Marilyn E. Lashley; Melanie Njeri Jackson | Go to book overview

( Lijhart 1982, 153). A similar system is used in Belgium where its 24 members to the European Parliament are chosen on the basis of ethnicity and language.

Second, Congress and the president must establish a Cabinet-level Office of Minority Affairs to identify, formulate, implement, and evaluate affirmative policies in economic development, social welfare, and health aimed at mainstreaming all members of marginalized groups. We must shift our focus from civil rights compliance and litigation to proactive policy planning and implementation by and for minorities as other industrialized nations have done.

Third, African American voters must hold their legislators accountable by reestablishing the linkage between voters and representatives and by exercising greater advocacy. They must make their policy preferences known and scrutinize representatives' voting records. African American voters must remind their legislators that, first and foremost, they are obliged to represent the interests of voters in their demographic constituencies. When they fail to do so, voters are obligated to throw the rascals out. Finally, policymakers must end the retreat from protecting and insuring the rights and benefits of all minorities to full citizenship by guaranteeing and safeguarding their pursuit of free enterprise and property.


NOTES
1.
One recent grassroots battle over hazardous pollution and waste disposal pitted West Harlem community groups against the North River Sewage Treatment Plant. In a 1979 study of waste disposal in Houston, six of the city's eight garbage incinerators were placed in black neighborhoods when the city was overwhelmingly white. See "Pollution-Weary Minorities Try Civil Rights Tack," New York Times, January 11, 1993, A1 and B7; and Robert Bullard, Confronting Environmental Racism ( Boston: South End Press, 1993).
2.
See Ted Gurr and James Scarritt, "Minorities at Risk: A Global Survey," Human Rights Quarterly 11( 1989): 375-405.
3.
African Americans greatly increased their political participation as voters and elected officials since the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Voter registration rose slightly from 60 percent in 1966 to 64 percent in 1986. However, the actual numbers of African Americans elected to national, state, and local office showed dramatic increase. The total number of African American elected officials increased by 386 percent, from 1479 in 1970 to 7191 in 1990. In state and national legislative bodies, the increase was 146 percent, from 179 to 441. In 1992, 39 African Americans were elected to the House and one to the Senate. Currently, African Americans are mayors of several large and highly diverse cities, including Minneapolis, Denver, and Seattle.
4.
Although earlier treatises on utilitarian liberalism are provided by Priestley, Beccara, Hume, Burke, and Locke, for reasons of brevity Mill essay on "Representative Government" and Principles of Political Economy, Book V, and Smith ( 1976) essay on "The Duties of the Sovereign" are considered in this chapter.

-72-

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