“Whites Need Not Apply”: Affirmative Action

This month, I want to shed some light on a huge issue dividing conservatives and radical liberals: race. Many liberals accuse us of not wanting to and avoiding frank discussions about race. I say “challenge accepted! ” I’m going to try to write some articles on different issues involving race this month as an overarching theme…

Affirmative Action is a heated topic for many people. Proponents say it is necessary to give a leg up for disadvantaged group, such as women and people of color. They argue in addition to righting some of the past wrongs, like the racial or sexist discrimination of the past in the workforce and academia, it also brings fresh innovative perspectives to the table. In addition, arguments are also made to the effect of we “owe” certain groups this, due to historical injustice as well. Proponents of affirmative action present these three succinct arguments in favor of the practice:

The first one being that since minorities are disadvantaged by systematic racism, sexism, etc…, it is literally harder for them to achieve as much as white people, especially white men even if they have equal merit and qualifications. They claim the bigotry of the past has put minorities in a “hole” in the present, that they must dig out of to overcome the challenges set up by a system of racism and sexism. On its face it sound plausible, as bias can exist and people can make assumptions that are unnoticed. Stereotypes can sip in sneakily and create bias against potential candidates, such as ethnic names that don’t sound “professional”, for example, or a cultural look in an interview that doesn’t go with “professional attire”. The issue is in that case, how much should we be flexible about what looks “professional”? While some flexibility is a good thing in many cases, does that mean we must turn traditional conventions of professional attire and personal presentation on its head to accommodate someone’s “native” outfits?

The other issue with it is I think it places too much emphasis on past wrongs. Yes, the past has put others at a disadvantage, like women and minorities, but now there are many laws trying to prevent that from repeating itself. Everyone has something that puts them at a disadvantage that they didn’t earn and was never asked for. The key thing is, in the case of racial and gender discrimination in the workforce and academia, things are being done in the present to remedy that. The whole point of the anti discrimination laws based on “sex, race, religion etc…”  was to prevent special treatment, not enforce it! The idea should have been to take those factors off the table when judging who’s qualified for the job or the school, and judge their merits, not their outside appearance or things they can’t control based on stereotypes and prejudice. Affirmative action does the opposite, instead using these things as playing cards to get “a leg up” over white people now. Candidates through affirmative action, are not being hired or accepted based on past experience, training, credentials, GPAs, SATs and such, but by their race or gender. The past is past now: we can’t change what happened to minorities in the past who were unfairly denied earned opportunities, but we can, and have taken steps to level the playing field and judge merit, not skin color or gender. We ought to focus on now, not then, for judging just how “disadvantaged” these groups are today. What opportunities do minorities have now to succeed through hard work and merit? Focusing too much on past injustice distracts from an honest assessment of their equality now in society. Just because your ancestors had it bad, doesn’t mean you do just because they did!

Of course, a counterargument to that is that minorities have had less opportunity to build their skills and get the same level of education as whites. They say minorities live mostly in poorer neighborhoods with poorer families and few resources. They say they have had challenges to overcome, like juggling work and school, taking care of siblings, crime etc… that middle class whites didn’t have. Only there, you can easily see, this is more about class privilege than racial disadvantage. The blame for their misfortunes is often put upon white people though, as they blame white society for keeping them in poverty and disadvantage. Perhaps in the Jim Crow South, yes, but now? Not so much. There are plenty of organizations and legislation to try to break the cycle of poverty and crime in minority communities, but there’s the old adage, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it.”

The past may have influenced disadvantage of the present, but that is not an excuse for passive acceptance of it. Why aren’t more minorities going for higher education and jobs, bringing more wealth to the community? Why isn’t there more vigilance and less tolerance of crime such as drug deals, gun violence, prostitution, gang activity, exploitation etc.? The excuse of it’s all they can do to survive is nonsense! Would you excuse white crime as being “survival”, when people in extreme disadvantage have been able to work honest jobs and make honest lives for themselves? Thing is, crime is the easy way out for survival for many, getting an honest job and education to make more money takes actual hard work, which many don’t want to do it seems. Harsh to say, yes, but it’s true. It’s inflammatory to admit, but at least 50% or more of the ghettoized crime culture and welfare state and disintegration of the family in many minority communities are on them, not “the white man” and past historical injustices. As said, the past is past, it’s time to focus on the present. What can we do now, to make our communities better, regardless of then?

The second argument is basically tied into the first. We “owe” them affirmative action due to things like slavery, for instance. Again, the past has past. Their present problems aren’t all the “white man’s burden”. Having a culture entrenched in crime for economy, persecuting anyone wanting to “act white” by breaking out of poverty and crime, and pursuing education and career, depending on welfare and handouts from the government, not having intact families with supportive parents to help their kids succeed etc… and making it all look “cool” is at the very very least 50% of their problem. Yes, slavery put the black community at a disadvantage, for example, but slavery also ended over a century ago, and the civil rights movement passed much legislation to help give black people the same opportunities as whites. Instead of dwelling on history as one’s own pity party, why not change the present, even if the past was bad? But then again, that takes hard work, not something glorified in ghetto culture. There are even black conservatives now, like Walter Williams, who decry this “victimhood” status of his race, as it reflects badly on any minority who does indeed want to further themselves the honest way. Not all minorities are “lazy”, but the lazy ones seem to have the loudest mouth, making everyone else look bad.

Lastly, a third argument is about the fresh perspectives others can give outside of the life experience of white middle class America. It is true, different life experiences and perspectives are good for a business, or school looking to expand the minds of its students. This is probably their strongest argument. Diversity can be a good thing for broadening everyone’s minds, not just white people’s. Knowing people from all walks of life, and different cultures can enrich your own outlook on the world. After all, historically, new ideas and innovations happened due to cultural diffusion and encountering different people. The world would be dull with just a homogeneous group 24/7. The issue here, is not with the idea of being around different people than yourself, but with why they’re there in the first place. It’s an issue of merit outside race or culture. Are your coworkers or employees here because of their many talents and achievements, or their race? Do they bring new innovative ideas to the table that stand on their own merit, or were they just selected to fill arbitrary diversity quotas to gain “enlightenment points”? There is absolutely no problem at all with having a diverse workforce, the issue rests with them being there on their own merits, instead of their race or gender alone. But people will say, “It’s not just their race! They have to be qualified too! It’s to give a minority a leg up if they’re equal to a white candidate since they were disadvantaged.” Of course, the flaw in that is many places have actually lowered their standards to admit more minorities in schools and the workforce. Minorities need lower test scores, GPAs, and SATs now to get into college than white people, or even Asians! There is a double standard in qualifications now, all to admit more minorities simply because they’re minorities!

Overall, I’m against affirmative action simply because it is what it claims to prevent: discrimination. Discriminating against whites and men is no different from discriminating against minorities and women. Being judged on stereotypes and factors beyond your control instead of honest merit is unjust no matter who you are. The “equality” it presumes to enhance actually is just reverse discrimination. I feel though, the liberals are actually afraid to stop it, because it would unearth some very uncomfortable realizations about why more minorities aren’t in higher up positions, (Hint: it’s not “the white man”, it starts with a “c” ends with ‘ultre”…) not to mention votes 😉 Unlike the snowflakes would have you believe, reverse discrimination is discrimination, period. Turing the tables on the majority group and limiting them based on skin color or gender is no different from the majority oppressing the minority. The outcome is the same, only the roles are switched. “Two wrongs do not make a right”, as my parents would say. Indeed, many minorities feel insulted to think they were chosen as the “affirmative action hire” and be held in contempt by their coworkers and fellow classmates, instead of their workplace or school seeing them as bright, capable individuals regardless of what they look like. Affirmative action is a stain on minorities too who do want to live the honest way, and not be lumped in with the freeloaders. Whatever happened to honest work and merit, rather than playing the “minority card” to get ahead in life?

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