There’s this nifty program called “Affirmative Action” that almost all conservatives and an unfortunate number of white liberals hate. AA ensures that minorities like African-Americans are afforded the same opportunities as white people. Now, opponents of AA like to complain that they are being victimized. They use terms like “reverse racism” or simply “racism” to explain why they didn’t get a particular job or were passed over for entry to a university. They complain, sometimes quite loudly, that it’s just not fair and we should all be judged according to our merits.
Well, that’s all good and fine but there always seems to be a distinct racial overtone to these complaints. After all, it’s easy to demand a level playing field when you start off on the 50 yard line. The point of Affirmative Action is not that black people need “help” to compete with white people, although that is often how it is portrayed (more on that in a second). The point is that the system, as a whole, throws roadblocks up to keep black people (Latinos as well but mostly blacks), from succeeding.
This is where that most taboo of topics, White Privilege, comes into play. There are two types of people that dislike AA, those who don’t understand that being white gives them an unearned advantage (while simultaneously being black bestows distinct disadvantages) and those who are quite aware that black people are treated badly and are perfectly fine with that. When these two groups complain that Affirmative Action is unfair, the first actually believes they are being discriminated against because they do not understand how much it sucks to be black in America (I used to be among this group) while the second sees the inequality AA addresses not as a problem to be solved but as an outcome to be desired. The second group tends to be the one that pretends Affirmative Action is racist because “it assumes that black people are helpless.” This is an attempt to turn the racism it seeks to overcome around in much the same way that Christians that can’t persecute homosexuals claim to be persecuted themselves. It’s deeply cynical and typical of people that prefer the status quo.
Regardless of their awareness, both groups of opponents are coming from a place of racism. At least the first group is not directly aware of it. Still, racism does play a part and a new study conducted by Asst. Professor of Sociology Frank L. Samson at the University of Miami exposes this ugly reality.
A group of white adults in California were split in two and asked to rank what they consider to be important criteria when evaluating college applications for the University of California. The first group placed a lot of weight on SAT scores and GPAs. Two areas where black people under-perform compared to whites. But when the second group was informed of the fact that the percentage of Asian American undergraduates at the university is double their percentage in the general population, suddenly, grades and test scores weren’t so important. Asian Americans tend to score higher on the SATs nationally and the stereotype of the “smart Asian” is widespread and well known.
Instead, this group that would have sworn on a stack of bibles they were all in favor of a meritocracy just a short time ago, became far more interested in intangible characteristics like “leadership:”
“Sociologists have found that whites refer to ‘qualifications’ and a meritocratic distribution of opportunities and rewards, and the purported failure of blacks to live up to this meritocratic standard, to bolster the belief that racial inequality in the United States has some legitimacy,” Samson writes in the paper. “However, the results here suggest that the importance of meritocratic criteria for whites varies depending upon certain circumstances. To wit, white Californians do not hold a principled commitment to a fixed standard of merit.”
Translation: When the playing is slanted in their favor, white people are happy to talk about fairness and equality. Everyone should have to play by the same rules and if you’re black and start off with a crippling disadvantage in a system geared towards rewarding people with the “right” color of skin? Well, that’s not their problem. On the other hand, if that playing field favors someone else? That’s no good and we need to get back to a place where white people will excel.
There will be people who will be outraged, outraged!, at the
suggestion that their opposition to Affirmative Action is based in
racism. They’re the ones being discriminated against in favor of some
lazy black person! Why should they lose out to some dumb n*gger
person that isn’t as smart or qualified or hardworking as they are? I
plan on taking it with a grain of salt and so should you. just ask
yourself just how far their concept of “fairness” actually extends. If
this study is accurate (and it certainly explains some of the loudest
objections to AA) then what the opponents of Affirmative Action think of
as “fairness” is closer to the rigged game at a cheap carnival than a
proper game of skill.