Posted on December 10, 2004

The Fox Guarding the Henhouse

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, AlterNet, Dec. 7


With the flush of election victory, Bush no longer needs to use end around maneuvers to get Reynolds an administration job, or failing that to shove him into a government agency spot. Bush quickly appointed Reynolds as the new boss of the Civil Rights Commission. He is the exact political opposite of the pro affirmative action, liberal Democrat gadfly that Mary Frances Berry, the ousted chair of the commission, was. Reynolds is a former staff counsel and board member of the conservative Center for New Black Leadership. This is the Washington D.C. group that claims personal responsibility and free market solutions are the solutions to discrimination and rails against civil rights leaders for promoting “racial victimization.”

He’s also a former legal analyst for the even more conservative Center for Equal Opportunity. Linda Chavez who has boasted that she is the “premier voice” opposing affirmative action, bi-lingual education, and immigration reform founded the Center in 1995. The Center has ferociously opposed vigorous enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities law, even urging Congress to narrow (i.e. torpedo the law).

Reynolds, unlike the taciturn Thomas, has been unabashed in his knock of civil rights leaders and affirmative action. In a 1997 Washington Times op-ed piece he slammed affirmative action as the “Big Lie — -a corrupt system of preferences, set aside and quotas against affirmative action, and branded civil rights leaders, “the civil rights industry.” In a 1999 op-ed piece in the San Jose Mercury News, he harangued Jesse Jackson as a “race hustler” for leading a discrimination fight against Silicon Valley computer corporations. Reynolds also publicly railed against the Americans with Disabilities Act. A large percent of all discrimination complaints are for violations of the disability rules. Reynolds called it a bad law that in his view would stymie economic development in urban centers across the country.