Gov. Owens Defends Dick Lamm's Race Remarks

August 3 2006, 8:16 PM
A week ago we wrote about former Governor Dick Lamm's comments about Hispanics and black students. To recap,
Former Gov. Richard Lamm is under fire for comments in a recent speech and in his new book that Hispanics remain an "underclass" in America because their culture is "not success-producing."….In the 80-page paperback published in January, Lamm argues that Hispanics and blacks need to take responsibility for their "underperformance" and should adopt the values of the Japanese and Jews. …."Racism and discrimination clearly still exist, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that the problem of minority underperformance is much broader and more nuanced than can be explained by the impact of racism alone," he wrote.
Today, Gov. Bill Owens defended Lamm's remarks:
Owens said on KOA-AM's "The Mike Rosen Show" Thursday that reaction to Lamm's remarks has been "knee jerk" and that Lamm doesn't have a racist bone in his body....Owens continued with a comment about his children. "There are many days ... when I wish they'd have more aspects of Jewish and Asian culture. I wish they'd get up earlier in the morning, I wish they would work harder and in many respects that's what we do see out of many of the Asian and the Jewish culture. My kids are all Anglo, they're Irish, English and they're wonderful kids and I wish they'd work a little harder sometimes. Sometimes, I wish that I had some more of those traits," Owens said. The topic came up during a discussion about Colorado Student Assessment Program scores.
Asian and white students as a group have had better scores on the CSAP than other ethnic groups.
Kids' work ethics are forged at home. If Governor Owens doesn't think his kids' work habits are up to snuff, perhaps he ought to examine his parenting skills rather than blame it on ethnicity. Lamm and Owens' comments praising Asians and Jewish kids while slighting Hispanic and African -American kids are divisive. That they use a compliment to two of the groups to make their point doesn't make them any less inappropriate. What's next? Will they praise Jews for being good at making money? Blacks for being excellent athletes? See how fast this type of argument goes downhill? Every child in this country deserves an equal chance to succeed. We should be practicing the politics of inclusion rather than exclusion, particularly around kids. Lamm and Owens' willingness to pre-judge kids by perceived racial traits in this day and age is shocking and wrong.