Discrimination still exists within affirmative action


Ben Ridgeway

It goes by many names: affirmative action, reservation policy and positive discrimination. In theory, affirmative action is a good thing.

It is meant to allow minorities the same opportunities that majorities receive. I will by no means go as far as saying that positive discrimination is racist.

However, I will firmly state that it is discrimination nonetheless, and I believe any form of discrimination is unjust. I believe that an equal opportunity attitude should be adopted.

According to CNN, “in a 2009 Pew poll, the majority of Americans supported affirmative action but strongly disagreed about minority preference.”

While most African Americans (58 percent) and Hispanics (53 percent) agreed minorities should get preferential treatment, only 22 percent of whites agreed.” I am a white, American male. I would have fallen into the 78 percent who disagreed with preferential treatment of minorities simply because we are discriminating against people. I do not care if the people in question happen to be minority or majority. However, if the question would have been posed, “Do you believe that minorities should be given equal treatment?” I would most certainly answer “YES!” because no party would be subject to discrimination in that context.

This being said, minorities are discriminated against. They are not given the same opportunities as the majority. Affirmative action is just one means by which we can aspire toward equality, but is it the best way? I would argue no. 

However, I do recognize that it is currently a practical way to make up for the inequity of the past. My hope is that it will be replaceable with equally applied standards for all.

Our democratic society benefits from both minorities and majorities being provided equal access to education and job opportunities.

To facilitate equal opportunity progress, we must provide all children with prime educational instruction. Increase to funding and high quality instruction for both college prep and vocational training tracts in high school is vital to our economic and social futures.

Sadly, our current school system sets minorities up to fail by not offering the same degree of education. Some schools receive very little funding and do not have the same opportunities available to students as other schools.

Unfortunately, many politicians do not advocate for change because results will not be seen immediately, or by the next election cycle.

Another issue that needs to be addressed in our society is the discrimination of the LGBT community. Legislation in place to protect racial minorities does not extend to LGBT rights in 32 states. That means that 18 states do not have any form of protection for their LGBT citizens.  In these states an employer may not refuse to hire someone based on skin color, but they could theoretically refuse to hire individuals based upon sexual orientation or identity. This fact baffles me. The only reason that a human being should not be hired is if he or she is not qualified or is less qualified than a peer who is vying for the same position.

In short, we all must work together as a society to stop discrimination and be aware that we are all different in many ways and some people have better opportunities than others.

Discrimination still exists, and because of this we must all be willing to help one another and try to understand that even though we are different in many ways, we are all human.