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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Affirmative Action (Part 1)

In this series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4), we will examine concept of 'affirmative action'.

In discussions about "reverse discrimination" the conversation often quickly slides to the subject of affirmative action. Again, I defer to Dr. Tatum whose devotes an entire chapter to the subject, subtitled "I'm in favor of affirmative action except when it comes to my jobs." She notes that many white people wonder "Will I get the job I want or will it go to some 'minority'?" The implication being that the minority that got the job is inherently less qualified and only got it based on color.

Obama eloquently acknowledged fears of white people in his A More Perfect Union speech (oh man, what a speech!):
"Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience — as far as they're concerned, no one handed them anything. They built it from scratch...And in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear an African-American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in  urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time..."

I get the fear. Without a doubt, particularly in this economy, it is scary to think that one might lose a job opportunity because of skin color. First, let me point out that this is the fear that black people have had to deal with ever since they were allowed to work for pay in this country. Not saying that it is right--just saying 'welcome to the club'.

Two wrongs, don't make a right, so let me try to explain why I don't think affirmative action is a wrong...Continue to 'Part Two'...

See Also:
Affirmative Action: Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4
Reverse Discrimination
Academic Admissions
Dr. Tatum: What is Racism?
News for the Golden Child


  1. American history is rife with examples of Affirmative Action - for white people. It wasn't called Affirmative Action. It was just normal everyday racism until the civil rights movement began to get a foothold in the U.S. circa the early 1970s. Even after slavery and Jim Crow, People of Color were/are still systemically treated as 2nd class citizens to the extent that enormous gaps of all sorts persists between whites and PoC. Note the different unemployment rates,  the sub-prime mortgage rate debacle where large lending institutions singled out black and other people of color for higher interest rates loans. I could go on. It's mind boggling that whites seldom see the white privilege they're swimming in. The fact that many believe that they're somehow being disadvantaged now by their white skin suggests wide scale denial or mind disease.

  2. Great topic to tackle- keep it up!

  3. Exactly, Matari! Stay tuned for the next several posts that address these issues. In the mean time, you can check out this one that is related to your points:


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By Their Strange Fruit by Katelin H is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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