Happy Equal Opportunity Day

Affirmative Action

The opponents of affirmative action counter that using affirmative action to remove discrimination is counterproductive, both because it requires the very discrimination it is seeking to eliminate in order to work and because it promotes prejudice by increasing resentment of those who are the beneficiaries of affirmative action from those who have been adversely affected by the policy.

I bet if Afirmative Action had never been implemented in the first place, society as a whole would be closer to the social equality. Unfortunately, we cannot change this, so the question is – if Afirmative Action was cut out of the equation right now, what do you think would happen? Riots in the streets? The enslavement of all Hispanic Idahoans? Chocolate turning into grass?

I doubt that.

Back in the '50’s, Affirmative Action was absolutley neccessary. Seriously. Black people, especially here in the south, were born into a systemm that was against them from the beginning. If you wanted to go to college, it would have to be a a historically black one like Tuskegee, otherwise, there was little chance you’d be accepted.

This isn’t just blacks, look at women; one of my teachers was able to get into college because of the fact that she was female. A whole slew of intellectuals from parts of society that were once underepresented now have a voice because affirmative action gave them the ability to do so.

Now, it’s 2007. I don’t need Affirmative Action. Unlike Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton, I think the system has fixed itself. Most of the racist people are dead, and I think the majority, which, you know, I mean white people, are better now. It seems to me, and I’m no expert on this, that most people seem to view Affirmative Action as a perk of being a minority. That’s not what it was meant to be - it was supposed to be introduced to serve as a way to give minorities the ability to achieve some upward social mobility. We can do that now. To be blunt, I don’t need any white guilt to bring me through college or get me a job and I don’t think anyone else should either - I’m fully capable of doing it myself.

Yeah, better in the sense that there are fewer lynch mobs stringing people up. :stuck_out_tongue:
We do still have the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and whatever other inbred racist groups, and as far as I know, there are still places that have, either written or unwritten, a “sundown law”. There is still plenty of prejudice going around, but it mostly goes under the radar.
As for Affirmative action, it’s still needed in some countries where they’re still dealing with that crap, but here in the states we don’t need it anymore. But we’re not a paragon of equality, either.

Maybe when we get a female archbishop.

Why that’s an extremely valid point, I don’t think that it was completely neccessary. It is true at the time it was an enormous step towards equal opportunity, I’m not saying otherwise. What I am saying is that based on the cultural evolution of other countries I think it was unecessary. You’re right, the system fixed itself, and it probably would have done so anyway without afirmative action. I’m going to use England as an example:

The Abolition movement in England started to gain momentum before US independence, probably in or around 1765. Similiar to the US, there was a series of court issues and public dispute until society as a whole accepted that slavery was wrong. It was made illegal. England then went through a similiar phase as the US with hate crimes, reforms, etc. As far as reasonable acceptance goes, England was about where the US was in about 1865 when the US Civil War ended.

This timeline of 1765-1864 (a hundred years), is suprisingly similiar, time-wise, to ours. The Abolistionists in the US started to gain some good momentum in about 1840 and the last bunch of really good political reforms for equality were in the 60s (roughly over 100 years). The slight time difference is probably due to the time it took to gain control and recover from the Civil War.

Affirmative Action was a good jump, but sort sighted. The government saw a problem and looked for a quick fix. While a really good, at the time, fix, it has had negative affects on society today. When previously given the chance between two equally qualified people - one black and one white, the white man probably would have been chosen due to racism. Now, with the same choice the black man will probably be chosen to avoid a law suit, appease some governement racial employmen statistic, or some other third party influence. The fact is that afirmative action did not change the issue.

Again, let me say again that I am not saying affirmative action has not helped tons of people, providing many, many jobs and oppurtunities. But as I said, it was a good idea at the time, simply short-sighted and meant as a fix.

Due to affirmative action, while the US is closer to social acceptance than ever before, it has caused a stall. I believe this stall is mainly due to the fact that society still needs to catch up with it’s polotical movements (or vice versa, I’m not sure), many of which(including affirmative action) were done out of the desire to be viewed as cultured and enlightened country. If it hadn’t been instated, the desire above would have dictated society’s movement towards social acceptance anyway.

Now back to my original question, if affirmative action was cut out right now, I think nothing would change immediately. However, it would assist in helping the country as a whole move forward and get out the social rut we’re stuck in.

Trillian is right. However, the reason that much of it is “under theradar” is because most people that aren’t being affected by it don’t believe it is even there, trusting that the current legislation protects people’s rights while distrusting the legislators themselves.

There can’t be a female Archbishop, it goes against the Dogma of every religion that has a position called that (Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, etc.)

(Edit: accidently put 1960 instead of 1860 for Civil war)

Alright, let’s stick with your question or hypothesis then.

Personally, I don’t think it would achieve that much if affirmative action was changed as it’s already viewed by a great deal of the population as antiquited. Race quotas in schools are out of practice now - the Bakke case laid the groundwork for that. If you feel like your employer is discriminating you, you can file a grievance at the EEO. Minorites are now more capable than before of changing their circumstances.

What I don’t understand though, is how you think this would get us out of some “social rut” and how affirmative action has really put is in a social rut. If we’re in a rut, affirmative action is far from the biggest factor.

What you seem to misunderstand is that at the time, waiting for society to gradually change it’s views was not going to be enough. The government was just supposed to wait until society became enlightened instead of taking some form of action? Minorites weren’t allowed to live in neighborhoods. They couldn’t gain employment that they were qualified for. If anything, Affirmative Action was neccesary because it got us out of a rut. Now, not so much.

Trillian’s got it right by the way. Here in Texas, we had a black man chained to a truck and killed in Jasper. The Jena 6 issue is a blatant example of prevading racism as well. At least by the majority of white people, it’s not seen as acceptable.


Presiding Bishop is slightly different from Archbishop, but yeah. We Episcopalians have a female head of church (in so much as she is a “head of church”).

Yes, the ability for minorities to change their circumstances is amazing. Really, I’m not arguing that this isn’t this case. What I am arguing is that affirmative action (I’m just going to refer to it as “AA” from now) was not specifically what was neccesary. Every dictionary I’ve checked defines AA as, “n. A policy or a program that seeks to redress past discrimination through active measures to ensure equal opportunity, as in education and employment.”

AA was orignally called for as a punishment for those that did discriminate. This is what was necesary: a rule that would punish those that refused work, etc based on race. Humans react to consequences, not quotas, so this was perfect. However, this was twisted into something else: not as a punishment, but as a forced guideline for keeping a diverse work-force. While this was good also, it would have best been used as very short term thing, surging diversity in the work force followed by investigation if the company’s numbers dropped.

Unfortunately it was twisted further, however, and just a short after it’s debut it had turned into some sort of reperation treatment. So much so that now the shoe is on the other foot and now white people are being partially discriminated (though it is true that is has come nowhere neat as bad – not even the same ball park).

Are you aware that it is illegal to form anything remotely resembling a “White Club”? There’s the Asian Club, the Latino Club, the Black Student Union, etc. Why not a white club? Out of curiosity, I once questioned an administrator on this this and their response was, “Because it’s racist.” My immediate thought was, “How so? There’s all these other clubs, and its not like they club would exclude people, the Asian Club or others don’t.” I didn’t say these aloud because I rather did not want to get into an argument like this with someone with the power to give me a referal. The same with scholarships. When applying for scholarships in the past, I found several whose requirements, word for word, stated, “-of African, Asian, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, Native American, and/or a women.” Basically no white men. Also in Texas, a man was also beaten up and dragged behind a truck for making a scholarship for men of European descent. I can’t recall if he survived.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, AA kept it about race. It shouldn’t matter that it was a black man that was killed, it should matter that it was a man that was killed. AA was right, at first. Awesome idea. Brilliant, but in the end, shifted to something that was wrong. This is the new rut we find ourselves in. One that leaves everyone in the constant struggle to figure out which race is more equal. This is the main reason why AA needs to be removed, in addition to what you mentioned.

I’m not saying that the government should have done nothing about the situation of the times. I am saying that AA was the wrong thing to do. Historically, it was probable that the situation would have resolved itself in time. The point of gevernement intervention is to speed up this process, not move onto a side track that “appears” to be better. It might not have been apparent at the time, but something so much better could have happened. A real solution could have been found, not a court phrase adopted and twisted to help society, but a real solution to the real problem. So back to my question:

It is impossible to change the past, so our best bet to work on the future. The change in society that everyone has dreamed of, but been too scared to realize. Unfortunately, people are afraid of change. “I am content with the present, the present works.” These are the thoughts of the modern man or woman, not uncaring to the injustuce surrounding her, but more scared that the change of it will adversely affect her or that which she loves. As I said before, Humans are beings of consequence, not quota. The removal of Affirmative Action would be the first of many steps down this road, a real attempt to get humanity back on track.

I concur to a large degree except for two points, one that’s minor and one more personal.

The minor thing is the issue about the scholarships; if those scholarships are being sponsored by a government affiliated institution, then yes, that’s wrong. If it’s a private institution or individual, then I’m fine with it. Yes, I’ll admit, I boast about how many scholarships I can apply for and feel a tiny, miniscule amount of guilt when I hear my friends moaning about the six they can. But seriously, there are thousands of scholarships out there. The multitude of scholarships for minorities doesn’t mean that there are only a small amount for the majority.

Oh, the major thing? That’s the fact that while I enjoy conversing with you and hearing someone arguing against AA with a broader perspective than “It’s reverse racism!”, there is little doubt in my mind that you’d be called racist if you were talking about this in the South instead of in Seattle.

Thanks, I’ve enjoyed this as well. For whatever reason, I seem to be having less intellectual conversations in college than in high school, kinda wierd.

There are tons of scholarships, I was just bummed that of the twenty Engineering Scholarships I found, I could only apply for 4. But applying for three was enough for me anyway, as each one called for a different essay; that was a pain.

As for my comment’s reactions in the South, I’ll have too take your word for it. I’ve to Texas a few times, but I was little and don’t remember much other than Six Flags. Besides that, it’s only a week-long marksmanship tournament in Ft. Benning, Georgia – that was a real culture shock.

I’m of the opinion that positive discrimination is still discrimination, and thus wrong. However, there is the very valid counter-argument of there being a very small number of other ways to deal with institutionalized racism. It seems sort of a necessary evil that does more or less harm than good depending on where and when in the country it is viewed. Post 9/11, for example, measures against discrimination against Islamic or arabic-looking people would be useful. Discrimination against hispanics here in Colorado is still prevalent. I think the difference on where Trk would and wouldn’t be called a racist is the perception of the people based upon the necessity of the system. Seattle has a far less racially conflicted past than the South, and so the system has, largely, been less necessary up there, in common perception, at least.
I think some system against discrimination is needed in most places in America right now; there’s still a lotta racists up here in positions of power. While I don’t necessarily think Affirmative Action is the right way to do it, I don’t have a better idea, so I don’t complain about it.

For what it’s worth, because I wish to do things wholly on my own merit, and not in part on being Native American, I’m actually checking “prefer not to reply” on all my college admissions.

Last week the Pew Research Center released a package of three reports – the Study of Income Dynamics – analyzing economic status of 2,367 people, including 730 African American, for nearly four decades.
Quiet a few media outlets jumped on this study due to a certain unexpected finding – nearly half of African Americans born to middle-income parents in the late 1960s plunged into poverty or near-poverty as adults.
Only 16 percent of whites experienced similar downward mobility.
For now, the study couldn’t provide any answers to this phenomenon; Pew is compiling a follow-up report, probing the role of wealth and education in income mobility.
Some pundits working in the field speculated that the increase in the number of single-parent black households, continued educational gaps between blacks and whites and even racial isolation could be factors.

The Study:

If Affirmative Action is obsolete nowadays, then maybe something called Bill Cosby Action could be a satisfactory replacement. But then again, if Cosby was white…