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January 5, 2000
Bradley Warns White America
A P Kamath
George W Bush, the Republican front-runner in the presidential race, has enthusiastically voiced his support for more high-tech visas, and hailed the contributions of immigrants across America. But it is Bill Bradley who is talking about a subject that many Americans do not want to hear.
Bradley, who is challenging Vice President Al Gore to be Democratic Party's presidential nominee, has urged white America to embrace other ethnic groups and races. If they do not want to embrace a multiethnic America, they will risk economic ruin, Bradley, a former senator, has said.
"By the year 2010, less than 60 per cent of the people in America who enter the work force are going to be native-born white Americans,'' Bradley said.
"That means increasingly that the future of white Americans will depend on the talents of non-white Americans if labor economics mean anything," he said this week in Boston. "That is not ideology. That is demographics. And that is why it is the ultimate common sense, self-interest to get this racial division behind us.''
Bradley's call has struck a warm chord among many of his Indian American well-wishers who hope that Al Gore would say similar things, too.
But some prominent Indian Americans who support the Republican Party say that Bradley is suddenly discovering multicultural and multiethnic America.
"When the Dotbusters were beating up and ill-treating people from India, Bradley was a senator and did he do anything for the Indian community," asks Dr Dinesh Patel, a Bush loyalist. Dotbusters, a self-created gang of young men and women, perpetuated racial violence on south Asians in and around Jersey City in the 1980s. The violence subsided when half-a-dozen Dotbuster were successfully prosecuted.
Bradley supporters say that never mind the past, he should be credited for his present passion for a stronger America where racial unity is actively promoted.
A former NBA standout player with the New York Knicks, Bradley says he will have racial unity, universal health care, and gun control as core themes of his campaign.
As Bradley is taking his presidential campaign across America, he has promised to "keep at the center of our attention the absolute importance of racial unity in this country''.
Many Indian Americans who support the Democrats believe whether Bradley gets the party's nomination or not, he has done a great service to the cause of a multiracial America.
According to several polls Bradley trails Gore by a wide margin. A CNN poll taken in the first week of January gave Gore 53 per cent and Bradley 28 per cent of Democratic votes.
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