June 8, 2013.
Paul Cain asks (referring to a comment in my last post):
“This the first time I’ve heard anyone say they DON’T want ENDA. Can you clarify?”
Don Slater was doubtful of the very issues most movement people were working for: affirmative action, ENDA, etc. He said that in the end the results would do more harm than good. Just passing a law does not change minds. As we saw with Board of Education and Roe, in fact it might have delayed the results we wanted. Many black people said that due to affirmative action they were treated as if they didn’t really deserve the degree, or job, even though they could have been successful without affirmative action. I am not sure the negative (you didn’t deserve getting into this college, you just got here because of your skin color, etc.) out did the positive (truly bigoted college bureaucrats could not let their bigotry keep deserving minorities out).
As I was told, LSU had refused black students—partly because Southern people had feared it would destroy it (the oldest and largest state black college in America, I think) but mainly because of bigoted state legislators. Every white student graduate (I think) could go to LSU or a state university. No black student could, no matter how qualified. Didn’t some states actually pay for black students to go to colleges out-of-state?
Justice O’Conner said years ago that she voted to keep affirmative action, but it should not be needed 25 years after. Colorado had affirmative action for businesses, which the Supreme Court ended. (We were in Dolores at the time of the decision, and Don said it was right—I think the company was nearby.) In some cases, where female or minority businesses were to get a certain amount of jobs, the companies would make a woman president, etc. I think even in some cases companies that made a higher bid got the contract because they were able to do the job, and competitors were fake and could not.
As to ENDA, there is something to be said for making companies or any taxpayer-supported institution be truly equal. But, as the court said in the Boy Scout case, a private entity should be allowed to decide for itself what it wanted to do. As we know, that was wrong in the case since many government agencies were supporting the scouts. (What ever happened to the San Diego case where they had use of a building?)
But forcing a bigot to hire someone or not fire them would not work, as they would simply fake a reason, as they now do in the case of the law supposedly protecting older workers. Now they refuse to hire anyone who might get older on the job as they could not then fire them if they had a valid reason for fear of being falsely accused of discrimination. And insurance companies, which businesses need, refuse to cover older workers, or charge them higher premiums, so that companies can’t afford to have older workers.
How laws help women (or not) I am not sure about. And it has always been a part of the anti-marriage special rights argument about benefits that married people, especially those with children, get benefits single workers do not.
It seems to me that businesses have been glbt supporters without laws. And if we can expose and hold anti-gay businesses accountable for bigotry, that will make them change more than a law. We can’t seem to get to Exxon, but that is what we need to do.
It could be that today Don Slater would not have the same concerns. But I am not sure, and we certainly should have this discussion in the community.