Well, as can be expected of a white Republican male, I am against affirmative action. But, my opinions on the matter should not be discarded just because of my race, my politics, or my gender. I have a few arguments with affirmative action, in any form, be it quotas, preference, or recognition. We can look at a few of them one by one:
Race-based preferences are unfair.
This is the main complaint against them, and while it may be overdone, it still is a valid argument. Affirmative action was developed originally to level the playing field for minorities in the workforce and in college entrance. However, this cannot be logically defended, because the goal of affirmative action was to prevent the candidates race as being a hindrance into either getting a job, or getting into a school. But the methodology was to make race a preference, and enforce it legally. Unfortunately, you cannot have it both ways, and still be logically consistent. The very thing they were fighting against, race based generalizations, is what they employ in its institution. For the whole premise of affirmative action is that 1. hiring managers and college admission advisors are generally white, and 2. that they are generally racist and will choose a white candidate over a black one.
If we make the negative generalization that whites are generally racist, why can we not, logically, be allowed to infer that blacks are generally inept, dishonest, under qualified, or whatever negative generalization you would like to use?
I am not necessarily against affirmative action because it is unfair, because life is unfair. However, when a system is introduced that attempts to make something fair, by being unfair to another group, I think it is a hypocritical and self-defeating program.
The fact is, there will never be an end to racism, because racism is the form of hatred, which is just another form of the biggest problem: humanity. People are corrupt. No human, or human system can attempt to fix that.
Affirmative action demeans black achievement.
Affirmative action cheapens the achievement of blacks, and other minorities, because it places the focus on their race, something they had no choice in, over their merit and accomplishments, something they had sole choice over. I will not lie and say that no black person can succeed and still be the recipient of affirmative action. But the problem is, when does it stop? When do we say that this person no longer needs the help that affirmative action gives him?
For instance, do we allow a black student entry into an elite school, pay for it with money he receives based on his race, graduate, get a job where race plays a role, and then accepts promotions throughout the company based on his race? Where does helping someone who is underprivileged become just another government enforced free ride?
This is not only unjust, but it forever taints that persons accomplishments as not quite good enough to stand on its own weight.
Racial preferences in schools are needless.
In many colleges, race is considered a favorable aspect in admissions, much like a students scholastic ability, grades, or athletic ability is. However, this is done for the sole purpose of increasing the number of minority students for the sake of raising the number of minority students.
Colleges look at SAT scores, grades, and athletics because it rewards students for their work, and it benefits the school (smarter students mean more prestigious alumni, better athletes mean better teams, and again, is an advertisement for the school).
But, I ask, what reward should a student get for not being white? And how does a student being non-white benefit the school? You could say that it adds diversity, and a diverse outlook and opinion to the school. Okay, but why is the outlook and opinion of a black or Hispanic person more valued than, say, the opinion of a person of Eastern European descent and the fifth generation of a Czech family? Is the minority experience one of greater value than the white?
I, of course, think both are equally important, but that we cannot pander to diversity for diversities sake. Having the fortune of being born a black female does not mean you have some especially keen insight into the world. It only means you have a different one. And that is even more diversified by an infinite number of factors.
My thoughts? How about we stop focusing on race in general? Why should I care if youre black and Im white? Why should I care if you were born into a wealthy/poor family? How am I supposed to feel because of that? Why not both of us judge each other based not on the color of each others skin, but on the content of our character?
Or perhaps, almost 40 years later, we’re still not ready to do that….