Friday, April 11, 2014

Today's whites will be tomorrow's minority - Why Civil Rights Matters

I was 14 and still living on a farm in Iowa when it happened 50 days ago this week.

In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson helped pass the Civil Rights bill, finishing what JFK started but only a Frank Underwood type southerner-like Johnson could pull off. Johnson knew it would cost the southern white vote for a generation, but he had the political courage to do the right thing anyway. That courage is no where to be seen today. America benefited from it - no longer could a person be barred from waking into a restaurant or bar or hotel because of their color. Or have to use a separate water fountain.

The Civil Rights law of 1964 (followed by the Voting Rights law of 1965) is what makes America SPECIAL. Why?

Because it started an era where we judge people by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin.  In 1965 my father moved us to Texas. I still remember being shocked by the negative racial attitude I found among whites.

I remember asking myself, even as a young teenage boy: "Why don't they like Hispanics when they don't even know them--they live in separate worlds!"

Have you seen the movie "The Tuskegee Airmen" - about the first black pilots trained for WWII (who never lost a bomber)?  I related to the pilot from Iowa who was stunned when  their train reached Alabama and the black pilot trainees met instant hostility and disrespect -- and were forced to move to another car while white German prisoners took their place. In Texas I was white, watching it happen to others and thought to myself, "It wasn't this way in Iowa."

It's part of my story in "Better Times Ahead April Fool"

I was lucky. I went from the farm to traveling the world mostly on my own negotiating multimillion dollar deals. Then I lost it all - so if you think you have had it bad, read my story. I didn't even have clothes left in the closet I shared with a girlfriend who was keeping me from sleeping in the street.

But if I had been black or Hispanic, or a woman at that time I got my first Fortune 500 job, I would never had been given the chance --certainly not at places like the old "Brown & Root" (now KBR).  It was an all male legal department of seven for a $4 billion/year company. That opened the door for me to see up close and in person the strange behavior of conservative white guys on a global scale at billion dollar companies (the company was indicted right after they hired me and the President shot himself--it's in the book).

 I went to another global company and saw similar white executives who paid for women in as many  countries as possible, put it on their expense account -- and treated others with the same dismissive attitude, referring to Arabs as "ragheads" etc. (That is also covered in "Better Times Ahead..")

That is why the Civil Right Law makes America special.  Every man and woman of every color deserves equal treatment and respect. Let's keep it that way.  Today's whites will be tomorrow's minority so the conservatives better figure it out that making equality a key part of America's justice system is in everyone's best interest.

Better Times Ahead April Fool ends with a roadmap for America to get back to No. 1 again. It's called "Agenda for American Greatness."

Check it out and "Follow" us on Facebook for updates.

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