Why risk harm to the collective pursuit of equality through implementation of policies so
clearly indicative of a glaring double-standard? The correction of discrimination through the
mechanism of reverse-discrimination can lay no claim to solution…Right? Is not the minority
candidate the beneficiary of an artificial intervention gained at the expense of ‘equal
opportunity’ for a person of ‘majority’?
Most would agree that both the notion and the policies of 'Affirmative Action'
are shrouded in controversy. This is how it should be, and how it will always
be if to remain effective..
This individual was assisted by Affirmative Action to attend college or secure a
competitive job and is seen by some as the beneficiary of unjust and artificial supports.
Still others may suggest she functions as an insult to the minority candidate who
achieves success without apparent outside support. Regardless, she now must carry the
burden of knowing many will view such status as a product not fully earned and she will
likely question herself relative to the proportion of success she can claim as truly hers.
It will be a sentiment sensed as pervasive yet it will rarely surface to be seen and it will be
difficult, if not immune, to effective measures.
As a contested social policy, perhaps the issue of
legitimacy, both real and perceived, lies in the answer to
an 'age-old' question…do beliefs change actions or do
actions change beliefs? Obviously, proponents of
Affirmative Action would argue that equality must ‘look like
equality’ before it becomes a widely held value/belief.
Those opposing Affirmative Action (and not patently racist) would
surely assert that legislation prohibiting discrimination has
secured, and will continue to assure, that seen as the enlightened
society of the present; discriminatory practices will fade to
extinction as a matter of natural course without the need for
coerced integration and/or legislated equal opportunity.
Perhaps the paradox that plagues Affirmative Action lies in the notion that any two
otherwise equal candidates can claim they are the more qualified candidate with residual
racial stereotypes as a factor still in play...
The white candidate benefits from the legacy of
countless patriarchal white leaders, managers, etc
who have gone before him. He steps into a work/social
environment already conditioned to perceive him as
one of authority; this will make it easier for him to
succeed all across a diverse society.
The minority candidate enhances qualifications by
functioning as an icon of success and a catalyst for
positive change. She is an individual who carries the
burden of expectations and the charge of initializing a
blueprint for equality by which all will benefit.
She might have a problem
The minority candidate enhances qualifications by functioning as an icon of success and a catalyst for positive change