November 16, 2012
Affirmative Action….Oh seriously?
Affirmative action is a policy that requires a specific percentage of minorities and women be represented in business, educational institutions, and government offices. President Lyndon Johnson first used the term “affirmative action” in a 1965 executive order that required federal contractors to “take affirmative action” to guarantee that job seekers and employees “are treated without regard to their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Affirmative action is a policy that arose during the civil rights era. It was only supposed to be in effect for a short period of time to give minorities and women a, “fair shake”, access to jobs and education that had previously been denied could now be easily acquired. I believe that affirmative action is reverse discrimination. I believe affirmative action programs have worsened relationships between whites and minorities. I argue this because, affirmative action emphasizes race and gender, it sends the incorrect signal if not contradictory message that there is only one way to resolve racial discrimination and that is to have a program that highlights race. Myself, and other likeminded people are being called “racist” to point out that “affirmative action”, the “revamped segregation”, has brought out a new divisiveness, especially in urban areas where this topic is stirring things up. Not only among whites, but among middle-class blacks who feel that lowered criteria for them imposed by affirmative action, denigrates them and suggests that they were not able to meet the normal criteria. They, like me, believe that originally, affirmative action was a well intentioned idea, elevating blacks even if to some expense of whites. However, affirmative has been left unchecked, showing a remarkable, if frequently absurd ingenuity in racial and ethnic identification. But they say it is government-initiated, government-sponsored, and government-enforced affirmative action that, above all, has placed a curse on race relations in the U.S. It took us a century to recover from the horrific curse of slavery. How long will it take us to recover from the monstrosity of affirmative action? Others believe affirmative action programs are vital to our society’s stabilization. These people condemn white attacks on affirmative action programs. They argue that racism is invisible to most whites who benefit from its subtle effects. Since whites have always benefited from society’s cultural favoritism, they firmly believe that affirmative action is needed to allow for blacks and other minorities to have equal opportunities. In this nation’s earliest history, membership in American society was outlined in racial terms. During slavery, even “free” blacks in the north were denied jobs, voting rights, housing, and jury duty. When the civil war ended, blacks were deemed worthy to be official American citizens. During the period of American urbanization, millions of white immigrants came to the U.S. They too, were discriminated against. However, they had access to jobs, voting rights, housing, and other opportunities that blacks were barred from. A republican strategist said, “Slavery may be gone and legal segregation dismantled, but the effects of past discrimination live on in older laws that have not yet been renewed.” Despite the endless rhetoric, equal opportunity has never been the American way. For almost this country’s entire existence,