Are opponents of affirmative action really widely portrayed as racists?

In this thread,
John Corrado makes the following statement:

My question is: Is there really any truth to this, i.e., are opponents of affirmative action widely portrayed by politicians and the media as being racist? Personally, I think not. Not that you won’t find a few people who do that, just as you will find a few opponents of affirmative action who are in fact racist. But, I think in both cases you are talking about a very small minority.

By the way, in my opinion suggesting that people are somewhat naive about (and maybe even insensitive to) the ways in which minorities have been affected, and are still affected, by discrimination does not constitute nearly the same thing as claiming that they are racist.

I cannot state anything ragarding the statistical percentage of people who view being anti-affirmative action as racist or otherwise bigotted, but I can state that I’ve felt the same slander used against me from people IRL. :shrug:

That’s all I have to add right now, which admittedly isn’t much.

No, all of the opposers are not racists but they might be portrayed as insensitives, or stupid.

I lived in America from 1995 to 1999 and at that time it was still taboo to openly say you were opposed to affirmative action. I don’t know whether it would have led to accusations of racism or mere stupidity, but it wasn’t the done thing.

“Widely portrayed” as racists? I don’t think so.

There is certainly a group of people (often linked to organizations promoting “racial justice”) who will take even the mildest example of objection to the most egregious example of racial favoritism and scream racism.

There is also a group (drawn from a wider, and less easily categorized base) that has been running around screaming “Reverse racism”* for even the least offensive attempts to do some sort of non-quota-based affirmative action.

Between those extremes, there are a lot of people with different views. My guess would be that national TV news is slightly more likely to portray opponents to affirmative action in a bad light, but for all news media, (national and local, TV, radio, internet, and print), the primary issue is “How do we sensationalize the story to get an audience?” So any given news outlet on any given day may portray either affirmative action or opposition to it as “bad”, depending on how they find it easiest to spin the story.

There are probably areas in the country where opposition to affirmative action is more or less frequently condemned, but taking the U.S. as a whole, I doubt that the question in the OP can be answered with an unqualified “Yes.”

I do not recall any occasion when I have seen “the media” portray Charles Krauthammer, William F. Buckley Jr., William Safire, or even Matt Drudge (to say nothing of their hundreds of similarly minded fellow pundits) as racist. They speak out against affirmative action on a regular basis, suffering insults only from the likes of Al Sharpton.
*It has been fun watching the same phiilosophical group start out by coining “reverse racism” to mean discrimination against the majority, then turn around and complain that "There is no ‘reverse’ racism; it is all just racism.’ as if someone else had coined the term in the first place. I agree that racism goes both directions, but the hoopla over the phrase “reverse racism” has been an argument pretty much limited to one side of the discussion.

The question is how widely they’re so portrayed.

E.g., try putting “clarence thomas uncle tom” into google and you get 14,200 matches, the first of which includes

Of course, the overwhelming number of those are hits on one or more of the individual four words with no connection to the justice. In fact, within the first 80 hits, there are already nearly a dozen sites that are simply genealogy sites, and over 50 of the first 80 hits are multiple sites quoting the same two or three sources.

So, we’re still left wondering how “widely” the connection is made.

I think it was true 10 years ago that “anyone against affirmative action was labeled a racist,” but I don’t think it’s true anymore. Many “average Americans” have realized that affirmative action is itself a form of racism, and (even worse) hurts more people than it helps.

Quotas may hurt. Affirmative Action in its several other forms does not.

I wouldn’t say it necessarily hurts more than it helps, but don’t you think it allows people to avoid tackling the problem at its root? I’m not American so I don’t really know much about this, but I feel that it’s a superficial solution, and that it helps a lot of people who don’t have a justifiable need for it, while failing to help many who do… just an opinion based on my observations in the U.S.

I’m thinking about Senator Robert Byrd who stupidly used the n-word on TV several months ago. (the phrase he used was “white n*****s”) He could have been demonized, particularly since he was a KKK member many, many years ago. However, nobody called him a “racist,” probably because he’s an AA supporter and a Democrat. I think a Republican or an opponent of AA would have been blasted for that comment.

BTW I agree with the non-demonizers; I have no reason to believe that Byrd’s a racist today.

my daughter wants to go to UCLA (for some reason). I told her she couldn’t get in because of the color of her skin. the policy sounds pretty racist to me.

Why can’t she get in because of the colour of her skin?

Minor topical hijack…

You’re correct; a Republican would have been burned at the stake.

It is a fact that Republicans are held to a higher standard by everyone – even Democrats. If you’re a Democrat, you can be a liar, cheater, womanizer, communist, thief, etc. There is virtually no character flaw a Democrat could have that would raise an eyebrow with anyone, because there is no moral or ethical standard for being a Democrat. While I would not claim all Republicans are Jesus-in-the-flesh, at least there is some standard applied to them.

UCLA has quotas on how many whites they can admit.

I don’t believe that UCLA can have a formal quota on how many whites to let in. The UC schools no longer use race as a criteria for admissions. When this policy was announced it was definitely attacked as racist.

Crafter_Man: *It is a fact that Republicans are held to a higher standard by everyone – even Democrats. If you’re a Democrat, you can be a liar, cheater, womanizer, communist, thief, etc. There is virtually no character flaw a Democrat could have that would raise an eyebrow with anyone, because there is no moral or ethical standard for being a Democrat. While I would not claim all Republicans are Jesus-in-the-flesh, at least there is some standard applied to them. *

Hmmm, I think we really need a cite for that. There have been plenty of high-ranking Republicans (Newt Gingrich and John Tower are two that I can think of off the top of my head) who have been guilty of various ethics violations, or even indicted on criminal charges. If there is indeed some kind of “moral or ethical standard” for being a Republican, it looks like the bar is set pretty low.

Now it may be true that Democrats tend to be less concerned about the personal moral lives of elected officials—e.g., as a voter I don’t really feel it’s any of my business if my Congressman reads porn, has an affair, is rude to his mother, etc. etc., whereas a number of conservatives consider that these are legitimate issues of character that should be taken into account in choosing a public servant. That’s another debate. But I don’t think you’re correct in saying that Democrats are held less accountable than Republicans for the professional and legal ethics of their conduct. It certainly doesn’t seem so from the records of actual Democratic and Republican politicians.

By the way, the chief reason for calling Prop. 209 (the legislation banning any governmental affirmative action policies in California) “racist” was that it explicitly singles out race (and gender) as a category in which any type of preference policies are forbidden. As one of the dissenting Ninth Circuit Court justices wrote,

So the argument that such anti-affirmative action policies were “racist” was not because they merely didn’t give preferential treatment to racial minorites, but because they explicitly targeted race as a category (unlike most other demographic categories) where preferential policies could not even be considered, in any way or for any reason. Other groups, however, could still seek preferential policies where they felt it was necessary or desirable. To the extent that, as Judge Norris claimed, this denies to racial minorities some benefits of representative government that aren’t denied to other minority groups, it might be considered racist.

It’s my understanding that some forms of affirmative action include lower requirements for certain minority groups on some tests/admission standards. I’m very opposed to this. It’s insulting to the people it’s supposed to help. It’s essentially saying that “we don’t think you can do as well as whites, so you don’t have to in order to be provided the same opportunities.”

Two incidents come to mind…

  1. Bill Clinton admitted to trying marijuana once in college. He ends up getting lynched by the Republicans as a result.
    George W. Bush steadfastly refuses to address allegations he had a past cocaine addiction. The Republicans are suspiciously silent.

  2. Bill Clinton admitted he did not serve in Vietnam. He ends up being tarred a “draft dodger” by the Republicans as a result.
    George W. Bush refuses to release his military records, or to address charges he was AWOL from service from 1972-1973. The Republicans are suspiciously silent.

Dunno about anyone else, but I also wonder where Crafter_Man gets his allegations from. Maybe he figures stonewalling is better than honesty, eh?

I would guess that almost all (I haven’t found an exception, but I’m sure there is one) racists are against affirmative action, but not everyone who is against affirmative action is a racist.

A conversation with someone who is against AA would definitely raise a red flag on my personal racist scale, but I’d dig deeper before making a final judgment call.