The Corner

Affirmative Action

A reader makes a fair point in response to my column:

Affirmative actions law ARE based around the idea that blacks can compete with whites – if given a chance. The laws arose not out of a concern over the genetic differences between the two races, but over the societal differences that had risen over the past 150 years.

So when you say, “Affirmative action is based upon the assumption that blacks cannot compete with whites. But if I say that blacks can’t compete with whites, I’m a racist,” you are drawing a false analogy, because your hypothetical remark is based on the idea of an innate inequality between blacks and whites, while affirmative action is based of eliminating the social inequalities between blacks and whites to allow the innate EQUALITY between the two surface.

My response: He’s right that this was the original idea behind affirmative action. And, if by affirmative action you mean advertising in black media for job openings, I’m all in favor with affirmative action. But the problem is that affirmative action no longer means that. At the University of Michigan prospective students get 20 points for being black and 1 point for writing a good essay. Affirmative action originally meant an even playing field for competition. It doesn’t any longer. Hubert Humphrey declared that if the Civil Rights Act lead to quotas he’d eat the pages it was printed on. Well, if he were alive today, he’d have to do just that.