Virginia Democratic Senator James Webb has been a long time defender of Scots Irish values, indeed, the most prominent advocate for their importance in American history.
His book "Born Fighting; How the Scot Irish has shaped America " was a cry from the heart to recognize what the mainly southern Americans of Irish heritage from Andrew Jackson and Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett on down have done to shape this great country.
I though Webb was on solid ground when discussing how the Scots Irish contribution had been effectively erased from most histories of the United States.
However, I find reason to strongly disagree with his latest tome, a lengthy op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal saying that those same Scots Irish, especially the poorer working class, were being discriminated against by affirmative action.
The piece was entitled, “Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege,” argued that affirmative action has resulted in favorable treatment for immigrants, Hispanic, Asians and Africans, who are not victims of discrimination.
The oppressed white male has become a clarion call for Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and other Fox News opinionators.
The story line is always to find some egregious violation of fair practice in the name of affirmative or gender action then blow it all incredibly out of proportion to make the entire concept seem like a terrible injustice.
I am surprised that Webb appears to be heading down the same route.
The New York Times added fuel to his argument when they showed recently that lower class students were far less likely to be admitted to Ivy League institutions than middle and upper classes.
The Times noted that an “upper-middle-class white applicant was three-times more likely to be admitted than a lower-class white with similar qualifications.”
That is a very valid rich white versus poor white issue, especially as the Times notes, many of the working class applicants were just as qualified.
But it is a long way from that assertion to saying that poor whites are discriminated against for the betterment of immigrants and others.
The facts don't lie.
As Charing Ball in the Atlanta Post newspaper noted, minority business owners in America represent less than eight per cent of the total businesses.
Whites represent 73 per cent of all college students far greater than their proportion of the population.
When it comes to poverty rolls 40 percent of American blacks, 31 percent of Hispanics and 13 percent of Asians, are living below the poverty line.
In hard times it is always a temptation to blame the other guy and believe he is getting a better deal.
The facts are different however. A leading senator like Jim Webb should know better than to throw fuel on the fire of the current hostility towards minorities and immigrants.
There is clearly a better way -- to work to raise all boats clear of this continuing economic storm.
Jim Webb is well capable of that better nature..
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