Editor’s Note: This piece is a contribution by writer Marge Thompson. The purpose of it is to get a conversation going about Affirmative Action and what it means in this era. If any writer wants to respond to this in full, please contact me so I can run your counter piece. We are doing a little “Opposing Sides” thing here this week at Polite On Society. -M.P.
Oh boy, you’re going to hate me. When the term “affirmative action” was thrown around I knew that I need to to cover this topic. Of course, no sooner that I decided to choose this topic did I see several articles out about this. It’s hot again.
“So, you bigot, what’s your problem with giving minorities a break? What do you have against helping the less fortunate?” My answer to that is absolutely nothing. I’m a child of the 80’s. I believe in equality for everyone. We should all have the same opportunities. That being said, affirmative action is far from equality. To me, it holds a two-fold problem. Those problems are multi layered. The first problem is that it doesn’t create equality. Instead it allows others to skip the line. In this day and age, we’re all struggling to survive. High schoolers are bombarded with essays, and exams, all to get a place in the best universities. New college graduates are lucky if someone will even look at their resumes (trust me. I know from personal experience). There is no longer a playing field. Rather, it’s something that resembles a roller coaster.
Many have made serious sacrifices just to earn a degree (again, personal experience). Affirmative action is one of those policies that creates the notion that no matter how hard you work, you’re going to lose your spot if you’re not the right color. Is that not the exact definition of racism? There was a time when minorities worked hard, and no matter how hard they worked, they were not the right color. Now, as payback, we’re promoting the same bigotry unto others. What are we teaching the younger generations? Affirmative action had a place when it was first introduced. It was a noble attempt to incorporate diversity as the new normal. In this day and age however, we value diversity over quality. I don’t know about you, but I’ll choose the most qualified doctor, no matter what color, over the doctor who got the position simply because a quota needed to be filled.