Who Are You Trying to Help?

January 14, 2010
Acceptance. It’s what everybody wants; acceptance into a social group, into a work group, and in to college. Minorities of a different color, race and gender in history were not accepted, but why? Everybody should be accepted. “Affirmative action is a policy or a program that seeks to redress past discrimination through active measures to ensure equal opportunity, as in education and employment “. The government set into action policies called affirmative action in the intention of helping these minorities. Affirmative action gives extra privileges to those of a different color, race or gender.
However, this policy has not helped those minorities or different racial and ethnic backgrounds it intended to serve. Minorities in very low-income areas are not gaining the acceptance affirmative action sought to ensure. Affirmative action is ineffective because it is not benefiting the minorities they planned to help.

Minorities in the U.S. need our help. Minorities that are in low-income areas are not granted financial aid and admission to schools. Minorities that are in high-income areas or have a decent amount of money provides families the ability to send their child to a decent school. It is proven that “preferences primarily benefit minority applicants in middle- and upper- class” (Sacks). Minorities in low-income areas are not even receiving enough supplies for the children in their schools, “A history teacher at the Martin Luther King School has 110 students in four classes but only 26 books”(Kozol). Meanwhile minorities attending decent schools are being equipped with the necessary teaching materials, which means the intended targets of affirmative action are not receiving the aid. If affirmative action is going to help minorities, it should help the ones in need.

Affirmative action will not solve or eliminate racism. It’s really hard to change the views of a person. Martin Luther Kings gives the idea of a colorblind society, a society “showing or characterized by freedom from racial bias” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/colorblind). When the government made affirmative action polices they were sorting minorities into groups of race, therefore judging them by their color. Seem hypocritical, doesn’t it?

What is affirmative action supposed to do for the minorities? Yes, it is to give minorities equal opportunities, but what about minority self esteem? Look at it this way. Lets say you’re in a limbo competition, whoever gets in line first receives $10 and it decreases $1 as you go down the line. Because they are disadvantaged, tall people are placed at the front of the line. How does the tall person in the front feel? How about the person in the back who might have practiced? In the big picture affirmative action makes the minorities and the majorities feel judged based on their appearance and put in an order because of their race not potential. This is precisely what affirmative action was to eliminate.

Proponents of affirmative action believe that affirmative action makes campu’ ses more diverse, and, as a result, culturally informed. However, as David Sacks explains, “but if ‘diversity’ were really the goal, then preferences would be given on the basis of unusual characteristics, not on the basis of race.” Therefore, affirmative action, by itself, does not, necessarily, enrich the diversity of the campus. Advisors of the school feel forced to accept minorities and include them but cultural characteristics are not considered.

Is affirmative action effective in enriching the poor minorities, as is the stated purpose? Paul Pryse writes, “Our education system is a mirror image of the profit driven society that produced it, one where a wealthy minority rules over the oppressed majority.” Affirmative action is not changing this environment because only the wealthiest of minorities are benefitting because the most privileged minorities are the ones getting the affirmative action benefits because even affirmative action benefits are awarded on the basis of performance and grades, benefitting the privileged. Again, this is not the purpose of affirmative action.

Affirmative action was intended for a good cause. However, the policies are not achieving the purpose. Less fortunate minorities are not being helped through affirmative action because the support is not reaching the less fortunate minorities in most cases. Also, affirmative action is reinforcing racism by acknowledging race above ability, performance and the content of peoples’ character.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Mrs. C said...
Jan. 27, 2010 at 7:03 am
I meant to vote for this article with four stars and my computer chose one star. I tried to change it to my proper choice but was unsuccessful. Please be clear that I gave this article 4 stars.
Mrs. C said...
Jan. 27, 2010 at 6:48 am
Amie tackled a sometimes taboo subject with the insight of an adult. Affirmative action does not work and she is brave enough to say it. I give this well thought out paper four stars. Young people with a mind like this will be the ones to make it better for us all.
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