Letter: Bush’s empty cabinet

By Molly Recar

President Bush’s diverse Cabinet does not make up for his lack of respect for civil rights. According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, “He points to the presence of people of color in his Cabinet as a substitute for external collaboration and evidence of a civil rights agenda” (http://www.usccr.gov/). It is a good thing that Bush is not “seeking praise from civil-rights leaders” because it is highly unlikely that he would find any. Problems include:

n The Bush administration did not provide leadership to ensure timely passage and swift implementation of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. As a result, Congress did not appropriate funds for election reform until almost two years into the term.

n The No Child Left Behind Act does not sufficiently address unequal education, a major barrier to closing the achievement gap between minority and white students.

n Instead of promoting affirmative action in federal contracting and education, the administration promotes “race-neutral alternatives,” which are, in many instances, not overly effective at maintaining diversity.

n The Environmental Protection Agency has taken few actions to ensure minimal impact in minority communities with regard to environmental contamination.

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n The administration responded to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by instituting regulations that facilitate racial profiling rather than prevent it.

So while Chuck Prochaska would like us all to be grateful that Bush is willing to employ people of color in his Cabinet, others are not so easily fooled. His diverse Cabinet is just a ploy full of empty actions to hide his poor civil-rights record. Maybe people need to look beyond their white-male privilege before they go handing out diversity awards to Bush.