On Monday, June 23, 2003, the US Supreme Court ruled: sort of in favor of Affirmative Action – but sort of against it as well. Sounds like the Canadian Supreme Court in the way they rule on important social issues.
For those who might not fully understand what Affirmative Action is.
Affirmative Action was created to protect visible minority groups from being refused places within universities and in the job market.
A “quota” system was developed more than 30 years ago, which forced schools, government agencies and companies that did business with the government, or which received funds from the government, or which were licensed by the government to hire a minimum amount of visual minorities to the workforce or student population.
In essence; this law forbade discriminatory hiring and admission practices against visible minorities, while setting in motion reverse discrimination against Whites.
As it stands today, there are those who argue that Affirmative Action has now become a major source of discrimination against the White Majority. I agree.
There was a time when racially motivated coercion in the USA was necessary to level the racial playing field, and kick-start fair hiring and admission practices for visible minorities. Especially when many within the minority groups had merit.
The positive results of Affirmative Action are undeniable.
That said: one has to ask this question. What happens when a White person shows up for a job or university enrollment, and is INFINITELY superior to all the other candidates who come from non-white groups, and the White candidate is DENIED access because he/she happens to be White, and the non White quota must be filled? Where is the fairness in that?
Isn’t denying a White person his or her fair opportunity, just as wrong as denying a person who is not White the same?
There is no shortage of extremely successful Black Americans. Two of whom jump instantly to mind are Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. This more than proves to me that a person of “color” can make to the very top in the USA.
Rice and Powell are not amongst the most influential and powerful top 5 people in all of the USA, and possibly the world because of Affirmative Action. They are where they are Because they are amongst the best at what the know and what they do.
Affirmative Action might have given them the opportunity to get into University, since they are both of the right age, however; it is their intelligence, drive and merit that brought them beyond.
The circumstances in the year 2003 are nothing like the circumstances in the year 1965 when Affirmative Action first came into being under Lyndon B Johnson.
Black, Asian, Oriental and American Indians are fully accepted as equal members of society. And in many cases, members of some communities, such as; the Chinese and Indians from Asia have a much greater propensity to excel in certain endeavors than many White Americans.
There will always be racism in the world. And it is incumbent upon all of us to do whatever we can to combat racism. But; changing one form of racism for another is not the answer.
When Halle Berry won her Oscar for Best Actress two years ago, she made this enormous deal about feeling emancipated. She didn’t just graciously accept the Oscar as her reward for a job well done. She accepted it on the behalf of all the Black women actors who have been denied, as she claimed, because of their skin color.
Denzel Washington also won his Oscar that same year for Best Actor. And he too made the same claim.
Before the Awards winners were chosen, both of these Black actors campaigned long and loud at how racist the Academy Awards were, because so few Black actors win the big prize. Best Actor.
This common charge by Berry and Washington was rubbish. What the two of them succeeded in doing by invoking the race claim to a very Liberal group, was to so intimidate the judges on the selection committee, that the two actors who really should have won (Russel Crowe and Nicole Kidman) didn’t.
It is a pity that just one male actor and just one female actor are each chosen for BEST. But that’s the way it is. And that’s the way it is whether the actors are White or Black.
And it is usually the dramatic roles which win. Black actors are far more predisposed to act in comedies and action thrillers. And these categories rarely ever win. Regardless of the skin color of the actors.
What has made America a GREAT nation, perhaps the greatest ever, has been MERIT. The cream always rises to the top. And denying anyone access or success based upon their skin color is anathema to what has makes America great.
If the White community ever decided to hold a White Actors’ award program, or a Best White Singers’ award program, there would be violence in the streets. There would be riots, boycotts and no shortage of indignation from the White community for such a racist concept.
Yet; Black Americans do just that. There are Back Music Awards. Black Actor Awards. And so on. There is not a peep.
Should there be a White Affirmative Action policy vis a vis professional sports, since so many of the teams are overwhelmingly staffed with Black players. Especially in Basketball and football? What about all the White players who want to play?
No one in his or her right mind would ever expect a professional sports franchise to hire a second rate athlete when a first rate athlete is available. REGARDLESS the skin color.
What if I wanted to enter a University that was predominantly Black, as there are many in the USA; but I didn’t have the marks? However; in the interest of racial diversity, I demand to be admitted through White Affirmative Action; would it wash?
In today’s world, everyone with half a brain is scrambling to admit the best to their schools, and to hire the best to their companies, regardless of skin color. Therefore; the concept that certain members within society should be moved to the head of the line based upon skin color, opposed to their capacity to succeed is patently unfair and unnecessary.
Judge Clarence Thomas, the only Black American to currently be sitting on the Bench of the US Supreme Court, ruled against Affirmative Action. He believes that merit must be the only deciding factor. He should know.
Replacing one form of discrimination with another is not the answer to fairness and the pursuit of justice and excellence. It is simply wrong.