Does Affirmative Action Still Matter?

The Supreme Court will hear Fisher v. University of Texas on October 10, 2012, today of this writing. Fisher v. University of Texas was filed by Abigail Fisher who was denied permission to UT simply because of her skin color, white.

I understand that affirmative action laws were passed with good attentions. They were put in place to try to right a wrong, an embarrassing episode in our countries history. Slavery tore families apart, people were treated like property. We cannot ignore what happened.

That being said, I still struggle with the idea of the creation of affirmative action laws. What happened was absolutely wrong. We now have laws in place and government agencies whose sole job is to protect individual rights. I strongly back these efforts.

We still have discrimination though, people being denied to a position solely based on the color of their skin. Some because their skin color is black and some, as in this case, their skin is white. This is being done in the name of affirmative action. My question is, how can you advance a person of a certain color through the discrimination of a person of a different color skin?

If we follow our Constitution affirmative laws are completely illegal as were the discrimination we practiced in regards to slavery. The ACLU claims to be our “Guardian” whose only purpose is to uphold the values of our Constitution.

The ACLU have represented groups and individuals that are repugnant to the general population such as the “Church of Hate,” The Westboro Baptist Church. They have disrupted funerals of military casualties from Afghanistan and Iraq with signs saying “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for dead soldiers.”

I'm a Marine veteran and ever fiber in my body hates this group. I have to agree with the ACLU though. The Westboro hate group still has free speech rights and the ACLU is upholding the Constitution. The ACLU has a double standard though.

In protecting our Constitutional rights, the ACLU supports affirmative action disregarding what their website states “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution”

Almost all minorities that were able to get into college through affirmative action would still be able to attend college if race was excluded, just maybe not the more demanding higher learning institutions. Is that really a bad thing? Recent surveys have shown that a degree from an Ivy league school doesn’t necessarily (factoring in the cost) give a graduate that great of an edge in finding a good paying job.

Legal briefs have been filed by the majority of higher education groups and institutions. They say that race must be considered for diversification of the student body and the benefits they provide to the student body. Some of these arguments state, that affirmative action needs to be upheld because the “nation's future is at stake.”

Rather, why don't we argue that we need to admit the most qualified students regardless of race because the “nation's future is at stake.” instead?

USA Today put this story on the front page, the first day of the opening arguments. In the story, USA Today presents two historical cases Brown v. Board and Sweatt v. Painter in their article. I'm still scratching my head on why these two cases were brought up. I agree with the outcome of both of these two historic cases but they have nothing to do with affirmative rights.

Both were filed by black students who were denied admittance to schools because of just one factor, their skin color. The courts sided with these students. Of course, this was the right decision. My question, what do these lawsuits have to do with affirmative action? Nothing. They were denied to the schools because of their skin color. The lawsuit filed by Abigail Fisher is exactly the same type of lawsuit.

Should we still have affirmative action?

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An interesting side note, Herman Sweatt who was denied enrollment to UT-Austin and subsequently filed the Sweatt v. Painter suit, has decedents that see the end to affirmative action as a set back.

Let me be clear, Herman Sweatt filed suit because he was qualified to attend the school he applied for but was denied because of his color. He wasn't asking for an affirmative type of action those many years ago.. He filed suit because he deserved enrollment. I would think Herman Sweatt would cheer Abigail Fisher's suit.


About myself, I loath to put the facts of my character into this article because they should not have to be told but we live in this political correctness type of society though, which makes me need to say a few things about myself regarding this article I wrote.

I can honestly say I have just as many friends that are minorities if not more, then non-minorities. I served in the Marines because I believe in the rights of all people. I like to think I'm color blind and treat everyone the same. That is why I'm against affirmative action.


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Comments 4 comments

grumpiornot profile image

grumpiornot 4 years ago from South Africa

No need for the last paragraph - with respect, you don't need to justify your personal circumstances.

Your articulate thoughts cannot be argued against, using sheer logic, and are only susceptible when emotion enters the debate.

I look forward to following this hub and seeing what arguments, if any, can be formulated against what you have said.

Great hub, voted up.


AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 4 years ago from The Land Up Over

Hello RedWhiskeyPete

I agree with the position that responding to discrimination with discrimination feels wrong.

However, any time I make a choice between one or another, I am discriminating. I am picking one course of action over another because I think my choice will make things better for me.

Those who support affirmative action are making the choice that it is better to discriminate against the status quo than to let that status quo self-regulate a solution to racism.

They might be wrong, they might be right. Hence the debate.

There is merit to the argument that, left to itself, the majority will still hire along its comfort lines. It won't be about merit. It will be about which person to I want to work with most. It won't be about scholastic achievement. It won't be about grades. It will be about who am I most comfortable working with.

If I am uncomforatable with someone of another race in my workplace, I will accept less skills in order to hire someone I am comfortable with. This is true no matter what race I belong to.

The challenge is then getting those who are uncomfortable comforatable. Affirmative action attempts this at the expense of the individuals who don't get the job they are qualified for because they are of a majority race.

Being Canadian, I am unfamiliar with American affirmative action legislation so I have nothing to say specifically about the laws themselves that would contribute here. In Canada, affirmative action officially took the form of "all things being equal with respect to qualifications, a priority would be given to make the work force representative of the population".

The actual execution of this philosophy has legitimately been questions and debated for similar reasons that you outline here.

Bottom line is, as in everything, we make the choices that we feel are best for us. This is always an emotional choice, somtimes supported rationally, sometimes not.

If we all made purely rational decisions, we wouldn't need affirmative action.

We don't, therefore we do.

But absolutely it is time to rethink what affirmative action is doing now. Times change. So should we.

cheers


redwhiskeypete profile image

redwhiskeypete 4 years ago from Indiana Author

Thanks for your comment Anton.

I absolutely support non-discrimination in the work place and all laws should be enforced. If a company is discriminating then they should be punished. That being said, I just wish for color blind tests and entrance exams.


AntonOfTheNorth profile image

AntonOfTheNorth 4 years ago from The Land Up Over

I think colour blind tests and entrance exams would be a good experiment as a screening tool.

I suspect that once the interview happened or the probationary period was over that we would see some interesting outcomes.

I've been in a couple hiring processes where that was the attempt. Name and identifiers were removed from the resume and application forms and the initial screen was purely on merit.

In both cases, the result was the same, the majority population was screened in ahead of the minority. This led to the argument that the screening process was itself culturally biased. (written culture vs oral, where the majority culture was written). Of course two events do not contain enough information to make any conclusions, but I did wonder how 'fair' it had to be before it could overcome a cultural bias.

Not an easy solution, but worth struggling with in any case.

Thanks for writing.

cheers

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