Apartheid, segregation, racism, affirmative action, civil rights movement, "sans-papiers" in France, etc... Strong phrases and expressions linked in a way or another to the (just or unjust ??) treatment some people receive because of certain physical traits. What course of action to take to eradicate these? Why can't we all just get along?
After following the long and tiring Health Care a.k.a. Obamacare feud over the past year or so and following the recent US supreme court decision to uphold the controversial law, I have been looking a little bit into this not so public branch of the US government: The Judiciary.
My investigation led me straight to one of the 9 most powerful people of that branch: Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the USA. He is the second black man in that position after the beloved Thurgood Marshall, and because of his very strong conservative beliefs and rulings, he is portrayed by many in the African-American community as a traitor or at least a hypocrite because he is in favor of striking down many of the laws that create governmental programs to help minorities, some of which he might have profited himself to get to the top of the chain.
Personally, I disagree with him on many issues, but I can't help acquiescing to his idea that minorities (Black, Hispanic, Women, etc...) cannot possibly keep fighting for their God-given right to be considered at the exact same level as the corresponding majority and then insist on having special treatment policies based on the fact that they are different.
For example, Justice Thomas argues that preferential treatment under the pretense of affirmative action or equal opportunity employment/admission will build "a cult of victimization", i.e. it implies that minorities REQUIRE special treatment to succeed. I feel uneasy every time I hear the argument that affirmative action should be in place to repay for the historical discrimination. Do not get me wrong, I am not against it, I just believe a better argument could be presented, such as the fact that statistics have demonstrated that individuals from minority groups tend to excel when given the opportunity, especially those from a more or less poor background, it's a fact.
We could probably debate some of these ideas, but it doesn't underplay the fact that Justice Thomas is one of the most important figures of contemporary history and definitely a man worth knowing. Check out his interview on 60 minutes.