There are many reasons why “Affirmative Action” is a bad idea.
In the first place, it encourages racism1. AA involves the government / schools / employers actively and aggressively judging people, and rewarding or punishing people, based on the color of their skin. Their “race”. This leads to two responses: The possibly petty and childish one is “If they can do it, so can I.” But the hard, cold, rational one is “any time I see a ‘minority’ in a position where AA might have aided them in getting that position, I must wonder whether they got the position because they deserved it, or because of the color of their skin.”
Is this fair to the ones who actually earned their positions? No. But neither is AA fair to those who lost out to a less qualified “minority”. And, fair or not, it is the rational response to those policies.
Secondly, it creates a sense of dependency, and inferiority, among its “beneficiaries”. Let’s say you are a black male whose tests scores, grades, and activities are good enough to get you into NC State, or maybe even UNC. You could go to those schools, and compete with your classmates on a fairly equal level. Which means you can go there, and take real classes, and have an education that qualifies you to get a real job when you graduate, on your own merits. However, you’re black. So Brown and Princeton also accepted you, and offered you scholarships so that it would be possible for you to go there. So you decide to go to Princeton.
There’s only one problem: you didn’t get in there because you earned it, because you were qualified to go there, you got in there because you were black. So now you’re at Princeton, and most of your classmates are brighter, and better students, than you. You take a Math class, or a Biology class, or a Chemistry class, and you’re in the bottom 10%. Which is to say “you don’t pass the class.” Not because you’re an idiot, but because you went to the wrong school. Because you only got in because you were black, but the professor isn’t, and can’t, giving you bonuses for the color of your skin.
So you switch majors. You take African Studies, and Sociology, and English, and other classes where the grading is entirely subjective. Because those professors can, and for the most part will, judge you based on the color of your skin, and give you the passing grades you couldn’t earn on your own.
What do you think that does to somebody? Remember, he’s not stupid. How many lies is he going to have to tell himself to justify his decisions? And what’s he going to do when he graduates? He didn’t get a worthwhile education, he got an “Affirmative Action” “education”. How’s he going to get a real job once he graduates? Other than from an AA employer? And how much is that AA employer going to trust him?
Congratulations, you’ve just created a screwed up person with a screwed up life. Which brings us to this article by Dinesh D’Souza: Michelle Obama’s Inferiority Complex
Consider the case of Michelle Obama. She was raised in a two-parent, middle-class family. She applied to one of America’s top universities, Princeton, and was admitted. Of this experience, Michelle says on the stump, “All my life I have confronted people who had a certain expectation of me. Every step of the way, there has been people telling me what I couldn’t do. When I applied to Princeton, they said: you can’t go there, your test scores aren’t high enough.”
Which is all very moving, except that her test scores weren’t high enough. Michelle Obama is part of the affirmative action generation of above-average but far-from-stellar performers who were granted preferential admission to America’s most elite institutions.
Michelle notes that she graduated with honors in her major. Again, the problem is that her undergraduate thesis is on the web. You might expect that she wrote about Shakespeare’s sonnets or the political evolution of W.E.B. Du Bois. Well, no. Essentially Michelle Obama wrote about the problems of being a black woman at an Ivy League university.
Here is a typical passage: “By actually working with the Black lower class or within their communities as a result of their ideologies, a separationist may better understand the desparation of their situation and feel more hopeless about a resolution as opposed to an integrationist who is ignorant to their plight.”
Alas, the grammar is all wrong here. More than once, the tenses are garbled. People are ignorant “of” the plight of the lower class, not ignorant “to” their plight. And “desparation” should be spelled “desperation.” To wreak so much havoc on the English language in one sentence, without conveying anything of substance, is perhaps deserving of a prize. Is this what her professors were thinking when they granted her honors? Whatever the Obamorons say, let’s remember that that these are not mere typos; they reflect an estranged relationship to the English language. Moreover they appear not in an off-the-cuff transcript but in a thesis that is supposed to reflect the culmination of one’s college career.
I am willing to believe that Barak Obama is not a flaming left-wing nutcase. Unfortunately, I not willing to believe the same of his wife. She got caught in the Affirmative Action trap, and the one thing she’s just not willing to believe is that it’s her own damn fault. It’s racist America’s fault.
And, after all, she is right. It is the fault of the racists who thought up, pushed, and still support that racist montrosity called Affirmative Action.
1For the purpose of this blog, racism is defined as “judging people based on the color of their skin / their ethnic background / etc.” rather than on the basis of their individual merits. I realize that “public intellectual” racists have attempted to re-define the term to some sort of BS about power, etc. But that is just BS. When your definition of “racism” boils down to “all whites are racist” or “only whites can be racist” or “people of color can’t be racist” then 1: You are a racist. 2: You are a liar. 3: You are an idiot if you think anyone else is dumb enough to buy your song and dance.