Affirmative action rears its ugly head once again as the usually intellectually rigorous London Economist magazine publishes an article (link below) making an argument on the deleterious effects of affirmative action policies for beneficiaries, institutions and societies in general.
The main problem with the article is that it sees people of color (or ethnic minorities) as both the “weak classes” and the beneficiaries of these policies. The article writer fails to understand that a good number of people belonging to the so called “majority” or “white” as the article calls them, are also tremendously disadvantaged and cyclically in poverty by region and sometimes by religious group or region of the country (Catholics compared to Episcopalians and people from the Appalachia region compared to New Yorkers).
The overwhelming majority of people in America are so called “White.” Poverty is not simply a skin color problem. Affirmative action is not perfect and plenty of examples can be found of cases in which it is abused or inappropriately taken advantage of. This does not mean that there’s no need to address historical differences between groups that have experienced circumstances which precluded their development in the educational and business fields, for example.
When society invests in the children of the poor to ensure that future generations can continue to prosper and contribute to society in greater ways we all benefit.
When specific groups have been locked out for so long that lack of education, sophistication or opportunity defines their relationship to society, then society has a responsibility to address that condition. Whether we see that “responsibility” as a moral or as a self interested proposition, does not really matter. The fact is that when societies invest in their citizens they benefit all of society and improve their lot vis a vis other societies who experience the drag and social dislocation caused by an underclass. The following article in the Economist fails to understand this simple logic. Read it and tell us what you think?
“ABOVE the entrance to America’s Supreme Court four words are carved: “Equal justice under law”. The court is pondering whether affirmative action breaks that promise. The justices recently accepted a case concerning a vote in Michigan that banned it, and will …”