I am compelled to write on account of a swipe taken at the community by Michael A. Miller in his Jan. 21 column in the Levittown Tribune.
Wrapping himself up in the civil rights flag, Mr. Miller notes that "some Long Islanders still measure the quality and desirability of a community based on their perception of the percentage of blacks and Hispanics who live there. Some see the faces change...and move away. Not fast enough." I have lived in the Levittown/Hicksville area since 1968. In my experience, most residents don't care about the color or religion or ethnic origins of their next door neighbors so long as they are decent, honest, hard-working people like themselves. Indeed, folks here are astoundingly tolerant. More than 95 percent of the population of Levittown is white and yet most of the people who work in the businesses along Hempstead Turnpike are members of sundry minority groups. One can cite historical examples of where such a discrepancy between the ethnic composition of a community and the ethnic composition of the people employed by its local businesses have led to protests, boycotts, lawsuits, and violence. But not here.
If, as Mr. Miller claims, he is really concerned about why Dr. Martin Luther King's vision of a more just society got off track, he need only to contemplate what hath the civil rights movement wrought: racial hostility preached in the name of tolerance, censorship practiced in the name of freedom, history fabricated in the name of inclusiveness, and double standards in the name of equality. Of these four horsemen, the most fearsome is double standards.
Consider that as a white, gentile male, I can't become a nun, Girl Scout, or rabbi or get an education via the United Negro College Fund. If I own a business, I can't join the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and enjoy the networking advantages thereof or enjoy the benefits of government set-asides for minority and women owned businesses. I can't go into certain businesses dominated by particular ethnic groups because the professional associations and suppliers don't conduct business with "outsiders." The list goes on and on because ethnic nepotism is as old as man and civil rights laws can no more abolish discrimination than the Volstead Act of 1920 abolished alcohol consumption. Indeed, the latter opened up the door for a lucrative market in illegal liquor, for violent gangster turf wars, and for police corruption.
There never was a color-blind, gender-neutral, egalitarian society and the legal apparatus erected to enforce this utopian goal is the proverbial cure that's worse than the disease; a thing that has the potential to unravel the very fabric of society with seething resentments and strife. Living with discrimination is not easy. But it's a thousand times more difficult when only certain groups are required to live with it. That was already tried once before - in Yugoslavia.