4 years ago1,000+ Views
I thought twice about writing that title. I feel like many would see that, and think "is this guy crazy?" I think that because I have been told that before. Let me explain, though, what this attached article and I mean. Affirmative Action is a good concept and plan, but one that is promoting the wrong train of thought because it promote meritocracy in the right way. I am writing this now because of what I read in the attached article. While the article is about affirmative action in South Africa, I think that it details a very important point. People seem to overestimate what affirmative action can do to solve the problem of inequality. While affirmative action can help, it does not focus on solving the real issues behind inequality: Lack of early childhood education => There are a lot of cases where minority kids enter good universities through affirmative action, and they struggle. Why? Because they, unlike their classmates, did not have the training to be able to handle the rigorous coursework of those schools Lack of participation => In recent years, there has been a strong movement to get minorities to vote more. From personal experience, though, I know that there are a lot of people I know who felt their voice was not needed. They believe (as they have told me) that this country will always be run by the rich white people at banks. No matter for whom I vote, it won’t do much. If we hope to have an equal society, then we need to consider these two latter points as the real issues. They need to be the driving force that unites all our plans and strategies. If that happens, then we will be able to create a system that put more and more qualified minorities into their deserved positions. And that is what bothers me the most about the current system. The current system puts such a strong emphasis on race that it actually discriminates against poor white and poor asians. For example, if you are an asian student you will have to overachieve in order to enter a good university. It is because good universities have too many qualified asian students so they want to hold out spots for non-asian students. Is that fair? Similarly, look at the people it is supposed to help? I am hispanic, and went to a decent school. However, during one conversation at my freshman seminar, I spoke about how affirmative action needs to be reformed because it is unfair to some people (poor asians and poor whites). And one girl actually yelled at me that I should be thankful to affirmative action since that is the reason I was there… So basically in her mind, I wouldn’t have been at that school if I did not get aided by affirmative action? Regardless of whether she is right or wrong, is that really the mentality to help fight off inequality? So, I ask you all this. Please think about what affirmative action is, and what it is actually supposed to do. Once you do that, you will see that putting so much hope on such an imperfect system will actually lead to a different style of inequality. We need to solve the problem with much more than that.
@linbur0100 thank you. I am hoping that people start to see that helping others is not something we can do as a quick fix. We might have the right intentions, but without the right plan, the right intentions can lead to more mistakes
@Goyo This is a very well put argument about a touch topic. I admire your willingness to discuss it openly, especially considering that many would wrongly jump to the same conclusions as the girl in your example. I agree completely that affirmative action is a policy with its heart in the right place but its practice is broken and becoming more so every day... Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
@goyo, yes we certainly have to take time to think about it, and by "we", I mean, "we the people".
Two thoughts about this: First of all, lets not forget that until not long ago it was much more clear who is discriminating who. It was more or less white Anglo Saxon protestant men at the top and the rest of us struggling somewhere below. So perhaps in the aftermath of hundreds of years of injustice, in the scale of the apartheid in South Africa, affirmative action is sometimes needed. I agree tough, that on the other hand a very short sighted policy and certainly not enough to really change anything in the long run. Secondly, the two measures that you referred to in your post, take a long time to have an effect. So applying them for the long run, requires allot of commitment, which means that they can only grow from the bottom up. Look what happens when the US has its first black president. Does it really change much? I don't think so. People just have to stop waiting for someone to come and let them into the play, and just start taking part.
@orenshani7 But we need to start building to something that is sustainable and worthwhile. What people keep trying to do is find quick solutions that will save them for the time being, thus creating other problems that we need to solve later. As for your first point, it does make sense as to why people want to aid the long oppressed. I am not saying it is wrong, but I am saying that we need to help them correctly, while not punishing other innocents. What did a poor white child or a poor asian child do to deserve being told that he/she cannot enter the school of their choice because we have too many of you already? I hope we do take time to think and do what is needed and right. It is time we stop looking for knee-jerk solutions that are incomplete.