On Affirmative Action

Last week, Mother Jones came out with an article about affirmative action as a case is likely to head to the Supreme Court. You can read it here.

Affirmative action has always been a touchy subject for me. I write this blog in the hopes of drawing attention to everyday racism and white privilege and ways to improve the situation, but I have mixed feelings on AA. Here is where I stand (in list tl;dr format!):

  • Affirmative action is a government mandate for institutions like work and education to increase racial diversity. But that’s just it, it’s a mandate. There are no instructions on how to accomplish this so several policies exists, most are flawed.
  • I used to believe that using race to decided on policies was counter-intuitive to battle racism and why can’t we just ignore race and based decisions on merit? I no longer believe in this ignorant color-blind concept. Racism is pervasive and inequalities based on racial lines do exists. It has been proven. It cannot be ignore away.
  • I do not thing affirmative action should be stopped.
  • But I do think actions along the lines outlined here in this article should be emphasized:
    ‘”Previous efforts to curtail what are known as “race-conscious” policies have shown that “universities don’t just throw up their hands and give up on racial diversity,” says Rick Kahlenberg, an education expert at the Century Foundation. “They look to race-neutral alternatives, some of which can produce substantial racial and ethnic diversity.” ‘

A little more on the second point where some believe merit alone should be the deciding factor. The plain truth of the matter is not everyone has equal access to education and money. A large reason for this discrepancy is race and poverty and those are inextricably linked. Yes there are poor whites who might not have had access to this or that (I was one of them!), but poor whites are very much a drop in the bucket if you compare those numbers to those of basically any other race. Race-neutral solutions should be found, but that doesn’t mean we should stop collecting racial information; because if we don’t know there’s a problem we can’t work to solve it.