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If you are white, ask yourself the following questions and reflect on your answers:

Am I against affirmative action that focuses on correcting racial disparity? [If no, you needn't read any further; if yes,] Did I ever protest or do anything to correct the overrepresentation of whites in jobs, schools etc., even though I was aware of deliberate or unconscious exclusions of non-whites on the basis of race? Why am I all of a sudden against racial inclusion when I wasn't before as a beneficiary?

Why am I arguing for equality now if I didn't before when non-whites were excluded on the basis of race? Or rather, am I really for racial equity? Why is affirmative action based on race unfair now? Why wasn't it unfair when I benefited and others didn't? Am I still a beneficiary of white-race affirmative action? Would I rather live at a time when the work place and school place were bastions of white male chauvinism? If these are not your questions/issues, then I can understand and appreciate your opposition to affirmative action based on race. However, can you understand those who support affirmative action?

We holler qualifications, but let’s look at the facts: If you are not white, that is, if you are non-white, it’s a quadrangulated situation. You don’t get the position because you are black or you get the position because you are black. In either case, whites, by and large, control your fate.

I search for an America that seeks fairness for all its citizens, regardless of race; an America that prizes ability and character over race. An America which understands, values and promotes diversity. This is my wish, this is my quest. Until then, I support some sort of equity process which is inclusive of all our citizens.

The recent United States Supreme Court decision regarding the University of Michigan Law School admissions policy (Grutter v. Bollinger) is on the right track. Diversity should, indeed, be a factor ["factor" must be distinguishable from "quota"] in the admissions process. This would also apply to employment and related selection criteria.

As for the Delaware State Testing Program (DSTP--see more below), I am convinced it is a Delaware News Journal Papers political campaign and a Delaware Department of Education "jobs" project. Just how student-learning fits into this quagmire is anybody's guess. Clearly, if we spent more time talking about student behavior, or rather, misbehavior in class, and its effect on teaching and learning, this entire DSTP charade would be null and void.

On the upcoming presidential election, only a candidate Hillary Clinton may add excitement to the event. As for me, I usually vote for my write-in candidates. In the past I have voted for my children, friends, people I admire and family members for positions as diverse as County Executive, Sheriff, Governor and President. I am rarely impressed by our candidates and political system. Yet, I exercise my unique opportunity to vote every year.

Now that Latinos are the largest "minority" group in the country, everyone wants a piece of the action. Latinos, the ones who have done everything under the sun, the work many other Americans have rejected (e.g. stoop labor), to make life better for the "haves," have been treated like shit and still are. Though here, along with other natives, before the Mayflower arrived, they continue to be the modern day slaves of this country. Will their new status improve their plight? This remains to be seen.

Just the other day, I was invited by the Delaware News Journal to meet with them to discuss Latino issues in our State of Delaware. I flatly refused. I am tired of doing other people's work. Indeed, if they had enough Latinos in their employ, they would not need a token meeting. Are they just realizing that their coverage/reporting has been biased against Latinos?

Are they now realizing that they have excluded Latinos in many articles? Are they just now realizing that they have no clue regarding Latino culture and language--will they finally begin a crash course in Spanish in order to attempt to communicate with a long neglected disenfranchised community? What's the deal? What's in it for Latinos? I did ask the caller how many Latinos worked for the Journal. More than five?, I asked; she didn't know. Maybe that's the place to start. Hire enough Latinos, then conduct meetings with them on coverage needs...

Speaking of coverage, when will the Journal report on our State budget vis a vis our casino revenues and "rainy day" funds in light of our financial drought?

Sometime ago I rushed back from a commitment I had in Maryland to speak at a minority issues conference in Delaware. I was asked to address conditions of Latinos. Well, as it turned out, I never got to speak. Conference organizers forgot that I was on the program (or maybe they just ran out of time). I viewed this as a personal insult and an insult to the Latino community. Will this type of treatment recur now that Latinos are the largest minority? Does it really matter?

The fact that the U.S. has been the 4th largest Spanish speaking country in the world has only resulted in the alienation of the Spanish language and its 40+ million Latinoestadounidenses. [I coined this word along with Unitedstatesians, in 1973 when I was developing academic programs for Indiana University in Bloomingon, Indiana. If Webster can do it, so can I.]

When you get down to it, what you see is a country which is language phobic. Most of the world speaks more than one language except the "great" United States of America which prefers to start language study at the secondary school level instead of in elementary schools where language would be best learned. Language study is not even a requirement in high school unless you are interested in getting into a good college. Then only two years are mandatory--hardly enough for fluency.

On the contrary, when I was a youngster growing up in La República de Panamá, English was required from Kindergarten through university levels. Indeed there is more linguistic illiteracy in the U.S. than in most developing countries. There is even a joke which has been in existence for some time across the world.

What do you call a person who speaks more than one language?: "multilingual" or "bilingual" or "polyglot."

What do you call a person who speaks one language?: "an American."

We have lost wars because of language incompetence. When will we get serious about other languages?

When will we realize that Latinos may be an answer to our racial paranoia, a bridge to ethnic harmony? They are mixed with everything under the sun ("grifos," "trigueños...") even if some Latinos themselves don't admit it--¿Y dónde está tu abuela? El que no tiene de Ingo tiene de Mandingo.

The Columbia Shuttle astronauts went into space looking for a road to heaven for humankind. They found it, and were invited back; this time to stay.

What's up with some athletic coaches? Many use intimidation and personal attacks/abusive methods. Kids stay because of the love of the game (when allowed to play) and camaraderie. But they pay a deep price in their hearts and souls. Those who quit to end the abuse, seldom regain their self confidence, and lose much of their game skills. Many abandon their sport. What a shame, what a waste.

Who is looking after these kids? Why do sport/school administrators allow this to happen? I have complained, to no avail. I have encountered at least two such coaches in our public schools. I am sure there are many others. My children have been victimized by such coaches. Who do they think they are anyway?, to take such liberty with other people's children. If I were not a man of peace, I would have committed battery long ago. Athletic coaches working with youngsters should be better screened and trained. When found wanting, they should be dismissed and barred from working with school children. Don't get me wrong. I have also had the privilege to meet and work with wonderful coaches who serve as true role models for our youngsters.

And what about teachers and other instructors who do not recuse themselves when judging contests/auditions or making awards to groups of students that include members of their family? This is also an issue of some importance in our schools and elsewhere. I have also seen the pain associated with said outcomes. Nepotism?

Francis Crick and James Watson earned the Nobel Prize (1962) for their ground breaking and life changing research on DNA (1953). They could not have accomplished this feat without the crystallography data developed by the brilliant Rosalind Franklin. I say she should be awarded a Nobel Prize posthumously for her contributions to this effort.

Beware of using your credit card over the Internet for purchases. Companies obtaining your number often believe the card is theirs. They begin to charge your account and send you things you never ordered. Then you are encumbered with the ordeal of correcting the "mistake."

Be even more careful when purchasing domain names and websites from Internet hosting companies such as Verisign. They treat you like crap, and when you've had enough and decide to move on to another company, they hold your domain name hostage.

This happened to my earlier domain name (visionscreativeconsulting.com). After fighting with Verisign for several months to release my domain name, to no avail, I decided to move on anyway with a new domain name (horaciolewis.com). This was a painful, yet, less stressful decision; though I miss Visions Creative Consulting, a name which I have used for several years.

Reflecting on California's recall vote, I ask: Is movie acting a prerequisite for politics or vice versa?

In Delaware and the rest of the country, we continue to whine about the application of the "No Child Left Behind" Presidential education initiative and related local buffoonery. Let's instead go back to basics relying on teacher evaluation of students, school accreditation reports and PSAT/SAT data (See discussion below on Delaware's testing program).

I talk to myself because I am the best listener I know.

More comments later.


DISCUSSION #1

Delaware State Representative Wayne Smith, a principal sponsor of the neighborhood school law, was recently quoted as saying, "the law does not intentionally discriminate." The last time I saw Rep. Smith, we were on WILM Radio debating a proposed "English Only" law for the State of Delaware. Such a law, enacted in other parts of the country, in essence makes it illegal or objectionable to speak or conduct business in a language other than English. I was against the proposed law; he was one of its sponsors. This law is recognized as punitive to Latino citizens in particular.

Hence, I am not surprised that Mr. Smith would view his current legislative foray as not "intentionally" discriminatory. His law may not contain the words "intended to segregate" in it, but pleading ignorance to its impact or effect is no excuse to develop legislation that clearly ignores demographic data on Delaware neighborhoods. The law, plain and simple, was designed to discriminate when it was proposed, enacted, and now defended. I say kudos to school districts that understand this reality and seek to reverse it.

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COMMENT: The neighborhood school law is suspect at best. The implementation of this law may promote yet another round of unneeded desegregation litigation.

QUESTION: Do you support diversity in our schools and State? If so, do you think this law will facilitate or hinder progress in this direction?
Do contact us with your reactions, comments and suggestions. Mil gracias.
Refer to publications page for sources.

DISCUSSION #2

If teachers and students are to be held accountable to Delaware Education State Standards, it is important to understand that students and teachers are engaged in a full scope of academic work beyond the reach of a mere State test which purports to evaluate an entire year's progress.

A preemptive State test is an insult to professional educators who work long hours with large classes at insulting wages. It is also punitive to students who come from different backgrounds and learn at their own pace and style. Clearly, our current State unreliable assessment measures which penalize fine schools and students are driven by gubernatorial politics and Department of Education inability to find productive use of its time. Indeed, the current DOE school ranking is meaningless since a fair amount of students did not take the State test seriously as it had no impact on their high school or college placement, graduation, promotion or grades. One student, for example, wrote the entire test in Spanish last year!

During the 2001-2002 school year, the test (DSTP--Delaware Testing Program) is expected to affect students in various ways. An "A" student, for example, with high SAT scores, may be held back or subjected to an "individual instruction plan (IIP)," extended day school, summer school or an inferior graduation diploma, if DSTP test scores are not pleasing to the DOE, regardless of how outstanding the student may otherwise be.

This travesty borders on the insane. Furthermore, superior schools, from which students are admitted to Brown and other top universities, are being labeled by the DOE as not meeting the grade or in "need of improvement." I say, let us get on with teaching and learning and stop playing the "DOE test game" which disrupts the educational process. Our only hope is that this too, like Madeline Hunter, et al., will pass.

If as many students are held back, for summer school, as is predicted, where will DOE find the teachers required to do their dirty work? Let us stop the charade and conduct summer school for those who truly need it. Teachers should only enlist for legitimate summer teaching and not for "making up" a test.

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COMMENT: State tests are developed by bureaucrats at a desk top far removed from the reality of the day to day operations of the classroom.

QUESTION: Should not those who are closest to the teaching, learning and parenting process--in the local trenches--evaluate school and student achievement? And what ever happened to the notion of local control and site council management?
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Taken from "Quadrangulated Inequality."

Many of the concerns inspired by our inability to cope with differences in the workplace are repairable if there is a sense that management is committed to fairness and equity, and demonstrates this resolve by its very (modeled) behavior. My own experience with inequity in employment is a prime illustration of management's failure to comprehend how the most difficult of problems in the workplace can be easily resolved by active engaged listening and immediate pursuit of what's right, and to then make things right for those aggrieved.

Below is a model for reducing legal activity as well as unnecessary pain/suffering and taxpayer/personal financing in addressing the perpetration of unfair behaviors in the workplace. This model will help to create goodwill and tolerance/appreciation for similarities and differences.

1. Establish an External Redress Group (ERG) and, with said group (not affiliated with the agency), develop a non-discrimination/pro-equity policy and provide appropriate training to implement it.

2. With ERG, periodically (quarterly) visit agency heads and random employees (separately) to inspect, review and discuss agency practices/behaviors and make appropriate recommendations to management and policy makers for action. All visits should be unannounced.

3. Complaints/concerns must be addressed immediately by calling ERG for action.

4. ERG must convene all parties involved and hold them accountable for their actions via refereed discussions.

5. Issues must be openly discussed during normal workdays until they are resolved in a fair and equitable manner. Issues must be resolved within 24 hours. Strict confidentiality must be maintained at all times.

6. ERG may be appointed (with input from random & diverse employees) by an unbiased entity not involved with the targeted agency and issues acted upon.

7. ERG must be properly trained (e.g. skills development in cultural diversity, interpersonal relations, arbitration, race relations, gender equity, civil rights laws...) to do its job effectively.

8. Decisions reached by ERG (which must take no longer than 30 workdays of a registered complaint) are binding. Decisions may include the payment of funds up to $10,000 or any employment action (e.g. suspension, firing, promotion, demotion, and salary changes). All meetings with ERG are strictly confidential and complainants will be guaranteed protection against employer retaliation or harassment of any kind.
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"There is no such thing as a white person, they are beige." my son at age six
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