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The Right Kind Of Affirmative Action
I find race-based affirmative action deplorable, racist, and insulting to people I know who are accomplished and smart but happen to have dark skin -- and unfair to those who don't, but lack the economic means of, say, suburban blacks...for example, a smart, achieving, black guy I went to high school with, with a career as a newscaster in a major market, who no more needed "minority" programs than I did. (In fact, his family was probably financially better off than mine.) Finally, it seems like the right kind of college assistance might be around the corner -- that based on economic need, not skin color. Here's an excerpt from a piece by David Leonhardt in The New York Times:

Like Virginia, a handful of other colleges are not only increasing financial aid but also promising to give weight to economic class in granting admissions. With several populous states having already banned race-based preferences and the U.S. Supreme Court suggesting that it may outlaw such programs in a couple of decades, the future of affirmative action may well revolve around economics. But now, on average, high-income students get slightly more financial aid from colleges than low-income students.

Sure, minorities are still discriminated against. But, you know, many people are -- because they didn't go to Yale, or they're ugly, or for any number of reasons. That's life. The way I see it, if you can't get in one door, you build one of your own. I know, that thinking is so lacking in coddling. But maybe if more people were self-helping instead of expecting the govern-nanny to be there at every turn, they might actually get further.

Posted by aalkon at May 25, 2005 8:28 AM

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Working at a private college that gives weight to ethnic status as well as financial status when giving admission/financial aid, I will say that there is more to the story.

Affirmitive action isn't meant to be forever. People base their goals and expectations on what they think is possible. Though slavery has been over for a very long time, only now are we seeing significant numbers of black men and women crack the middle class, and hold public positions of prominence. There are poor people of every race color and creed. The injustice that affirmative action trys to combat is the lack of hope/belief that there is another option.

Additionally, black people are more likely demographically to be poor, to live in one family homes, and to go to sub-standard schools. Without affirmative action, it would currently be impossible to hit the diversity levels on college campus which are sought (and it really does add something to a campus to have all kinds of diversity - racial, social, political and geographic)

Hopefully, in another 20 - 50 years, we can do away with affirmative action, and just give aid by financial need, because there be a similar financial and social demographic between blacks, hispanics and whites. We aren't there yet....

Arin (who is neither a bleeding heart not eligible for said affirmative action)

Posted by: arin at May 25, 2005 4:45 AM

the "one family homes" above was supposed to be "one parent homes" - I need coffee.

Posted by: arin at May 25, 2005 4:47 AM

Well, one thing I'll say against affirmative action: if it were for race-based affirmative action, we never would have heard of Clarence Thomas. I think that fact alone is a compelling argument against it. It's always intriguing to hear those who are perhaps the greatest beneficiaries of affirmative action speak so loudly against it.

Posted by: Patrick, the Goddess Fan at May 25, 2005 5:31 AM

Just some suggestions:

Read "The Possessive Investment in Whiteness" by George Lipsitz.
Then read "Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Dr. Peggy McIntosh.
Realize that financial equality is not the same as racial equality- Judging by my university you can't tell who's rich by clothes- but you can sure as hell tell who's a person of Color.
I go to a university that is 6% black, 10% latino, 58% white, and 20% Asian. The rest are filed under 'other'. The only reason the school has to put this on the website is because we stopped that stupid ass Ward Connelly from allowing universities to pretend the numbers mean nothing.
Now you point to your black friend not needing Affirmative Action. Have you ever talked to him about it? Do you know that Affirmative Action aided white women over all the minorities it helped combined?
Oh, and I want you to look up something called "The Grandfather Clause". It gave white males 100 years to benefit- they could continue nepitism, racism, sexism, and profit, but then promised that they would then allow 100 years for Affirmative Action which was meant to counter the negative aspects of the clause for later generations. I think they gave it 3.
Lastly, 'reverse racism' is a b.s. term because racism is an institutionalized white oppression. It's like accusing people of Color of "segregating themselves" it's just stupid.

Amy I love your advice on love. But as a history major, I'm just going to have to ignore you about this. You are speaking by conjecture and without even half the facts. And racism is a far bigger issue then love so pick your battles.

Posted by: Lia at May 26, 2005 1:03 AM

> if it were for race-based affirmative action,
> we never would have heard of Clarence Thomas.

So what you're saying is, 'darkies be acting up again'? But 'they be inauthentic'?

You have a point: It's terribly convenient for all the TV assignment editors out there to call a single phome number from their rolodex (Jackson, J.) for a sound bite when some sort of ethical issue comes to the fore.

Convenient, but not illuminating.

Posted by: Crid at May 27, 2005 7:13 PM

Crid, sense of humor. Look it up. And maybe examine that the reason Jackson is the only one called, is because he's the only one white media conglomerates will acknowledge. I could name 10 that they would be afraid to put on the air and they marched with MLK too. But it would be harder to control what they say.

Posted by: Lia at June 8, 2005 3:34 AM

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