Affirmative Action Vacations? | LifeZette


Affirmative Action Vacations?

Don't let all the green fool you; feds say National Parks are too white

The U.S. National Park Service is bowing to the demands of the Left’s politically correct agenda by veering towards affirmative action and pursuing substantive measures to diversify its workforce and its visitors alike.

Although the National Park Service celebrated a record-high attendance rate last year, with 307 million visitors across the country, the victory was overshadowed when activists noted that fewer than 20 percent of those visitors represented minorities. As if that dismal bombshell weren’t enough, the activists also noted that an egregious 83 percent of the approximately 20,000 park employees were white. Saddened and disgruntled, these politically correct warriors came up with a simple solution: diversify — or else.

“So essentially this is where diversity becomes coercive. It’s not voluntary — it’s a form of coercion.”

“So essentially this is where diversity becomes coercive. It’s not voluntary — it’s a form of coercion,” Dr. John Fonte, senior fellow and director at the Center for American Common Culture at the Hudson Institute, told LifeZette. “Sometimes there’s discrimination, yes, and we want to eliminate discrimination. But no one’s talking about discrimination here. They’re simply talking about filling in numbers. That’s an entirely different thing, and it’s not consistent with a free society.”

However, at least 25 U.S. senators disagree with Fonte and other critics of affirmative action. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennett from Colorado led the group of senators in penning and sending a letter to President Barack Obama last month asking him to issue a memorandum that would direct the “federal land management agencies to broaden the diversity in the sites protected, stories told, communities engaged,” according to NBC News.

But is asking the federal government to step in and direct the Park Service’s hiring and outreach procedures really the best way to go?

“The bottom line is that of course the government should not be discriminating for or against anyone in its hiring just to reach a predetermined racial and ethnic mix,” Roger Clegg, the president and General Counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, said.

Adding that there’s nothing wrong with the Park Service increasing outreach efforts and ensuring that all minority groups are welcomed and encouraged to participate, Clegg said that “the message” shouldn’t be defined in “racial terms.”

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“The focus should be on anybody who’s not getting that message,” Clegg said. “It shouldn’t be defined in racial terms, and certainly it doesn’t make sense to start implementing soft or hard quotas in order to achieve a predetermined racial and ethnic mix.”

The National Park Service has already initiated some recent efforts to diversify its ranks and target minorities for inclusion.

“We recognize the Park’s need to attract more diverse visitors. Our goal for the centennial is centered on connecting and creating the next generation of park visitors and supporters, and that next generation looks different than before,” National Park Service spokesman Jeremy Barnum told NBC News. “We are committed to reflect what America looks like and tell America’s story.”

So far, the Park Service’s idea of “America’s story” includes recent monuments commemorating a politically correct emphasis on the LGBTQ community, gender equality, and African-American heritage — emphases that support the Left’s narrative. But why isn’t the Park Service, with all its rhetoric touting the necessity for inclusion and diversity, committed to telling all of “America’s story” — like the inherent values of hard work, protecting liberty, and freely pursuing opportunity?

“Group representation is un-American. In America, you’re supposed to be judged by the content of your character and on an individual basis,” Fonte said. “It’s never worked in a free society. You have to have an un-free society basically force people into these group categories. So in the long run it’s very pernicious and very damaging. In the short run it’s rather silly, but it goes against the grains of a free society.”

meet the author

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected].

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