Affirmative Action

When I was about nine years old (1979) some people were talking to me about my future and what I could do when I grew up. One person said “You can work for the State!” My first reaction was “Fuck the State”. They said “The State will hire you because they always need minorities.” I thought that was a funny thing to say.

“Why does the State need minorities?” I asked.

“Because there was so much racism in the past that now they have to make up for it by hiring minorities until the numbers even out.”

“But I don’t want to get hired because of the color of my skin, I want to be hired for what I can do.”

Fast forward 20-something years later working in a State office. One white guy was reported to have said about a black manager he didn’t like “She’s not here due to any skill, she’s only here because of Affirmative Action.” A comment like that stings for two reasons: the first is the obvious slam against the individual. The second is because it’s entirely possible that that manager would be working here based on merit even if no Affirmative Action programs had ever existed. The catch 22 is that since those programs have existed for quite some time, it’s rather impossible for her to prove it.

If you are an ethnic minority individual incidents of racism may hinder you from time to time but the spectre of institutionalized Affirmative Action attends you always, like a shadow. It belittles valid individual achievements because there is always the impression there that accomplishments were not altogether earned. A syndicated columnist (I believe it was Thomas Sowell) described the fact that, as a black man, when he inveighed against Affirmative Action he was told that if not for those programs he would not have made it to where he was. His answer, of course, was that he was born in 1930 and was educated (at Harvard, among other places) well before those programs ever existed.

Up until now these programs, much like fruitcake at Christmas, have been given to us whether we want them or not. What’s even worse, even if we were ideologically opposed to them, we were still supposed to say thank you. But on November 7 all that changed. A proposal was put on the ballot here in Michigan which would prohibit programs that give preferential treatment to people on the basis of race and gender in college admissions. I was finally given a chance to weigh in on this policy myself and I voted to prevent such programs in the future.

The proposal passed by a margin of 58 to 42 percent which is a good thing. In the matter of college of admissions what does the color of one’s skin or the nature of ones genitalia matter next to the result you get with a kid, a standardized test, and a #2 pencil? In fact, the argument has been made that when you boost a student’s rating based on race or gender you actually do him (yeah I said “him” dammit I’m old school) a disservice by placing him in a group that is over his head. College admissions are intended to group students according like ability and when you skew that the obvious result is that students will be placed where they may not be able to keep up. This does nothing to combat racial prejudice and it in fact reinforces it when difficulties occur due to incorrect placement.

We would argue all the nuances and unintended consequences of AA programs until you’re blue in the face from me choking you but the best reason to dismantle them is because racism is bad. If it’s bad for individuals to do it, then it’s ten times as bad for the government (or any government funded agency) to do it. Why? Because you can get away from an individual, but except in cases of violent insurrection you can’t get away from the government. In the past these sentiments may have been just empty rhetoric, but this week out ballots have been counted and the resounding message is this: race is not a value!

21 Responses to “Affirmative Action”

  1. mexi says:

    Thank you, I knew that was out there somewhere but I didn’t know where to find it.

  2. mexi says:

    Note: I have placed, in the upper right hand corner of this blog, my list of who I have uninvited to my funeral. In the event I kick the bucket somebody please take note and alert the master of ceremonies. Thanks!

  3. Nice Rack says:

    My office manager just put in her notice. The boss told me that I will be in charge of all financial aspects of the office, because I am so highly organized!

  4. mexi says:

    Sweeeeet. Hire me!

  5. mexi says:

    You guys need a mexican don’t you?

  6. Phelps says:

    Why is it that every time I go to court, whether we are the plaintiffs or the defendants, we ALWAYS get hit with teh Chewbacca defense? Every. Fucking. Time. It’s like I’m haunted by Johnny Cochran.

  7. Nice Rack says:

    We don’t need no Mexicans, this is not an affirmative action office.

  8. mexi says:

    Mexi note: I incorrectly stated that the ballot proposal was about college admissions. I should have said the proposal came about because race/gender preferences were being used as factors in college admissions. The proposal outlaws these preference in education, employment, and contracting. So it’s even better than I originally stated.

  9. Mexi is going to take a pool beat down tomorrow night. UNLV will be in town to reclaim my title

  10. Nice Rack says:

    Where are you guys going to go? I might have to come give you a beat down on the table. I see Mexi got lazy today since he had the day off.

  11. Doesn’t matter to me as long as you wear a low cut shirt and don’t bring a date rack

  12. Mexigogue says:

    The Friday spot Rack! Be there or be square!!!!

  13. Nice Rack says:

    I will try. I’m going out to dinner (on a date) and UNLV says I can’t bring a date. We are eating at 7:30, so I may be able to get out around 10:30. Take my cell phone # with you and call me around 10pm if you are still going to be up there, or if your plans change.

  14. mexi says:

    I’ve rememberized your phone number for quite some time!

  15. Nice Rack says:

    Just wanted to make sure. I went up there last night with KK and it was a weird crowd. Bitches fighting, pool tables full, I only played 2 games at around 11pm then went home. I will try to make it up there tonight. It shouldn’t be a problem, since I’m not getting freaky with my date anytime soon. No sex until I trust him to really stick around, and right now I don’t. Anyway, I will try to see you later.

  16. Phelps says:

    A date rack would be cool. Like, a big wooden rack full of dudes or chicks (your preference, dates not included) so you could just come home and go, “hmm, which one tonight?”

    Of course, if it is like your refrigerator, you would never have time to go date shopping and all the ones in the date rack would be out of date and spoiled. You would have a date rack full of condiments like the narrator’s refrigerator in the Club we can’t talk about.

  17. Nice Rack says:

    Lol, my refrigerator is actually very up to date. Nothing expired in there, so I guess my date rack would be a little bit better than yours. I definitely don’t believe in spoiled dates, unless I’m the spoiled one (I wish!).

  18. Nice Rack says:

    Ok, Mexi. I made it out Saturday night, but not until 12:30 and of course you guys were gone. I tried to get out earlier, but I fell asleep on the couch with the date after dinner. It was a good dinner at least, ribs and shrimp. I feel bad that I missed you and UNLV.

  19. Phelps says:

    You fell asleep on the couch with the date? Did you dust your boobs for prints? Did you smell his fingers?

  20. Nice Rack says:

    That is absolutely disgusting, lol. I’m sure my boobs had prints, but I did not smell his fingers.

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