Is Affirmative Action Still Needed?

Are the current U.S. Affirmative Action laws in place to prevent discrimination against visible minorities and/or women, or are they still there as a continuing effort to make up for past transgressions? Is there a reluctance to have the laws repealed by politicians for fear of losing the votes of minority groups?

I can’t believe that there is still such widespread racism and bigotry that these laws are still necessary. When will hiring decisions be able to be based on ability to do a job?

I personally believe that they promote racisim. Why should a company hire someone because of their race? Would it not make sence to hire some one because of their qualifications? Regardless of their race.

And lets say that more ‘Asians’ are hired for a spesific task becuase they happened to be qualified, then to bad for the rest of those that applied…it’s not a racial thing…but more of a case of “Can you do the job or not…”


Can you provide a citation to an “affirmative action” law to which you object?

BTW, we discuss this pretty regularly, here. The most recent episode was at Does anyone actually support Affirmative Action?

If there is to be Affirmative Action it should not be based solely on race.

For example, to say than an African-American is somehow disadvantaged because he is African-American is flat-out racism. An upper-middle class African-American who went to a fine public school is somehow inferior to his white classmates?

Now, if Affirmative Action is designed to correct socio-economic disadvantages, then I see nothing wrong with it. This does nothing to change the truly disadvantaged (e.g the inner city youth). This means that rural whites from West Virginia (to pick a state at random) receive preferences over upper-middle class African-Americans from Stamford, Connnecticut.

Of course, this will never work. The GOP is opposed to all types of Affirmative Action and the Democrats lack the vision and strength to consider anything other than Affirmative Action for certain ethnic minorities.

Affirmative action is an extremely ambigious term. Some types are:

Quotas: A company has to have personnel who’s race/religion/whatever are close to the percentages in that area. Not only are these wrong, they are extremely illegal. Quotas are bad.

Standards shifting: For example, some colleges, in order to be able to accept more black students, will slightly lower their admissions standards if you are black. These are wrong, IMO, but not illegal, AFAIK.

Outreach programs: corps, schools, etc. focus resources into recruiting minorities for jobs/positions. These are almost always voluntary, and are a good thing, IMO, as long as standards shifting is not involved.

I’m not aware of any federal legislation that required any companies to do this, though there may be regulations for federal agencies.

The various Civil Rights acts prevent anyone from hiring based solely on race/whatever.

My idea exactly, HAL9000!

I got into college on a full “minority” scholarship because I have some Mexican blood flowing through my veins and I can legally claim the status of Hispanic. I was glad to receive it at the time, but looking back I feel that the money was wasted because my parents were willing and able to pay my way through college. It should have gone to the kid who couldn’t afford to get into college, regardless of race.

I think it’s become almost blasphemous for liberals, myself included, to denounce affirmative action. If you don’t like it, some will say, you must be a latent racist intent on maintaining the white male-dominated status quo. The truth is, I just want what’s fair. We should take the identity politics out of affirmative action and base it only on economic status. The new affirmative action would help minorities just as much if not more than the current system because blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately represented in the lower classes and would receive a larger share of the benefits (at least until that racial disparity no longer exists). And we wouldn’t be giving preferential treatment to those who don’t need it.


Well, if it’s true, why is that racism?

You may be open minded, but the majority of corporate America is not and that white guy with slightly less qualifications will get the job that the black guy with slightly higher qualifications applied for. I know… the Civil Rights Act should protect them, but how do you know a decision was based on race?

My biggest support for AA is in contracts, where, historically, the white-male-owned companies get the majority of all contracts, even federal, state and local government contracts. So in an effort to stop the favoritism (always backed by experience that the minority firms couldn’t get because of racial and sexual injustices) there are requirements for percentages of minority participation. Until the day that minority firms get the experience to compete on par with the long-existing white male owned firms, these AA plans are a necessity.

Those of you who think you are so open minded when it comes to racism…

Would you have a problem, assuming you lived in a suburban area with 100% caucasian population, if a black family moved next door? If a black child started attending your child’s high school? No, those are pretty easy …
Would you move to an all black community? Would you send your white child to an all-black high school? Making a big assumption here, but I would venture to say that most people, even the most open will answer no to the later questions.

I’ve refrained from saying anything much in these threads before, but to the contention that racism isn’t around much anymore, my own personal experiences:

  • Being called a ‘towelhead’ while driving along on the highway. Didn’t even know what that meant at the time, 'till I figured out that the people who directed it at me thought I was Indian from India.

  • Having been stopped three times that I can remember on suspicion by the police, solely because of the way I looked at the time of the stops.

  • Being as how I can pass for white as well, I get to sit in and listen on whites talking to whites about minorities. Enlightening, to say the least.

  • Having a next door neighbor apologize (apologize!) to my wife for selling his house to a black family.

These are only the things I can remember. It makes me laugh no end to hear & see whites contend that racism is moot at this point. Wake up and smell the epithets.

It would be equally elightening for a white to pass as black and live in a predominently black culture, no?

Sounds like more education is needed across the board. We’ve got a long way to go yet.

Oh Gee, one of my favorites.

How about when you can’t find a qualified contractor that fills all the qualifications, unless you’re willing to shell out 20% more in taxpayer money at the least? It’s happened here in Jackson. One company managed to squeak in by hiring a 100% black subcontracting company, but it pushed his bid up by 20%. This was over the leading contractor, who fell a few percentage points short of the quota but could do the project for cheaper than the City wanted anyway. So they went to court, and everyone argued for awhile. I don’t know what the outcome was, but Company A went bankrupt, Company B dissolved, and the project sits there because the city wouldn’t relax it’s requrements by just 2% minority participation, from 15% to 13%.

It’s harder than you think to fill some of those requirements. Say, impossible?


While your point is taken, none of those incidents of racism would be addressed at all by Affirmative Action programs. Private racism is never, ever going away. So long as there are identifiably different groups of people, racism will be around, and I don’t think anybody is trying to sell any ideas to the contrary. The pertinent question to ask seems to me to be, “Does AA do more good than harm?” It absolutely does contribute to anit-minority sentiment. It absolutely does benefit minorities. Evaluating and balancing those two truths against one another is where the heart of the argument lies.

I also resent the implication that it’s always the WHITES who are racist.

Well, it is certaily true that Louis F and his buddies are racist and Sharpton, if not actually racist, is more than willing to stir up racial hatred in an attempt to garner power for himself.

On the other hand, you’d be hard pressed to find whites being denied jobs or housing by black bosses, landlords, or real estate agents because they are white. No black-owned banks have ever been accused of refusing to loan money to whites or staggering their rates to take unfair advantage of whites. No white has been denied admission to a member of the Negro College association because they were white.

Anyone can hate anyone else. The issue of AA is the redress of power, not to make us love one another.

>>Would you move to an all black community? Would you send your white child to an all-black high school? Making a big assumption here, but I would venture to say that most people, even the most open will answer no to the later questions. <<

Actually I bought a house in a predominantly black neighborhood five years ago. I live in a very diverse community in Denver, and presumably the liberal (no pun intended) sprinkling of white families who own homes around here don’t have a problem with it. I like it. Its neighborly and people know each other, probably because there are alot of kids and we don’t drive in & out of our houses through the garage. If I had kids I probably would prefer that they not go to an ALL black school. I wouldn’t want them to go to an ALL thin school, ALL Catholic school, ALL Greek Orthodox school, or ALL popular white kids’ school, either. BTW, I’m sort of beige & pink, but I was born this way & can’t help it.

Back to the OP, I don’t think there is a reason for Affirmative Action in any of it’s guises any more. I am a “minority” (female owner of a construction business) and for the 21 years I’ve done this have always found it insulting & demeaning that anyone should offer me an edge because I’m disadvantaged. Piss on that. Of course racism and bigotry exist. Will race norming or whatever fix that? I don’t think so.