2005-09-15

Affirmative Action

Opponents of AA certainly overstate the damage done to the people who
don't qualify for AA. For example, at an elite university like UM-AA,
several thousand whites get rejected who would have been accepted if
they were black. However, in rejecting those several thousand whites,
only a few hundred blacks got accepted. The rejected whites are
correct that, "I would have been accepted if I were black." However,
if AA were eliminated, only the best few hundred of the several
thousand rejected whites would have been accepted.

A similar fact works at big companies like Ford. There are not huge
numbers of black professionals working at Ford. Eliminating AA at Ford
would not create a huge vacuum of open positions for whites.

On the other hand, proponents of AA just as drastically overstate the
benefits to AA-qualifying groups, and understate drawbacks.

As stated above, in this age of AA, there remain drastic
underrepresentation of blacks at big companies and elite universities.
So AA has certainly not solved the problem of underrepresentation.
Meanwhile, several other non-white groups have succeeded in
drastically getting themselves *over*represented at these
institutions, and they have done this *WITHOUT* AA!

This fact proves both that white racism is not stopping non-whites
from accessing and flourishing at these institutions, and that AA is
unneccessary for this to happen. Furthermore, since non-AA minorities
are doing so much better than AA minorities (in many measures, the non-
AA minorities are doing even better than whites!), this strongly
suggests that AA actually *hurts* those that it targets!

There is also the stigma associated with qualifying for AA, and the
studies showing that minorities at elite universities who get in due
to AA have much lower GPAs and graduation rates than their fellows who
had qualifications that would got them accepted without AA. Also: at
the elite schools where AA is an important tool, the majority of
blacks getting in are from very affluent families. Is it really
important to have a huge program just so Bill Cosby's kids don't have
to study as hard as his neighbor's kids for the SAT?

AA has become a big government program, and like all big government
programs, it causes more problems than it solves. Most of the
beneficiaries are white women, and white men who have "rent-a-negros"
fronting for them. A famous example would be the special AA
accomidations that enabled black Detroiter Don Bardon to get ownership
of Compcast, which he then quickly sold at a huge profit to a white
company. OK, so Don Bardon got to own Comcast for a year and make a
few hundren million bucks. That doesn't seem to be a good use of
government hand-wrangling.

For these reasons, I have taken my hero Frederick Douglas'
postion: "What shall we do for the negro? Nothing! It is the doing
that has caused all the michief. If the negro cannot stand, let him
fall." Douglas believed, as I do, that blacks will succeed better if
there is not a huge government mechanism that lables them as
handicapped and provides them special treatment.

4 comments:

Nadir said...

Jerry said:

Before AA there were no black engineers or designers at Ford. If you go to Ford of England where there is still no AA the engineers and designers are still all white males at Ford. Before AA blacks were not admitted in any trade unions. I'll be 60 years old Fed. '06 and I lived this. This is not something I heard or read about. Fredrick Douglas said do nothing to the Negro, instead he was lynched and discriminated against. And if the government had not stepped in the same would be happening today. Your words are just the excuses being used by the right wing to justify the doing away with anything that may bring some parity. The same thing happed to bussing. I'm suuprised they havn't called for bringing back "separate but equal". JB

Nadir says: Jerry's right.

Christina Martin said...

You express the point very well, and with a fairly even hand.

I would add to your point that the problem lies not at the point of hiring, but at the point of qualifying. If people in minority and low-income neighborhoods had the same access to education and the primary and secondary level that their higher-income peers have, affirmative action would be much less necessary... and not because it would reduce racism, but because it would reduce the differential in qualifications.

I think we need to be looking at ways to let educational competition and choice increase qualifications, rather than continuing to encourage different different qualifications between races and income levels.

The Juice said...

Thanks Nadir for holding down the Blog thing for me. Many so-called "white do-gooders" say we need something better than AA. I say do not "throw out the baby with the bath water", make revisions where necessary but as long as there is one hate group wedsite we need some kind of AA. Regards, JB

Paul Hue said...

Juice: Plenty of "white do-gooders" support AA. I used to be one of those honkies. Now I'm a different honkey. Now I'm a honke that realizes the following facts:

1) Two groups of non-whites, Blacks and "Hispanics", lag behind whites in many important indicators of prosperity, such as professional jobs at Ford (and fraction of population with college degree, average income, home ownership, wealth, etc.).

2) Other non-white groups -- such as immigrants from China, India, Arabia, etc. -- outperform not only blacks, but **WHITES** in these same indicators.

3) One difference between the Lagging non-honkies (blacks and Hispanics) and Leading non-honkies (Chinese, Indians, Arabs) is that the Laggers qualify for AA and the Leaders **DO NOT**.

We can even throw in American-Indians, at least the ones who live on federal reservations. They get even more special federal compensation than blacks and Hispanics, and are doing even worse.

As my hero Frederick Douglas said: "What shall we do with the negro? Nothing! It is the doing that has caused all the mischiefe. If the negro cannot stand on his own, let him fall."

Like Douglas (who educated himself without any government assistance), I think that the negro will stand as tall as everyone else once he stops getting tagged with a pathetic label.