Affirmative action–a contentious issue in colleges and workplaces, argued by many as a remedy for past oppression and a chance at equal opportunity. Affirmative action achieves none
of these grandiose social engineering schemes, but rather deepens the racial divide betweens whites and blacks and degrades merit-based achievement. You may ask why an upper-middle class, white male should care or why I should be justified in my argument at all? The answer? I am directly discriminated against by these policies and believe that it is time for the record to be set straight and for affirmative action to be laid to rest in the company of other discriminatory policies
African Americans, by de jure and de facto laws, have been discriminated against, enslaved and denied suffrage because of their race. Today only a small fringe of people would deny rights to African Americans. Some of those African Americans and others believe that they merit reparations for past discrimination and believe that affirmative action will alleviate those past sufferings acting as a reparation. While I certainly believe those past injustices deserve acknowledgement, it does not warrant such a drastic and regulatory action on behalf of government. For example, after WWII the Allied powers gave Palestine to the Jews as a reparation, which in turn forced many of the occupants out to make way for the new Jewish settlers. While you may agree or disagree with that action, you cannot deny that reparations in whatever form they are in, do not cure the previous injustice; rather it creates a state of discontent among those who pay for the reparation. In the case of affirmative action, white people pay the price of reparations.
Supporters of affirmative action insist that affirmative action will promote equality of opportunity. Conversely, this attempt at “equality of opportunity” creates an aura that African Americans need a level playing field, because for some reason, they cannot achieve higher than whites without aid from an equalizer–affirmative action. It seems to me that adherents of affirmative action do not think that African Americans possess capabilities equal to whites. Of course, this is nonsense. African Americans possess the same, if not at times superior, capabilities, such as intelligence, grades, test score. The fact that African Americans would need mandated help seems degrading, and would probably make some African Americans feel like they need the extra boost, because without it, they are disadvantaged. While “equality of opportunity” connotes equality, the opposite is true; some gain an advantage as a result of their race. That is not equality. Not at all.
While affirmative action has no intent to damage race relations, the impact of affirmative action does. While most of the time, that may not be true, the very fact that such a notion could exist inherently damages future racial discussion, and plants that seed of suspicion among people. Some whites planted with that dangerous seed may think, probably wrongly, that an African American at their workplace only holds their job because of their race. Also, if an African American got a job that a white didn’t, that white person may feel resentment towards that African American even if the he was more qualified in the first place. We must not let such beliefs dominate our dialogue in discussions about race. Affirmative action accelerates this dogma, which, again, is not the intention, but the unintended result.
When race becomes a criterion the value of merit achievement degrades, and therefore the meaning of the job or position decreases as well. For instance, the NBA is overwhelming proportionally African American. Should affirmative action be applied in the NBA? No, to participate in the NBA requires talent, skill, ability, and to degrade those qualities in the name of race would therefore demean the NBA itself. Same for getting job, which requires skill, experience, communication. If a person was chosen off the basis of race, those qualities would be less meaningful. To insert race into merit-based institutions denigrates that institution, through affirmative action.
Affirmative action, despite its well-meant intentions, creates a society where race dominates the social scene and becomes the new litmus test for various institutions. If affirmative action remains in existence, it will perpetrate further suspicion and will continue, literally, to divide America into black and white.
Nonetheless, proponents of affirmative action insist that is beneficial for our schools, and workplace. Lets stand up, and stand our ground against affirmative action, and eliminate it in our society. That is the right thing to do.