Affirmative Action: Some Inconsistencies
Either you meet a standard or you don’t meet it. How much your parents have donated or how dark your skin is should not impact your chances at qualification. It is called merit.
Lack of physical representation does not cause bigotry toward a people. How history and media portray those people does, regardless of how well represented they are. Thus, peppering a school with minorities does not solve systemic bigotry. A just media representation and early and accurate education will. A good historical example might be Germany and its Jewish population during World War II. There was no shortage of empowered, well-represented Jewish people in Europe. But what ultimately mattered was not the reality of Jewish Europe but how Germany’s politicians and leaders portrayed Jews in the media and history.
Institutions, professions, and places do not have to represent a nation’s racial proportions. People are not computers and do not distribute themselves evenly. Indeed, coaxing human beings into certain offices to better ‘represent’ a minority is as vain as it is misguided. There will always be personal preferences which will affect people and their self-determination.
Further, there are more than just racial minorities. There are religious minorities and sexual minorities. If we are to take minority identity so seriously then why are Jews and gays not given priority over gentiles and heterosexuals in the underrepresented workplace or university? What about disabled people? What about transgendered people? What about little people?
And again, how is a white boy from a working-poor neighborhood less worthy of aid by virtue of his skin color than a black boy from an upper-middle class area? Isn’t the lack of education equality in America more a class issue than a racial one?
Affirmative Action has solved nothing. It has not improved the racial atmosphere of the United States but actually, I would wager, has worsened it. It has not ended racism. It has not ended any other form of bigotry. It has only given people another reason to stereotype minorities. True commitment to ending bigotry is a commitment to critical thought, its instruction, and educating ourselves and our children in a way that allows us to see past historical interpretations and media representation of a people. This is, unfortunately, more difficult then just setting a quota and calling it a day.