Beyond THE FUTURE: Affirmative Action on the Chopping Block
I continue to disagree with the argument that widespread support for a person of color for president proves racism no longer exists in our country; the argument that widespread support of a women for president proves sexism no longer exists in our country is just as ludicrous.
As Babington notes: “Affirmative Action, a term coined in the early 1960s, is a loosely defined set of policies meant to help rectify discrimination based on race, religion, sex or national origin.” Why such policies should continue to be dismantled when so many Americans battle prejudice based on their race, religion, gender, and/or national origin on a daily basis baffles me.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Affirmative Action policies have been under attack, and it won’t be the last. Read Babington’s informative article for more details on that, and please consider these remarks by two people who believe in the dire need to address the underlying problems faced by people of color in our country long before they’re of age to benefit from Affirmative Action initiatives:
According to Babington, Abigail Thernstrom—a Manhattan Institute senior fellow and vice chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights—asserts that “disparities between blacks and whites in areas such as income, education achievement, health care and incarceration rates” are rooted “in complex, deep-seated factors that put many minority children behind their peers as early as kindergarten.”
Barack Obama agrees: “Affirmative action is an important tool, although a limited tool,” he told National Public Radio last year.
“I say limited simply because a large portion of our young people right now never even benefit from Affirmative Action because they’re not graduating from high school,” he said. “And unless we do a better job with early childhood education, fixing crumbling schools, investing to make sure that we've got an excellent teacher in front of every classroom, and then making college affordable, we’re not even going to reach the point where our children can benefit from Affirmative Action.”
While such statements remind us that Affirmative Action is generally regarded as benefiting people of color, please keep in mind the many women, immigrants, and other hard-working Americans who also continue to struggle for equal opportunity. Affirmative Action policies originally were intended to help many; I find it hard to understand why some believe these policies ought to be dismantled rather than enhanced.
Affirmative Action artwork from African American Policy Forum’s Focus on Affirmative Action series “13 Myths About Affirmative Action”