Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Myths and Facts About Affirmative Action, Deconstructed

Recently, race-baiting, irrational co-workers and the Affirmative Action Office at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) condemned a janitor for reading a history book during his break about the KKK. This book, mind you, was nothing promoting the Klan in any fashion, but simply a book about one struggle against the Klan. Yet, African American employees and their kindred knee-jerkists at the AAO found the very subject of the book, regardless of content, and the very act of innocently reading the book (despite the fact that keeping aware of the unsavory aspects of American history is often encouraged by supporters of events like Black History Month), to be an incident of racial harassment. This insanity was compounded by the fact that this janitor was never given the benefit of the doubt (they even ignored his attempts to explain what the book was really about), and assumed guilty without any sort of fair hearing and in complete disregard of his own civil rights.

Now anyone familiar with the activities of affirmative action advocates and the Orwellian left-wing indoctrination techniques common today in higher education will hardly be surprised - outraged, for sure - but not shocked. The Big Brother of the diversity movement has become increasingly totalitarian and outright fascist in its desire to control and punish Caucasians for being white, and to expand power over individual thought and opinion.

What sort of justification do these bigot-nazis give for their behavior and strong-arm tactics? Take a look, for instance, at this wretched document on the website of the AAO of IUPUI, entitled The Myths and Facts about Affirmative Action, to gain some insight in their irrational thinking.

For example, they claim:

MYTH: Affirmative action is reverse discrimination, it gives preferential treatment to people of color and women.

FACT: Racism is power plus discrimination.

Using the "to be" verb does not make it so. Racism is defined as "a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others." Discrimination, or more specifically racial discrimination, is the practice of applying that attitude by the use of power via policy and/or oppression. Racism is the attitude that, with power, can lead to discrimination. But the attitude can exist regardless of discriminating behavior or application of power.

The parameters of discrimination based on race are distinguished by the power dynamics. Reverse racism is not, therefore a reality if people of color are not in positions of power and perpetrating the discrimination. An Urban Institute study shows that less that 100 of 3000 cases could be considered reverse discrimination. Less that six of those cases were deemed by the court to be substantiated.

The last two sentences here completely annihilate the assertion made in the sentences preceding them. Regardless of how accurate or up-to-date the findings of this vaguely referred to study may or may not be - showing that "reverse racism" is not as prevalent as "forward racism" (for lack of a better term) is in no way equivalent to showing that it does not exist at all. The implication that "people of color are not in positions of power" is of course a bogus point, as there are people of color (to use their phrase) in power over others not of the same ethnicity as themselves, even whites. And, the study only seems to address non-institutionalized, direct discrimination, rather than affirmative action as institutionalized discrimination. So, the AAO is using a study that already assumes that affirmative action is not reverse discrimination to prove that there is no reverse discrimination. Convenient.

Affirmative action has been mislabeled "preferential treatment" for certain members of society. ... Affirmative action is an attempt to facilitate a more level playing field.

The level playing field metaphor is an old chestnut amongst affirmative action advocates - but the problem here is that it is just that - metaphor. These people's conceptions of what constitutes a level playing field can only be described as nothing but "preferential treatment" for certain groups. It is not enough to provide equal opportunity, in their eyes, which is all a level playing field really is. Affirmative action supporters wish to rearrange the rules of the game played on the field so that one team is favored, and to do so in a manner in which individual talent, training and hard work are disregarded in favor of team preference and membership. A "level playing field" would not assume all players must play at the same level - only that the rules do not favor one team or another. They don't want a level playing field - they merely want to switch which team is favored.

Affirmative action recognizes the interconnectedness of race, class, gender. Many of the symbolic gates are beyond reach due to economic disparity which in turn is one of the effects of racism. We cannot divorce these interconnected issues from one another.

But one must, if one is truly to be equal and fair. The fact of the matter is that economic disparity is not solely caused by racial discrimination, past or present, and affirmative action only assigns group blame and preferential treatment on this one potential cause out of many for poverty. In such a systematically racist approach, all people of one race are given extra credit for their ethnic or gender status, regardless of whether or not they are of a low income. And, people of another race are assigned blame, and are punished for their status, regardless of whether or not they had any hand personally in ever engaging in any sort of racial discrimination, and, even worse, regardless of their own economic status. Poor whites - who may or may not be in that boat for racial reasons - are not given the special consideration rich blacks are. If economic disparity is truly unfair, it should only be judged on the level of the individual. Assumptions cannot be made as to who benefits and who does not based on race.

How do you divorce all these issues from one another? By treating people as individuals rather than as members of groups. Asserting connectedness based on race only furthers a racist, or group-membership, mentality.

In the UC system, race and ethnicity are not solely considered for admissions.

For the past decade, thanks to a change in California law, race and ethnicity are not considered at all for admissions - although the quota mentality is still prevalent amongst UC administrators who look for back-door alterations in the admissions process in order to achieve ethnic quota goals - using now alternative, "holistic" (i.e., bullshit) criteria to put academic success and individual achievement on the back-burner in favor of squishy "background characteristics."

Other criteria such as socio-economic level, state residency, special abilities, disabilities, familial ties and athletic ability are used in determining admissions. These supplemental criteria benefit everyone, not only people of color.

Such criteria hardly benefits everyone - but of course, equating every group with every individual is the bigotted, racist failing of most supporters of affirmative action. These criteria benefit those who fall into all those specific categories. Just because they're not race-based does not mean they benefit everyone - they merely benefit a few from all ethnic groups. That's a very big difference. They're confusing subsets for the whole.

MYTH: I have a friend/brother/sister/____(fill in the blank) who was qualified for the job/college but didn't get it because the position went to a person of color or a woman.

FACT: Many of us have heard this statement or made it ourselves. It's a logical error to apply what happens to a few individuals to the entire society.

Of course, statements such as these are made to highlight the effects of societal policies upon real-world individuals - to reveal the injustice faced by real people as a result of what the entire society does.

Oddly, though, the AAO does not apply this same logical standard that they present to their own justifications for affirmative action programs. It would be a logical error, by their own claim, to assign the blame for discrimination, when it does occur, to the entire society - in other words, it is illogical to create policies that assign blame to everyone rather than anyone who directly discriminates.

When it comes right down to it, affirmative action supporters cannot see the individual, and have no regard for a person's rights - they are as racist as the Klan, seeing people only as segments of a "group," where all groups members are to be accountable for the actions of the others, and oppressed accordingly.

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