RUSH: This is an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. This is not gonna go down well with the Reverend Jackson. “As the Supreme Court prepares to once again weigh in on the issue of affirmative action, a record-low number of Americans support such programs, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Just 45 percent of respondents said they believe affirmative action programs are still needed to counteract the effects of discrimination against minorities, while an equal 45 percent feel the programs have gone too far and should be ended because they unfairly discriminate against whites. The number of Americans supporting affirmative action has been in decline over the past two decades, down from a high of 61 percent in its favor in 1991.”
I remember when affirmative action first came up, I was in Kansas City. So that would have been before 1979, because I was still doing radio shows then. I left to go work for the Royals in 1979. And you know what they made me do at this station? The station was short on its community service commitment when it came to license renewal. You have to, I think still, but back then it was really a focus. You had to prove to the FCC every three years for license renewal for the radio station that you were devoting a certain percentage of your programming to the community.
And like most radio stations that played top 40 music, we did all that from like three a.m. to nine a.m. on Sunday morning. You know, get the local sewage guy, bring him in for an interview. Then the local welcome wagon lady, bring her in at four a.m. You pre-tape all this and you air it when nobody’s listening and it won’t take away from your audience levels, but you can say that you aired it. You can say that you fulfilled the requirement. Well, somehow the radio station where I worked at, even doing that, was low.
So they came to of me, I was a deejay. They said, “We want you to start taking phone calls between records about community issues. Take a phone call here and there between records and do it two or three times an hour,” and I ate that up. I mean, “Oh, wow, this is cool.” I did such topics, “When you die, how do you want to go?” That kind of thing. Just silly little stuff and I was quite the novice at it. Well, affirmative action somehow ended up being one of the things that was being discussed. And I ended up with a radical community leader from Kansas City who called and got through. I had to screen my own calls. While the record was playing, I had to screen the calls. I screened my own calls. It was fun.
Anyway, I had this guy on, and I asked him, “Okay, affirmative action –” it was okay to call it quotas back then, in fact. In the early days, they didn’t care. And I said, “Well, when is this gonna end? The thing that bothers me about this is, okay, you’re doing this to make amends for past transgressions, right?” He said, “That’s exactly right, you got it. We have been mistreated. We’ve been ‘disciminated’ –” he said “disciminated.” “We’ve been ‘disciminated’ against ever since slavery, ever since this country was founded; we need some reverse discrimination here to make it even.”
So I had this community leader actually calling it reverse discrimination, affirmative action. I said, “Okay, well, when does it end? Who’s gonna decide that enough amends have been made? Who’s gonna decide that we’ve now leveled the playing field, that we’ve settled the score?” And he said, “Never.” I said, “Never?” He said, “That’s right. We’re never gonna end affirmative action. We’re never gonna end quotas. What are you talking about, when does it end?” I said, “Well, who is gonna be sitting in judgment of when the program has finally succeeded?” “Never. We don’t intend for it to ever end.”
I wish I could remember the guy’s name. He was nice ’cause he was ecstatic with the airtime. And I was prevented from arguing ’cause this was community service. It wasn’t about what I thought. It was about what this guy thought. I had to sit back. Whatever they said, that was the whole point. I couldn’t help it though, “That doesn’t make sense to me. There has to be an end to it.” “Nope, never,” and he was being entirely honest. There isn’t gonna be any end to it. In fact, now “discimination” includes women and Hispanics, everybody. There is no end to it in sight. But at least affirmative action itself is now supported by fewer and fewer. Not that it’s gonna change anything.