The Perils of Affirmative Action
On January 16th of this year, I picked up the Washington Post and read an article by Richard Cohen that weakly criticized the lack of ethnic diversity in President Bush's new cabinet. The article was an interesting analysis of the ethnicity of Bush's cabinet, but it is even more significant as it dealt with an issue that is becoming of greater concern in this country: affirmative action. This issue has affected me in the past. I live in Northern Virginia, which is a very race-neutral area, and last year during my college application process was the first time in my life when affirmative action affected me. The applications say the race checkbox is only being used for statistical purposes, but when somebody sees these tiny little words on such a very important document, who doesn't get a nagging feeling that their future might be determined by the color of their skin? A lot of students worry about this checkbox. At the time it seems so unfair. You've worked hard for four long years, taken the SATs twice, joined as many clubs and sports as possible, and yet that might not be enough. The issue of affirmative action is an important one, one that directly shapes our economy and our country. It influences the way people work and live, but should it? The issue of race in this country lingers while it is realistic for us as a people to get rid of it. In today's society, why should race be an issue to anyone, black or white? How can we create a country that is free from fear of the "other" race?
There has been a strong pull in the last few decades to ethnically diversify the workplace, as most companies have been and still are dominated by Caucasians. The call for diversification is a big factor in the struggle over affirmative action. Minorities see most of the jobs, and therefore most of the wealth, in the job market going to white men. These advocates fail to realize that minorities still only account for one-fifth of the population, and hiring a high percentage of minorities would be a gross overrepresentation of the population. This would therefore be a bias towards one race or ethnic group, something that advocates of affirmative action are opposed to. Not all minority races support affirmative action, either. Asians and Indians are often discriminated against as well, since most are easily capable of getting a job and getting into college. In fact, Asians might have more of a reason to fear the race checkbox, since in college admissions they are compared to other Asians instead of just other students from their high school.
Many blacks say that they do not want any help from the government in obtaining and keeping a job. Pride in a job is important to just about everybody, and it is much preferred to feel that a success in life has been earned because of qualifications and hard work. In many cases, though, minorities are not paid as well or aren't hired as often as their white colleagues, and this...