Larry Elder: MLK Day — equal rights versus equal results

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it becomes necessary to again remind us all of the distinction between equal rights, deserved by all, and equal results, deserved by none. Unfortunately, King also failed to make the distinction.

In 1968, King said: “At the very same time that America refused to give the Negro any land, through an act of Congress our government was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest, which meant it was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor. But not only did they give them land, they built land grant colleges with government money to teach them how to farm. Not only that, they provided county agents to further their expertise in farming. Not only that, they provided low interest rates in order that they could mechanize their farms.” Sounds like reparations.

We have had nearly sixty years of “race-based preferences” or affirmative action; “set-asides” or special government contracts for blacks that stoke racial resentment; college admissions standards that make it easier for a black applicant compared to a white student with similar credentials, which has led to higher drop-out rates for blacks compared to those admitted under standard criteria; and “a war on poverty” that has resulted in a disastrous increase in black children entering the world without a father married to the mother.

In 1975, then-Sen. Joe Biden said: “I do not buy the concept, popular in the ’60s, which said, ‘We have suppressed the black man for 300 years and the white man is now far ahead in the race for everything our society offers. In order to even the score, we must now give the black man a head start, or even hold the white man back, to even the race. I don’t buy that.”

For once, Biden was right.

Fast forward to last week. After the firing of two black NFL head coaches (leaving only one), Skip Bayless, a white sports commentator with three million Twitter followers, said: “It dawned upon me that only Mike Tomlin (of the Pittsburgh Steelers) is the last man standing. The last black head coach in the National Football League on the eve of the playoffs. It rocked me. Because the gravity of it hit me as we near yet another Martin Luther King Day on Monday. … It is shameful, it is disgusting, it is embarrassing, and it’s inexplicably wrong.”

Really? The currency in the NFL is winning. Owners would hire Jussie Smollett if they thought he could lead them to the Super Bowl. What, exactly, is Bayless saying?

If owners refuse to hire black coaches due to racism, he ought to name names. Otherwise, this is demagoguery. Should black head coaches, once hired, never get fired? What an excellent way to make it more difficult to hire them.

Did the NFL take leave from its “shameful, disgusting, embarrassing” lack of black head coaches when black head coaches Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith faced each other in Super Bowl XLI? And then the racism kicked back in?

The No. 1 problem in the black community in particular, and in the country in general, is the growing number of children who enter the world without a father married to the mother. This is the case with nearly 70% of black children. But blacks’ salvation is more NFL head coaches?

Does Bayless find it “shameful, disgusting, embarrassing” that he’s kept his lucrative gig as a TV sports commentator for decades, despite the availability of black commentators? Or does he think he earned his job but that the white head coaches in the NFL did not? Perhaps white savior/sportscaster Bayless should walk the walk and surrender his job to a more worthy black commentator?

Finally, what is the “correct” percentage of black head coaches? The NFL consists of 57.5% black players. Should 57.5% of the coaches be black? Does that apply to sports commentators? If so, Mr. Bayless, you’re fired.

MLK spoke of a colorblind society. What is truly shameful, disgusting, embarrassing and inexplicably wrong are people like Bayless, who demand a society that is color-coordinated.

Larry Elder is a bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host. His latest book, “The New Trump Standard,” is available in paperback from and for Nook, Kindle, iBooks and Google Play. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit Follow Larry on Twitter @LarryElder. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


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